Ah, reality TV. Whether you’re an avid viewer or someone that steers clear of them altogether, it is hard to avoid them in this day and age as the stars are now reaching Hollywood fame. With shows such as ‘The Osbournes’ that brought us unorganized chaos, ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ that gives us our regular dose of drama, and ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ that over the years gave us plenty of comical moments to remember. Even though it may not appear so, there is a specific skill that goes into making these programs as remaining entertaining long enough to make a whole episode worth of content is a lot harder than you may think.
There have been plenty of attempted and failed shots at reality shows over the years as people realize they just aren’t as entertaining as they once thought. However, one show that has come along in recent years and managed to win us all over continually is ‘Chrisley Knows Best’. The show is your typical family reality show that follows your untypical American family.
The family in question, the Chrisleys, is made up of Todd and his wife Julie, their children and children Todd has from a previous marriage. While they sound ordinary from the outside, the shenanigans that this family gets up to leaves most viewers feeling lucky they have the parents they do!
The man behind the show is the father of the family, Todd Chrisley. He has been able to create plenty of mind-boggling moments over the years with his unique style of parenting, but also became a household name for a much different reason. Two words: Kyle Chrisley. There has been plenty of animosity between the pair over the years, and it looks as though this may be set to continue well into the future. But just how was Todd able to get to reality TV status in the first place? He is known for flaunting his money, but where did it come from? And how close is this star really from pushing his family too far?
Todd Chrisley shot to national fame when his show ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ was picked up a few years ago. The reality star was not only able to show America what life is like for the other half but also brought some incredible entertainment value to our screens. However, there isn’t always sunshine and rainbows in this household as the arguments have gone public, the accusations have got worse, the fallouts have intensified, and the family secrets all begin to unfold…
Landing a show
For years Todd had always dreamed of being on the television so was ecstatic when his idea for a show was picked up by USA Network in 2014. The series was titled ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ and follows the lives of Todd and his family. The cast includes all of Todd’s children, as well as his mother, Faye, and Todd’s grandchildren. The first episode was able to reach over 1 million viewers, and quickly got signed for a second season to come later the same year.
Even though the show was a hit with the nation, it did leave Todd Chrisley’s parenting skills up for debate. The reality star was seen to have some extreme methods of disciplining his children, such as throwing a Macbook into the pool or forcing them to change their outfit to meet his high standards. While they may not be the conventional ways that most people choose to parent their children, Todd has continually defended himself as he says his actions have always been justified.
No show for Kyle
It has been reported that Todd and Kyle have always had a complicated father/son relationship. This all came to a head during season two of Chrisley Knows Best when there was a noticeable lack of Kyle. Todd announced his son had chosen a different route in life, but Kyle’s story was very different; he said his father forced him to quit because Todd was all about having control. Todd retaliated by saying his son was asked to leave after he refused to stick to his medication, as well as making threats to the crew.
All an act
Kyle was back in the headlines in 2014 with some more public bashing of his father. Kyle stated that the entire show is scripted by Todd, and if you were to say or do something that Todd didn’t approve of he would stop the whole show, tell you what should be said, then continue rolling. He said that the entire ordeal has left all the children with ill feelings towards their father. Todd, of course, retaliated that the show has never been scripted. He said the network allows them just to be themselves with no acting and the family have a great relationship.
Getting the views
One accusation aimed at Todd is the fake relationship he has with his granddaughter, Chloe. It is rumored that Todd only wanted her on the show so he could boost audience numbers. Kyle accused his father of not wanting to know Chloe before the ratings improved. Todd lashed out by saying that the real reason his granddaughter was on the show was that Kyle had threatened to sue if he didn’t get paid for her time on air. Todd has said Chloe left the show after season three to make sure she avoided any animosity.
Dodging the truth
When it comes to declaring incomes, many celebrities are guilty of not being entirely truthful. Todd Chrisley was no exception to this when he told officers that he and his family only spent around $650 a year on clothes – hard to believe when Todd has always boasted such an extensive wardrobe. In the early commercials for the show, Todd was seen admitting the family spends close to $300,000 per year just on outfits! Maybe the Chrisleys are just really good at spotting a bargain?
Kyle added to the rumors that his father was, in fact, trying to get out of paying tax when he spoke in an interview how the family faked their lives in Florida to avoid any tax charges from Georgia. It is one thing to go to these lengths to save on some pennies, but having your own son be the one to give the game away? That’s a new level, and certainly one that Todd and Kyle didn’t manage to come back from over the years.
Teresa Terry first met Todd Chrisley when he was just 19 years old at one of his get-togethers. The couple began dating, and only three years later, in 1989, they were married. However, Todd felt obliged to propose to his girlfriend as the couple had recently discovered that Teresa was, in fact, pregnant with their first child. Todd was soon on the hunt to find a way to provide for his new family but needed to find a career that suited his glamorous dreams.
Money making idea
Lindsie Chrisley was born on September 17, 1989, and was the couple’s first child together. They later went on to have another child, a son named Kyle Chrisley, who was born on August 29, 1991. The young family was forced to move around a lot as Todd had begun to invest in properties. However, the houses weren’t in very good condition, and Todd had to invest all their money into each one meaning they weren’t left with any cash for their own house. Despite the struggle, the couple said they enjoyed the adventures they shared moving from home to home.
Since their time together Teresa has reported that Todd was always trying to control everything within the home, including the inhabitants. Even with two young children in the house, Teresa has said that all the toys were to be kept away at all times. Todd expected Teresa to make sure that she was always looking glamorous and pristine, as though she was about to step onto the red carpet. The marriage began to fall apart as the two realized they weren’t as suited to each other as they once thought.
In 1994 Teresa had decided that enough was enough so planned to leave her husband. There had been rumors of issues between the couples for many years, with Teresa confessing she had actually left her husband a number of times before. However, this time she decided to walk out for good but would be going with only one child: Kyle. Todd was accused of kidnapping their daughter for two months before handing her back over. The divorce was finalized in 1996 with both sides having joint custody of the children.
As they were granted equal custody, both parents wanted to try and do best by their children. The two had set out an extensive agreement that split the children’s time between the pair of them, but it wasn’t long before Todd threw a spanner in the works. He decided that he would be moving to California, and as the children were old enough to decide for themselves, Lindsie chose to move with her father. As Teresa didn’t want to split them up, she sent Kyle along with them, too. However, within three months they were all back home.
Julie Hughes and Todd Chrisley were married in May 1996, just a month after Todd’s official divorce papers had been signed – lucky timing! The couple had met at the beginning of the ‘90s when Julie had been living in a trailer (rather than winning the Miss South Carolina title as she claimed), all while her future husband was building his bank account. Julie had already lived through some tragic experiences as her brother is reported to have taken his own life behind the family trailer.
Two new children
The couple’s first child was son Chase Chrisley who was born on June 1, 1996, one week after his parents had tied the knot. The following year the couple welcomed daughter Savannah Chrisley to the family who was born on August 11, 1997. While growing up, Chase was keen on becoming one of his school’s athletes, while Savannah opted to go down the beauty pageant route (unlike her mother), and has since been crowned Miss Tennessee – we won’t mention Julie again, promise.
Money making schemes
During this time Todd had been busy continuing to grow his property business. The property mogul was able to take the most rundown homes and transform them into an entirely different building. The housing market was booming, meaning the couple were quickly able to enjoy the benefits of Todd’s hard earned cash. Todd managed to create such an empire for himself that he even founded Chrisley Asset Management, a company that would take on repossessed houses, and sell them for an incredible profit.
The year the company was founded has been disputed, with people saying CAM was created anywhere between 2002 and 2008. However, 2008 was a tough year for Todd as the property market in America began to crash. It was now getting increasingly harder to sell his properties, so he had to ask for a much lower price. It wasn’t long before Todd found himself in financial difficulty, having to take out loan after loan to cover the costs. This wasn’t helped by the birth of Todd’s fifth child, Grayson, who was born on May 16, 2006. Another mouth to feed meant more stress for Todd.
Issues with Kyle
It is no secret that Kyle Chrisley hasn’t had it easy last few years. Not only did he threaten his father, but the reality star was just 19 years old in 2011 when he checked into rehab. However, there were issues when it came to payment. Todd had been boasting how he paid millions to help his son, but in reality, he hadn’t been paying any of the bills. The center was forced to sue the family as Todd had only paid $18,000, but ended up having to cover the court costs too, adding up to an extra $24,000!
Running out of cash
It may be hard to believe, but Todd and his wife, Julie, filed for bankruptcy in the summer 2012. Even though the reality stars boast their lavish lifestyles on their show, Todd had managed to get himself into a spot of bother when it came to paying for it all. And by that, we mean $49.4 million in debt – yikes! The debt racked up quickly as it included $12 million in mortgages, a nearly $600,000 tax bill, a $4.4 million loan from Julie, and a business deal that ended up costing him a whopping $30 million.
Chloe Chrisley was born November 10, 2012, to Todd’s son Kyle and his girlfriend, Angela Johnson. However, the couple split in April 2014, which left Kyle needing his father’s help once again. Angela was caught making false accusations of receiving child support from a programme set up to aid families that were struggling financially, but with the Chrisley family having acquired such a fortune it begged the question: was any money being given to Chloe? Todd took Angela to court when Chloe was just nine months old in a bid to gain custody as the family was being denied visitation rights.
Winning the case
However, even though Kyle had asked his father to help him, Todd only ended up helping himself, according to his son. In fact, it was Todd along with his wife, Julie, that managed to, allegedly, gain custody of Chloe instead. This definitely didn’t help Todd and Kyle’s relationship in any way. This wasn’t the first time Todd had been to court either as in 2009 a group of female coworkers sued the reality star for his inappropriate behavior.
Battling extortion threats
During March 2016 it was announced that a member of the family had been arrested: Pamela Chrisley. The woman in question was married to Randy, Todd’s brother, but things took a turn when Randy asked his wife for a divorce. To get back at them all, Pamela began trying to blackmail Todd and his family by threatening to sell a news story to the National Enquirer. Pamela said the only way she would withhold the information was if Todd transferred her hundreds of thousands to keep quiet, but Todd refused.
Things didn’t entirely go to plan for Pamela when she found herself in the back of a cop car rather than sunning herself on a beach in Barbados. Todd announced what had been happening by posting Pamela’s mugshot on his Instagram with a caption that explained what she had been trying to do. Pamela spoke publicly about how Randy had always been paid by his brother to keep quiet about any of Todd’s secrets so didn’t see why she shouldn’t be entitled to any of the money.
It hasn’t just been Randy’s marriage that has been in the firing line either. The legitimacy of Todd and Julie’s marriage has been questioned over the years. Kyle (of course) had an opinion on the matter as he stated that Julie is only with his dad to live off his money, rather than being together out of love. Both Todd and Julie have retaliated to the claims saying that they are false, and of course they are in love, but with the amount of finger pointing in the media, it is hard to keep up with who is where at times.
In 2016, Todd set his sights on a new goal – taking the country music world by storm. The TV star recorded a single with the legendary singer and songwriter, Shane Stevens. The song was first aired at the end of the fourth season of the show and shot to the number one pre-ordered single for a time before its release in November 2016. Even though a considerable fanbase greeted the song, Todd has failed to pursue his singing career any further, but who knows? Maybe he could become the next Garth Brooks any day now!
A new show idea
After three long years of fighting his corner, Todd has finally been able to win over network executives with his brand new idea for a show. The series ‘According to Chrisley’ premiered in September 2017, where the 30 minute episodes featured interviews with people on the street, some minor celebrity guests, and his family members all joining him on stage in front of a live audience. The show has been a relative success but is still in its early days.
Plans for the future
With his bank account looking back on track (for now), Todd has announced what he plans to spend his money on. He not only wants to continue with both his reality shows but also wants to use his chance to pursue his love of fashion finally. It is still unclear what Todd means by this, but who knows; we could be walking down the street in a Todd Chrisley original piece sooner than we think! Although, this will be without his daughter, Lindsie, who has recently decided to side with her brother, Kyle, about what her father is really like.
Defensive dad mode
Todd Chrisley is the kind of dad who would never hear a bad word said about any of his children – especially when those words are untrue. The reality star took to his social media pages to defend his daughter, Savannah, as rumors were circulating around the internet that she and her 21 year old boyfriend, Luke, had split up. Todd attached a photo of his daughter and Luke on their vacation to ward people off of spreading fake news.
Delving deeper into the family
It was only inevitable the show would develop a spin-off. But who was the lucky one to get their own show? Well, make that a lucky pair as Savannah and Chase are set to create their very own series! Although it is still in the works, Todd has promised that his children will bring just as much entertainment if not more than his own reality show. Their series will follow their lives as they begin to make their mark in the world without the help of their parents – we look forward to seeing it soon!
The early years
Michael Todd Chrisley was born in Georgia, USA, on April 6, 1969, to Faye and Gene Chrisley. His father was a war veteran, while his mother stayed at home to look after the children. The couple went on to have two more sons: Randy Chrisley, and Derrick Chrisley who was the youngest of the three children. Tragically though, Derrick passed away when he was just a toddler, and the family has chosen to not speak publicly about him or his death.
After the family tragedy, they all moved to South Carolina for a fresh start. Growing up they weren’t financially well off, but the children were able to enjoy a fulfilling childhood. Todd has spoken about how his fondest memory from this time is when he and his brother Randy would ride as far as they could on their bikes together, which is ironic now as Todd has spoken about how he would never let his children ride their bikes alone.
Todd wasn’t like the other students as he preferred to dress in the latest fashions, whereas the others would stick to jeans and t-shirts. He would often invite large groups of friends back to his house where his mother would cook for them all. However, it has been reported that Todd was never comfortable as he doesn’t like large crowds and preferred his own company. It was during his teenage years that Todd became fascinated by TV shows, particularly soap operas. With his hopes set high, Todd aspired to become an interior designer and model.
Far from where he started
It seems like Todd has had his eyes set on stardom even when it seemed absolutely impossible. “His parents were just regular middle class people,” Chrisley’s first wife, Teresa Terry, was quoted as saying, “But I guess he always just wanted something different. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.” While the couple did have “fun” moving around renovating homes, Teresa revealed a far more sinister side of Todd. It wasn’t only the hair that had to be perfect. She said Chrisley would scream with rage at her constantly.
Todd’s first marriage ended in an ugly divorce and – you guessed it – there are (even more) court records. Teresa, who doesn’t really exist on the new and improved Chrisley world, complained of domestic abuse. Behind the scenes, she is mainly concerned about protecting Kyle, siding with him regarding his father: he was a rebellious child, Teresa says, but there was no such thing as rebellion, or anything that is not perfect, in Todd’s world. Teresa holds Todd responsible for Kyle’s very publicly presented issues.
The Chrisley family does have their charm, with their almost sweet idiosyncrasies. For example, if you thought Todd was controlling about his kids – you’ll never believe how he reacted to his mother’s mischief. Since Faye was driving with a suspended license, Todd had her arrested – well, had her thinking she’s been arrested, just to teach her a lesson. After a drawn out exchange with a cop, Todd claims, “I’m going to tell you this is all a joke!” Faye did not seem amused. Strange.
How ’bout now?
With the new Savannah and Chase spinoff coming up, a new wave of rumors and ‘where are they’ renewed interest has come to the surface. Well, the juice about the spinoff is enough for some serious reality TV lovers excitement: “I’m extremely proud of Chase and Savannah as they continue their journey into adulthood,” Todd has said. “This show will follow them as they live on their own and give their parents huge headaches and potential heart attacks. The plot thickens with love.” Oooh!
A new leaf
In the meanwhile, Kyle says he has been issue-free for four years now. Newly married and living on a large estate with his new wife, Lexi, and their dog, Milo, he was quoted as saying he has moved on with his life, and that though he does not talk to his family, he only wishes them the best. “I cannot wait to start a family with my wife after we’re all settled in,” he had said. “She’s my best friend.”
As for Savannah, she is recuperating from a pretty frightening car wreck she was involved in January, 2017. Her floor mat got stuck behind her pedals, she had explained in an Instagram post, and one second looking down was enough to send her car straight into the guardrails. She suffered a broken vertebrae and immense pain following the accident. Her many fans sent her a plethora of well-wishes on social media, for which she was extremely thankful.
Love is off the air
Speaking of Savannah, who is feeling much better: despite her father’s seemingly unconditional support, she and NBA star Luke Kennard have indeed broken up. “I’ve made a decision as a young woman of faith, that with where Luke and I both are in our careers, it was best to part as friends rather than deal with the pressures of wondering if you are the only one,” Chrisley said. Even more chances at new plot lines at the spinoff, it seems – though, more importantly, we hope Savannah isn’t feeling too sad.
The beat goes on
In the meanwhile, Chrisley Knows Best did not only get picked up for a “new and better” (according to USA Network, which airs the show) 6th season, its new after-show has also been green-lighted. “Patriarch Todd Chrisley will give advice about parenting and relationships,” the after-show description reads. With the family at home, Savannah and Chase in their spinoff, and Todd sharing his quirky thoughts of subjects large and small with us, we are bound to be blissfully Chrisley-ied out for a good while.