12 Forgotten Reality TV Stars: Where Are They Now?

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Landing a spot on a reality show has led to fame and fortune for more than a few lucky folks, but that can’t be said of everyone who put themselves out there on-screen for everyone to see. And if you thought that appearing on more than one show – maybe three, four, or even five – might increase your chances, try telling that to the former almost-celebrities on this list. For better or worse, it’s not only the meek or unremarkable reality stars that have faded away, some of the most wild, crazy, trouble-making reality stars shone bright and then apparently supernova’d themselves right out of the public eye. Here are 12 forgotten reality stars and where they are now.

12. Justin Guarini

Appeared on: American Idol

When American Idol hit television screens, it was an immediate hit and looked to make the performers on the show instant stars. First place winner Kelly Clarkson has gone on to an enduring career releasing multiple albums and staying just as beloved in the public eye. Runner-up Justin Guarini may have lost the big competition, but he still managed to win the hearts of audiences everywhere, which is why he went on to star alongside Kelly in the not-so-popular movie From Justin to Kelly. But his initial disappointments continued when he struggled to keep his career afloat in the following years. Stepping onto the Broadway stage, he’s appeared in productions of American Idiot (the Green Day album based musical), Romeo and Juliet starring Orlando Bloom, and mostly recently a stint in Wicked. He’s also made bit appearances in television shows and movies, but in 2013 a blog post written by Justin claimed that there were times when he had skipped meals in order to make sure his wife and children were fed. He later said that the post had been misunderstood and he and his family were in fact doing fine. Let’s hope that’s true.

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11. Clay Aiken

Appeared on: American Idol

Clay Aiken was another American Idol contestant who didn’t quite nab first place, but still made his mark when he was runner-up to winner Ruben Studdard. Clay released his first album “Measure of a Man” and it hit #1 in 2003. He followed it up with a super successful Christmas album and a memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing Music in Your Life. From there, he hit Broadway to appear in Spamalot and at this time also took full charge of his personal life, revealing that he was gay as well as welcoming a baby into his life. Things started to get rocky professionally for Clay, but he kept in the public eye by appearing on Celebrity Apprentice where he again was the final runner-up. What was next for Aiken? More music? More reality television appearances? More Broadway musicals? Nope! Clay was ready for politics next and ran for a Congressional seat as a Democrat in North Carolina. Not spoiling his runner-up streak, he lost the race, but ended up signing a deal with Esquire Network to create a documentary series out of the footage that was taken during his run for office. He may not be as visible these days outside of his home state, but you never know what Clay will get up to next.

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10. Adrianne Curry

Appeared on: America’s Next Top Model, The Surreal Life, My Fair Brady

Adrianne Curry first stepped onto the scene when she strutted down the catwalk on America’s Next Top Model. But that was only the start of things for Adrianne who went on to appear in a season of the super whacky The Surreal Life. It was there that she met future husband (now ex-husband) Christopher Knight, most famous for starring as Peter Brady on the 70’s Brady Bunch. The pair fell in love on-screen and went on to star in their own show together, My Fair Brady, which featured their budding relationship and eventual engagement. The two were married, but things weren’t always happy and they ended up divorcing, this time not on-screen. Adrianne moved on to being a panelist on PlayStation Network’s The Tester, but that’s been the extant of her reality based appearances in recent years.

Photo by REX/Rob Latour

9. Heidi Montag

Appeared on: Laguna Beach, The Hills, Celebrity Big Brother, Marriage Boot Camp, Celebrity Wife Swap

Heidi Montag may be known now more for her (overly?) ambitious adventures in plastic surgery but she first made her mark on Hollywood with her many appearances in almost as many reality shows as surgeries. She first appeared in season two of Laguna Beach as Lauren Conrad’s bestie. Then, along with her partner-in-crime Spencer Pratt, she appeared on The Hills, Celebrity Big Brother, Marriage Boot Camp, and Celebrity Wife Swap. If there was a show looking for a reality show pair, you can bet that Heidi and Spencer would be throwing their names into the hat. Perhaps because of that fact, the public soon got tired of ‘Speidi’ and the pair drifted off into the land of mostly forgotten former reality stars.

Photo by Picture Perfect/REX Shutterstock

8. Spencer Pratt

Appeared on: The Princes of Malibu, The Hills, Celebrity Big Brother, Marriage Boot Camp, Celebrity Wife Swap

Speaking of ‘Speidi,’ Heidi’s other half was just as willing to step on-screen for any show willing to have him. The list includes The Princes of Malibu with Brody and Brandon Jenner, The Hills, Celebrity Big Brother, Marriage Boot Camp, and Celebrity Wife Swap. After their reality show spree, Spencer fell on hard times that ranged from a fake divorce from Heidi with the intent to stir up interest in the pair and a not-so-fake arrest in Costa Rica where he was jailed for attempting to board a plane with hunting weapons in his possession. The latest reports claim that Spencer and Heidi are completely broke after blowing their $10 million fortune and are living in Pratt’s parents’ basement.

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7. Brigitte Nielsen

Appeared on: The Surreal Life, Strange Love, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

Brigitte made her mark in the reality show world when she hooked up with Flavor Flav in a relationship that was as mis-matched and weird as can be imagined. The two met when they both appeared on The Surreal Life, which spawned their own show, Strange Love. Strange, indeed! Love? Maybe not so much as they split as soon as the show ended and both went back to their long-time significant others who had been conveniently ditched during filming. Brigitte has struggled before and after her reality show appearances with alcohol abuse, which led her to appearance on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. In spite of her continuing issues and despite the fact that Brigitte may not have been seen by North American audiences lately, she’s still active in the reality show scene, now in Europe where she landed her own talk show called Gitte Talks, which can be seen in Denmark.

Photo by Willi Schneider/REX Shutterstock

6. Flavor Flav

Appeared on: The Flavor of Love, The Surreal Life, Strange Love, Couple’s Therapy, Celebrity Wife Swap

Flavor Flav not only appeared on The Surreal Life and Strange Love with Brigitte Neilsen, he has also appeared on Couple’s Therapy and Celebrity Wife Swap with his other lady love, long-time on-and-off-again partner and mother of his kids Liz Trujillo. When he wasn’t with Brigitte or Liz, Flavor Flav could be seen on The Flavor of Love, which featured a group of women all vying for Flav’s attention.

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5. Tiffany “New York” Pollard

Appeared on: The Flavor of Love, I Love New York, New York Goes To Work, Botched

One of the ladies who undeniably caught Flavor Flav’s attention on The Flavor of Love was the infamous Tiffany “New York” Pollard. Although she didn’t end up capturing Flav’s eternal love and devotion, she did end up scoring her own reality shows, I Love New York and New York Goes To Work. Neither were smash hits, but that didn’t stop Tiffany “New York” Pollard from continuing her reality show stints and she showed the world her bare breasts when she appeared on the plastic-surgery-fails fiasco Botched.

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4. Kate Gosselin

Appeared on: Jon & Kate Plus 8, Kate Plus 8, Celebrity Apprentice

Kate Gosselin became famous when she also became the mother to sextuplets in addition to the twins she already had. Along with her husband at the time, Jon Gosselin, their dynamic family scored themselves their very own reality show when the world wanted a glimpse into the lives of Jon & Kate Plus 8. The show fell apart when Kate and Jon’s marriage fell apart and the pair was divorced shortly before the show was cancelled. Kate moved on to an appearance on Celebrity Apprentice before attempting her own reality show minus her ex-husband. The last the world heard from Kate Gosselin was her responding to the recent comparisons between her iconic haircut and the ‘do that Justin Bieber was sporting at the recent VMA’s. Talk about twinsies!

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3. Jon Gosselin

Appeared on: Jon & Kate Plus 8

While Kate Gosselin is still attempting to keep her reality show career alive and thriving, her ex Jon Gosselin decided to move on to other avenues. After his divorce from Kate, he was quickly seen around town hanging out with any and every lady who would pay attention to him, before moving on to a new career as a restaurant server and in March of 2015 could be spotted making an appearance as a DJ in a New Jersey bowling alley.

Photo by Erik Pendzich/Rex

2. Richard Hatch

Appeared on: Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars

Richard Hatch was one of the original reality stars when he appeared on Survivor and famously – or infamously – spent much of his time on the island buck-arse-nude. He may have won the competition, but it wasn’t smooth sailing for Hatch. After winning the show’s million dollar grand prize, he was convicted of tax evasion in 2006 and ended up serving 51 months in federal prison. Yowza! And if that wasn’t bad enough, he ended up back in jail for nine months in 2011 for a parole violation after his initial release. Hatch also appeared on the All Stars version of Survivor which threw up a whole slew of new rumors and controversy when it was revealed that host Jeff Probst had made a mistake when he had deemed Richard the loser which meant that Hatch left the show before he should have. But that wasn’t the only scandal. There were also rumors that Richard had smuggled matches into the competition by hiding a canister in his bum. Ew! Ew! Ew! Richard Hatch has attempted to come back to the Survivor world in recent years, being a possible contestant on both Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians (as a villain) and Survivor: Redemption Island, but both attempts were thwarted by his legal troubles.

Photo by BDG / Rex Features

1. Brody Jenner

Appeared on: The Princes of Malibu, The Hills, Bromance, Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Nowadays, Brody Jenner may not be making as many headlines as his half-sisters and step-sisters (considering that they’re Kylie and Kendall Jenner and Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian, it would be hard to imagine any sibling being able to top the ladies), but back when Kylie and Kendall were still teeny tiny Jenners, their big brother was the one in the spotlight. Starring in his own reality show, The Princes of Malibu, along with his brother Brandon Jenner and fellow reality show alum Spencer Pratt, Brody then tackled a slew of appearances. He was a key part of The Hills cast with his romances being an integral part of the show before moving onto Bromance, which followed his best-friend break-up with Spencer Pratt. Brody was then seen on his family’s foray into the biz when he was seen on the eighth season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But after that and a few high-profile relationships (like his hook-up with Avril Lavigne) Brody has stepped out the spotlight while his younger sisters take top spot.

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Desiree O