TV and Movies

Jen Shah, Chrisleys, Josh Duggar

For some reality stars, things really got real when they found themselves in legal trouble.

From “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Jen Shah’s involvement in a telemarketing scheme, to “Jersey Shore” Mike Sorrentino’s tax evasion charges, TV personalities have gone from TV screens to behind bars.

Here’s a list of reality stars who have been sentenced to prison and the crimes they were convicted for, starting with Shah, who began serving her sentence Friday.

Jen Shah of ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’

On Jan. 6, Shah, one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” on Bravo, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing.

Jen Shah from Season 3 of 'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Judge Sidney H. Stein ruled the Bravo celebrity would spend 78 months behind bars, despite prosecutors’ suggested sentence of 120 months, for fraud conspiracy after she admitted to participating in a nationwide telemarketing scheme. That’s in addition to five years of supervision after her release. Shah also agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and to pay $9.5 million in restitution as part of her plea agreement.

Her arrest was partially captured by Bravo’s cameras.

Jen Shah sentencing: ‘Real Housewives’ star gets 6.5 years in prison for telemarketing scheme

‘Chrisley Knows Best’ stars Todd and Julie Chrisley

Disgraced reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were convicted in a federal tax evasion case and this week began serving their 12- and seven-year sentences, respectively. On Jan. 17, Julie Chrisley reported to the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, while Todd Chrisley reported to the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola.

Todd and Julie Chrisley at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on April 2, 2017.

According to a story in the Pensacola News-Journal, part of the a USA TODAY Network , the Pensacola prison in which Todd Chrisley is serving time, was noted by Forbes as the second cushiest prison in the U.S.

The Chrisleys shot to fame thanks to their hit docuseries on USA Network, which followed the family around and their lavish lifestyle in Atlanta and Nashville. “Chrisley Knows Best” inspired the spinoff “Growing Up Chrisley” and the aftershow “According to Chrisley.” The couple billed themselves as millionaire real estate tycoons.

The Chrisleys: Todd Chrisley sentenced to 12 years in prison, wife Julie gets 7 for bank fraud, tax evasion

Chef and TV personality Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart, domestic goddess, celebrity chef and friend to Snoop Dogg, spent five months in minimum-security at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia in 2004 and was released in March 2005.

Martha Stewart attends the Hudson River Park Friends 2022 Gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on October 13, 2022 in New York City.

Stewart was accused of insider trading after she sold shares of ImClone Systems stock a day before the stock plummeted. She was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction and two counts of lying to federal investigators.

While in prison, the Food Network star, cookbook author and frequent guest on morning talk shows made headlines for crafting a Nativity set and taking pottery classes.

Joe and Teresa Giudice of ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’

Teresa Giudice, star of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” and her then-husband Joe Giudice, fellow RHONJ star, were sentenced to conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges.

'RHONJ' couple Teresa and Joe Guidice will take turns serving time while the other tends to their children.

In 2014, Teresa Giudice started her prison sentence for fraud and was released in December 2015. She served for 11 months; her original sentence was 15 months.

In 2016, Joe Giudice started his 41-month prison sentence before being deported to Italy.

The couple divorced in 2020, and Teresa Giudice, who has since appeared on a “Real Housewives” spinoff (“The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip”), “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Dancing With the Stars,” remarried in 2022.

Abby Lee Miller of ‘Dance Moms’

For eight seasons, Lifetime viewers watched dance coach Abby Lee Miller in the hit series “Dance Moms.” The founder of the Abby Lee Dance Company spent eight months in prison after she pleaded guilty to felony bankruptcy fraud.

Abby Lee Miller at Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards on March 12, 2016 in Inglewood, California.

Miller pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh in 2016 to charges of bankruptcy fraud and bringing $120,000 worth of Australian currency into the country without reporting it.

In 2017, Miller was sentenced to serve one year and one day. She served time at Victorville Federal Correctional Institution in California and was transferred to a halfway house in Long Beach, California. She was released after 10 months of incarceration in May 2018, a month after she was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma cancer.

Miller’s show inspired three spinoffs, including “Dance Moms: Miami.” In 2020, plans to air a show on Lifetime, “Abby’s Virtual Dance Off,” was nixed amid racism accusations.

News reports say the reality TV personality has listed her Davenport home for sale.

Richard Hatch of ‘Survivor’

Richard Hatch made television history in 2000 by winning the first season of “Survivor.” On the long-running CBS reality competition series, Hatch made headlines for coming out on the show, appearing naked in several episodes and being crowned the first-ever Survivor.

Reality TV star Richard Hatch, center, departs federal court in Providence, R.I., Monday, Jan. 10, 2011.

The reality TV star would later appear on other “Survivor” seasons and competition series like “Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Biggest Loser.”

In 2006, Hatch was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for evading taxes on his reality TV earnings. A judge ordered Hatch back to jail in 2011 after he failed to re-file and pay his original tax bill from the “Survivor” win. In 2011, Hatch was ordered back to jail after he failed to amend his 2000 and 2001 tax returns. He spent nine months in jail and was freed in December 2011.

Josh Duggar of ’19 Kids and Counting’

Josh Duggar rose to fame in TLC’s hit show “19 Kids and Counting.” In May, the eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar was sentenced to 12 years in prison for downloading and possessing child pornography.

A father of seven himself, Josh Duggar was found guilty in December 2021. Federal authorities said they began investigating the reality TV star after a Little Rock, Arkansas, police detective found child porn files were being shared by a computer traced to Duggar. A federal agent testified that images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 on to a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.

This undated photo provided by Washington County (Ark), Detention Center shows Josh Duggar.

“19 Kids and Counting” chronicled the lives of the Duggars. The series was canceled in 2015 following revelations that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a young teen. At that time, he admitted to a porn addiction and cheating on his wife, and apologized.

The series inspired a TLC spinoff, “Counting On,” from the perspective of Josh Duggar’s sisters and their young families, but that show was canceled in June 2021 following Josh Duggar’s arrest.

Jerry Harris of ‘Cheer’

In 2020, Jerry Harris gained fame for the Netflix docuseries “Cheer.” That same year, the competitive cheerleading coach was featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and attended Vanity Fair’s Oscar party.

"Cheer" star Jerry Harris' popularity with viewers following the debut of the Netflix series scored the cheerleader an invite to Vanity Fair's Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020 in Beverly Hills.

In September 2020, authorities charged Harris with producing child pornography. Federal court records show Harris admitted he solicited and received explicit messages on Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 individuals he knew were minors; had sex with a 15-year-old boy at a cheerleading competition in 2019; and paid a 17-year-old money in exchange for nude photos.

Season two of the hit Netflix show addressed Harris’ downfall.

Harris pleaded guilty in February 2022. In July 2022, Harris was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for soliciting sex from minors and pressuring young boys to send him nude photos and videos.

Downfall documented. How Season 2 of ‘Cheer’ addressed child pornography charges against star Jerry Harris

From Netflix to prison. ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for sex crimes

Mike Sorrentino of ‘Jersey Shore’


Those who watched MTV’s “Jersey Shore” from 2009 to 2012 are familiar with the “GTL” acronym made famous by Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino: Gym. Tan. Laundry.

When Sorrentino was released from Federal Correction Institute Otisville in New York, the reality star mentioned GTL once again. On a “Jersey Shore” reality show.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, leaving the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse in Newark, N.J. on Jan. 19, 2018, will have more time before he starts his prison sentence for tax fraud.

In 2014, Sorrentino was charged with tax evasion for failing to report almost $9 million in income. The reality star pleaded guilty in 2018 and began his sentence in January 2019. He served eight months, and his release was filmed for the “Jersey Shore” reality TV reunion show, “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.”

In a 2019 story by the Asbury Park Press, part of the a USA TODAY Network Sorrentino said in a statement: “We are elated to finally close this chapter of our life. Thank you to our family, friends and fans for the continuous love and support during this time, it brought us so much peace and comfort. We look forward to continuing our life as husband and wife and working on baby situations! We truly believe that the comeback is ALWAYS greater than the setback and we can’t wait to show the world ours.”

Reunited, and it feels so good. Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino exits prison, heads to Jersey Shore on tear-filled episode

Life after prison? For Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, it was Denino’s Pizza and Laurens

Contributing: Chris Jordan, Asbury Park Press; Christopher Cann, Tallahassee Democrat; Amy Haneline, Maria Puente, Elise Brisco, Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tricia L. Nadolny, USA TODAY

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