Some Firsthand Insight on The Effects on Children Involved in Reality TV

RHOOC Vicki mother died call

It seems like one of those days for unsettling stories about people on reality TV. The extremely sad news about Big Ang and her struggle with advanced cancer. The news that Lex McAllister, a contestant on The Bachelor had committed suicide, making her the second contestant from Jake’s season to take her own life.  And then someone sent me a link to a gut wrenching story written by the daughter of another former reality TV personality about how it affected her childhood. It’s something any parent who goes on a reality show should read.

Take a minute to read  a few of the excerpts from that story, and at the end I’ll post the link to the entire picture with even more distressing details (that identify the author’s mother.)

“When I think of my mother, I picture someone beautiful and strong. A single parent, sexual abuse survivor, gay rights advocate, and a fearless defender of those she loves. My mother has a big heart, and I am grateful for the sacrifices she made to provide for my sister and me. I admire her for overcoming great odds.”

RHOACynthianoelle

“I’ve already been accepted to an Ivy League graduate school on full scholarship. While higher education might not be a prized commodity in the reality show universe—at least, it wasn’t on my mother’s show, with characters being blatantly dismissive of the need for college—it is something my family values. One day, I hope to be a medical professional. I already know what the job entails, because I was born with a rare heart condition. I had my first heart attack at age nine and since then have spent the years in and out of doctor’s offices. You didn’t see this on television, but everyone knew about my condition behind the scenes—which of course didn’t stop producers and housewives from terrorizing my mother in front of my face. There were lots of things you never saw, both onscreen and off.”

“Imagine if all of the arguments you’ve had in your life were filmed by a stranger, and they took out the worst things you said, edited it together, and then presented the footage on TV to define your character. Would you say that characterization was accurate? Anything that is produced, and edited in this manner, is fictitious by default, but unlike an actor, my mother didn’t have the advantage of hiding behind a character, not to mention that the term reality forms a perception that is impossible to overcome when the viewers aren’t aware of what goes down behind the scenes.”

“My mother can’t find work because of the preconceived notion America has about her. Since she left the show, my family has fallen on hard times. In the end, we had no choice but to run. We packed a few suitcases and left. Overnight, I left the only home I’d ever known for a nondescript apartment in an anonymous town. We didn’t have furniture, so we slept on blow-up mattresses. I worried about my grades. I missed three weeks of school as my mom desperately searched for an educational institution where I would receive more respect and protection.”

Take a moment to go to the site where I read the essay to discover who the author is. And then come back here and share your comments. This is a conversation we don’t have enough of around here.

83 Comments

Filed under Entertainment News

83 responses to “Some Firsthand Insight on The Effects on Children Involved in Reality TV

  1. TMH

    Wow…such powerful writing. Good job Christine.

  2. Kari

    Teresa, Dina and Caroline are scumbags. Danielle is/was a nutcase but I really feel like she was bullied

    • KathyS

      You are calling the mothers of other reality TV children scumbags. That makes you, part of the problem.

      • tamaratattles

        There are plenty of scumbags on these shows. I will continue to discuss said scumbags. This post is not about the scumbags, it’s about the children.

  3. Wow.
    Just wow.
    I read her entire essay. Very thought provoking about the damage—and very long lasting damage—a young person will suffer from this kind of exposure.
    I feel very bad for her.

  4. Wampascat

    This is heartbreaking. I’ll admit, I was no fan of Danielle’s, but reading this really makes me re-think my opinion. I admire her daughter for overcoming obstacles that would make others turn to self destructive behavior. I admire Danielle for encouraging her daughter and reiterating the importance of her education. It’s true, we sit in our living rooms weekly, waiting for the next cat fight or tidbit of gossip. What a wake up call to realize the children of these women carry such a burden.

  5. Madashell

    Wow. That was powerful. People should really calm down on attacks on Teresa Guidice and her girls. The same hatred and contempt that Danielle Staub endured is what Teresa is facing now. The pitchforks need to come down.
    Danielle Staub should feel proud of her daughter. I certainly am in awe.

    • Sam

      Or she could leave reality TV herself and not put her kids in this position at all.
      Thankfully some of the parents have put their foot down and said they don’t want their kids being filmed, like Simon Barney. However even if they don’t appear onscreen I am sure many have the experience described by this poor girl. Good for her for making something of herself and for speaking out on this topic.

  6. Minky

    Wow. Just, wow. She’s a very thoughtful and intelligent young person. That’s so sad. I do remember that season, long before I found TT. Their treatment of that cast member was wrong in so many ways, a lot of which were obvious even without any behind-the-scenes insight.

  7. Stefie

    I agree the children are innocent bystanders and should not be involved in filming. I agree that editing is probably skewed. I do not think Danielle Staub is a victim. Even after she was done with RHONJ, she went on WWHL. She did the show where she and Tracey sang. So she continued to exploit herself and put herself out there long after RHONJ. did she have Twitter wars with the cast long after she was on the show?

  8. Sharon

    What a wake up call is right! This young lady is clearly intelligent and articulate so kudos to her for surviving this traumatic childhood and earning a full scholership to an Ivy League school. Kudos to her Mom for guiding her to excel in her education. I was never a fan of Danielle however this does make me feel more sympathetic towards her.

    • Angela

      She IS intelligent and this is very thought provoking! Maybe she’ll write a book outing Andy and all of Bravo, I for one would buy it.

  9. beth

    Andy Cohen should read that story – he must be one that “knew”. The boys that menaced Christine in school make my skin crawl – wonder what they have grown up to be.

  10. Deb in SF

    Truly a heartbreaking essay. I was very impressed with how well Christine writes; as an editor by trade, I can tell you, that is not so common. I hope she and her mother do out the lack of reality in “Reality TV,” and let us know how forced the episodes were/are. And I want to thank you, TT, for making sure we, your readers, know that so much of these shows is scripted. On my own, I would never have known that. I bet many other kids on these housewives show have experienced similar, or different, torment from their peers. Thinking of Lynn Curtin’s kids specifically. Thanks for the alert on this one, Tamara.

    • Yes. Lynn’s kids but also Tammy Knickerbocker’s girls. They lost their father and were pretty prominently featured on the show…and not in a good light, I might add. Didn’t Tammy leave the show to “spend more time with” her girls? (I took that to mean “get my kids the hell off of TV”)

      I was very impressed by this essay. Definitely kudos (or kadooze in Ramona-speak) to her for sticking with her education. I guess she didn’t persue a modelling career?

      • Lindsay

        Kadooze! Thanks for lightening the mood!

      • Lawstangel

        Tammy’s girls were blindsided by they’re fathers sudden death and the sad fact that he had married a modest bride from southeast Asia, but never amended his will. She took everything he had and the girls were to get nothing. They asked for a share and she refused, telling them she didn’t have to give them anything.

      • Yes, I remember that. Awful to say the least. I also meant to say in my original comment if I didn’t make it clear that I thought Tammy did the right thing by pulling the plug on her daughters’ TV exposure. They were being portrayed badly and it could have only gotten worse, so good for her for seeing that and putting a stop to it instead of sacrificing them for more TV “reality fame”.

      • tamaratattles

        Who is Tammy?

      • Tammy Knickerbocker, RHoOC.

    • microop

      I think unfortunately Lynn’s kids did not fair as well. I’ve seen a few things online in the years since, and I think they probably also struggled with reality TV exposure, the publicity of their parents financial woes and divorce. It is sad.

      • queenmarie

        Yes–you know what the youngest of the girls is doing, or was doing—porn. And believe me it is not just a “rumor”……….. Very sad that she did that because she wanted to pay for plastic surgery and thought if she used an alias that no one would figure out it was her. I just cannot imagine having those videos out there for eternity. She is a pretty young lady with so much potential, or she was.

  11. Allison

    Not a Danielle fan at all, but the children arent their mother, and I always felt like the girls were headed for bigger and better. Didnt Danielle keep putting herself out there though? In a not so great light? Something about a strip club? If I remember correctly, she didnt exactly do a whole lot to turn her image around, regardless, its unfortunate her kids paid such a heavy price.

    • Denine

      Perhaps she was putting herself out there, playing the role because as her daughter said, she couldn’t find a job and needed to support herself and her children.

  12. ZenJen55

    Shame on Bravo and shame on me for watching and giving steam to this train wreck.

    Christine and the rest of the children, I apologise for helping exploit you. I will no longer watch any Housewife franchise out of respect for the kids. She’s right education is not high on the list. Modeling, branding is the direction these mothers steer their children. Kudos Danielle Staub, you deserve to be commended for the success of your daughter. I will buy her book.

    • Hawkmoon947

      Well said. Any parent voluntarily stepping into the world of reality tv should think long and hard about the impact that exposure will have on their children. Those of us who tweet or post messages on blogs and boards should also have the decency to question the appropriateness of carelessly publishing something snarky or derogative about children who are pushed into that spotlight.

  13. peachteachr

    I love your real life, Christine. Carpe Diem!

  14. 25

    I don’t have much to say about Christine specifically, but I have never ever ever understood how a parent, who should be full of protective instincts, would put their children who are so young (like Teresa’s) on reality tv, and let them be filmed so that their missteps are documented for the rest of their lives.

    This is why I loved that you put Jac as the #1 worst reality tv Mom, TT–not only did she put her teenage daughter on the show, but she let the cameras and her storyline FOCUS on Ashley’s failing school performance, battery, and insecurities–to forever be documented. Disgusting. She would rather “help enlighten other parents who struggle with teenage daughters” than protect her own daughter’s present & future from prying eyes and judgment while going through LEGAL issues.

    So I feel for Christine, and I have some sympathy for her excuse that Danielle didn’t know what reality tv production/editing was like back in those early days of Real Housewives, but her own parent put her on the show.

    No shade, but I’m extremely curious what kinds of jobs Danielle applies for….HR?

  15. Spilledperfume

    I never watched any of the housewife shows back then and even I know about the table flipping from the gif that shows up at the bottom of the entries about Theresa. I just never knew the story behind it. How scary for Christine and her sister to have seen that.

    The essay was very well written and truly heartbreaking.

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Tamara. Such moving words. These poor kids.

  17. Just Saying

    Very enlightening essay from a very bright young lady. I can only hope these hws would take the time to read this. I’m not going to name them because we know who they are but maybe even one might finally get it if they read it.

    • Miguel

      I hope Farrah et al from Teen Mom read this – I pity the children whom are innocent in this!!! Well done, Christine – I pray all the children follow this path vs that of their mothers!

  18. @immelza

    I think every single person who works on the HW shows, every single adult family member including extended that films and every executive at Bravo including Andy should be required to not only read this but sit and be told personally the hell this poor child endured. I’m glad she was able to overcome this and now I’m nauseous thinking about Phadreas boys being in school when some kid whips out beach pictures of his Mother, or any of the other kids who didn’t ask for this exposure. What a downer hang in there TT sorry today has been a shit show for you.

  19. BeteBlonde

    Although I feel for Christine and believe her to be an impressive young woman, I also remember Danielle from RHONJ and do not believe her to be a victim of bad editing. In fact, she supplied many cringe-worthy moments of her own making. I recall being disturbed by the contents of her book (didn’t it detail her cocaine abuse & other less-than-savory moments, or am I remembering incorrectly?) Unfortunately, these mothers are far more concerned with their own selfish & self-centered pursuits and do so at the expense of their children. I shudder to think of the amount of therapy Brandi G’s boys or Teresa’s girls are going to need. Sorry, but if you allow the pursuit of your 15 minutes & open your life up to the tv cameras, then you shouldn’t blame bad storylines or edits when your kids suffer the consequences.

    • Now what?

      You’re right. I would cringe at Danielles behavior. The best thing the producers could do was fired her from the show. Even after that Danielle still went on other reality shows. Daniells ex husband seemed like a fairly grounded educated and successful man who protected his privacy. Danielle on the other hand wanted fame.

  20. iloveearlgrey

    I always thought Danielle did a great job with her girls. She had issues, but I had a soft spot for her because I don’t ever appreciate a whole group of people ganging up on one person.

    • I always thought that Danielle was sharing waaaayyyy too much with her girls. I felt she should have been protecting them, not telling them all her twisted issues. I feel for the children of reality tv but I am disgusted by the parents allowing this exploitation, and Andy. I truly wonder whatever will become of the Giudice girls. Tre is too stupid and vapid to see what she is doing. It’s sad.

  21. microop

    I mean damn. I remember Caroline saying the girls look dead behind their eyes. So mean. I watch these shows (although less and less as the years pass) so I can really only be so critical. But I do think show producers should attempt to give a fuller representation. We don’t need to demonize in.order to enjoy the programming.

  22. Now what?

    At first I though that was Lynn Curtains daughter from Rhoc. But once I read “Ivy League” I kept on guessing

    • Lawstangel

      and the shade continues…..

      • tamaratattles

        I deleted a post that might have gone here. I didn’t see the placement before I deleted it. I am continuously amazed that an article about how a child was damaged by people trash talking her mother is responded to by idiots trash talking her mother. Some people are incapable of comprehending complex situations and simple want to say negative things here regardless of the topic.

  23. Thanks for sharing this! As many people have stated, I am not a Danielle fan, but she had to have done many things right in order to have such a smart, articulate, and mature daughter.

  24. microop

    I also think we should note that Danielle, while she did keep putting herself out there was 1.) In a very bad position financially and probably wasn’t thinking clearly due to that desperation 2.) Had very publicly been portrayed as a villian and was also probably desperate to clear her name even though it just dug her deeper and deeper. I’m not saying she’s a perfect angel, but just that I can sympathize with why she would continue to expose herself, just like how I sympathize with women who return to their abusers.

    • Sweet T

      I agree with everything you said. I always felt for Danielle. To me it was obvious that she was sexually abused as a child (and then continued the pattern as an adult). She was very emotionally damaged and used sex as the way to get attention from people. She did do a great job raising her kids and always stressed their intelligence as opposed to their looks. Even when her daughter modeled, she was still stressing education first.

  25. Dracla Dunning

    During season one I often wondered about the children of Danielle. They seemed so mannerly, well behaved and kind and obviously loved their mother. At times Danielle was portrayed as a lunatic and I had difficulty believing that portrayal knowing she was a major influence in the lives of her children. Yes, she had some issues but in my mind things did not add up. The night of the table flipping dinner totally turned me against all Manzos. I was never a Caroline fan or a fan of the “fambly” and Caroline, the “know-it-all” should have censored what she said in front of children. Even if it is a reality show there is still integrity. The public, insane aggressive behavior of adult women in front of children was pathetic and inexcusable. Other children were taken from the room prior to Teresa’s explosion. Not Danielle’s daughters and my heart broke for them when I saw and heard what they were exposed to.
    Christine will learn that some people get stronger after a heartache and never break in the same place twice. I am proud of her. Besides growing into a natural beauty, her accomplishments will be the greatest revenge. She needs to hold her head high.

    • 25

      Me too–I don’t think Christine or Jillian themselves ever had an embarrassing or even a disrespectful moment on the show. It was hard for me to reconcile the villain Danielle was portrayed as, with the great mother she had to be to raise such nice (and now we see, successful) kids. I would probably buy her Bravo slam book.

      Also, if Christine’s college comment was meant to address Caroline saying in season 1 that she wasn’t the type of parent who forces her kids to go to college (the worst type!!!), then good for her. That comment always stuck with me because I thought it was such a weird & misguided attempt to be “old school.” If you’re rich, pay for your kids to go to college. Even if they’re dullards. They won’t be worse for it, even if they don’t use the degree. Nothing better to waste your money on than your kids’ educations. Go Christine.

    • Matzah60

      Thanks at @Dracula for your very insightful comments. They hit a chord with me. Especially the last paragraph you wrote, “Christine will learn that some people get stronger after a heartache and never break in the same place twice. I am proud of her. Besides growing into a natural beauty, her accomplishments will be the greatest revenge. She needs to hold her head high.”

      I obviously was never on a reality show, but my siblings and my mom were victims of what you call the “insane, aggressive behavior” of grown adults due to my mother’s mental illness. My ex husband, in his bid to pay less child support informed the court that I was “crazy” like my mother and that I should be locked up in Ancora (a state psychiatric center in NJ) and not allowed to have custody of our children. It backfired because as Rinna said, the truth always resonates. My ex knew that the deterioration of my mother’s life began on our own front porch when two teenagers took my father’s life and he exploited that fact for his own benefit. When custody didn’t end up the way he hoped, he stopped seeing our two children for three years. Abandonment will always ‘circle” my two son’s lives.

      My oldest son in particular learned that there is “strength” from heartache and he learned that he would “never break in the same place twice.”

      I am so proud that Christine prevailed. She is lucky and I hope her sister can rise above the injustice that claimed this family just as Christine did.

      Tamara, you said in another post (I think it was about the death of Eileen’s brother) that you “hope I can properly convey the importance of remembering that they are real people.” Thank you for sharing this essay from Christine Staub. It was painful to read, but brought me to my knees. I quite literally felt her pain.

      • Matzah60

        @Dracula, Minky, and Miguel…..Thank you for your warm thoughts and words. Anne Frank, a young girl of 13 wrote in her diary, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.”

        i do believe that people are really good at heart and all of you are living proof of that belief. <3

      • Miguel

        I feel honoured to have been privy to your story – so brave & inspirational! THANK YOU, Matzah60!!!

    • Danielle did have the option of having her children leave the room. She chose not to.

      • Dracla Dunning

        I always felt Caroline’s fambly rant and the table flip was preplanned. Danielle just wasn’t in on the plan other than to be the one who the anger was directed. Caroline, Dina and Teresa were waiting for a reason to act out and it presented itself with the book discussion. During Carolines’ s speech the children were removed. Why? I found that odd since Caroline was such the mouth of the fambly, loves an audience and probably would have preferred them to hear the fambly speech. Caroline handed off the insanity baton to Teresa and the lecture was immediately followed by Teresa’s beastmode explosion, that’s why.
        If you watched the scene you will notice that no other adult offers assistance to either of Danielle’s children who were collateral damage. Danielle was on the defensive being in Teresa’s crosshairs and not Mother Mary Caroline, Miss Perfect Herself Dina or Crazy Town Jacqueline, who all profess to be mother of the year, sheltered those babies. The other children were long gone. That is when I felt the whole table flip was a rage fueled set-up.
        Christine is learning a valuable lesson in life…to face her fears. Fear is just an unknown. Christina is probably finding out that she has carried fear from that moment in time as baggage for too long and by facing the fear she felt as a young child she will be able to step out of if as a young adult. As she learns to put each fear from that time in life behind her, her stride through life will be much more powerful and filled with purpose.
        Matza, my heart broke for you and your sons. I wanted to reach through my tablet and hold your hand to let you know I care and you are loved in this moment of time.

      • Minky

        Maybe Danielle thought that her girls could handle it. Whether or not she was right to keep her girls there during this fracas is debatable. It certainly was an educational experience for them. My parents never made me leave the room if they were having an argument with each other or someone else. Disagreements and harsh words and idiocy are part of life, unfortunately. Some kids learn that sooner than others.

        Obviously Danielle’s girls learned some life lessons in that moment: Mainly that there are people in this world that will stoop pretty low for no good reason.

        I send you my best Matzah. :0)

    • I remember being really impressed with what good kids Danielle had when watching RHONJ too! I seemed so at odds with how she was portrayed on the show. So when I read the excerpts Tamara posted I actually thought of her daughters immediately.
      Say what you will about Danielle but she must have done something right with those kids.

    • Miguel

      I echo the sentiments, Dracla!!!

  26. Great article. I hope other house wives read and think twice about exploiting their children for the fame.

  27. tamaratattles

    ​It always amazes me that no how serious the issue we are discussing here is, Fucktards have to say ” I NEVER LIKE SO AND SO but…and then say the decent thing.” What the fuck? If you are so fucking worried people will think you saying something decent about someone might in some way connect you to the person, keep your fucking mouth shut.

    But even more disgusting and cuntish are people like Stefie and BeteBlonde who are just the kind of cunts that Christine is talking about. It’s like they have no idea Christine can read here. Or they think we need them to roll out a laundry list of Danielle’s least attractive qualities.

    Some cunts just MISS THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT.

    • Dee

      Thank you for sharing this. I was impressed by Christine’s description of what she experienced. I’m horrified that children are being harmed by “reality shows” scripted, edited to make the “enemy” look bad. Everyone at Bravo needs to read this. I won’t watch another show that involves a child. If they can’t watch it, due to rating, why would they be included during filming?

    • TT, you never disappoint. I began reading the comments and thought, “TT’s going to call you all kinds of cunt satchels.” Regardless of what Danielle was or is, she has done a great deal right: she has reared a lovely, thoughtful, intelligent young woman wise beyond her years. I hope to God I’m never judged on my 10,000 worst days.

    • Miguel

      Wow TT, I’ve never seen you so angry; nonetheless, thanks for that – it had to be said!

  28. Nanaintn

    Tamara, I read almost everything you post, including shows that I don’t even watch because of your wonderful writing and the comments that have kept me laughing thru some truly dark moments. I rarely comment, and it’s usually to thank you for being dedicated to all your readers. Tonight I’m commenting to thank you once again. I came here to read the update on Big Ang because since finding out about her diagnosis, I have watched for news from you knowing it would be accurate and caring. I finished your post in tears for her and her family, and can only offer prayers for her for strength and peace as she continues her treatment. Then I went on to read this post re. Christine Staub and my heart aches for this beautiful young woman while admiring her for speaking her truth. I just want to thank you once again Tamara for always sharing your beautiful heart with all of us when it comes to the things that really matter. Tamara Tattles is the best blog ever, and as I said before, has kept me laughing out loud thru many dark times over the past several years. However, what keeps me coming back daily is your honesty about who and what you are! Your talent is amazing, but your ability to make us stop and think about some things that truly matter is a gift! Sorry for the long and rambling ‘fan girl’ comment, but again, thank you for all that you do!

    • Dee

      Nana, I loved your fan girl comments. I’m one as well as I think most of us are. Thank you for sharing. I wish I had had a teacher like Ns. Tattles. I would have learned so much.

  29. Toonskie

    Thanks for posting the link to this, it was a great read and should give people a lot to think about. Such an intelligent and insightful young woman, she will make a fine medical professional someday. I hope perhaps she will get involved in finding ways to protect children from being exploited in this manner in the future. With her first hand knowledge and perspective on the situation she has a good chance of succeeding. Adults can make their own decisions about what they do with their lives, but it’s sad when they drag their kids along for the ride when it’s not in their best interest. :(

  30. amisteree

    Damn. Great post, TT. Amazingly well written essay by Christine, even more so considering the intense emotion that might have stymied or muddled her message. Life has given me many opportunities to reconsider my narrow-minded opinions, and this is one of those times. I would like to see someone rub Andy’s nose in this, but that makes me just like him. Bravo (!) Christine. God speed.

  31. Toddy

    I hope Danielle’s book sales surpass Teresa’s. I’d read a Bravo expose’. I remember that horrible dead eyes comment and thinking, the kids know those women can’t stand their mom. Of course it shows on their faces/keeps them from being themselves. One thing about Danielle, her scenes were never boring. Unlike Jac – I don’t get why Bravo keeps her. Maybe for another felon ?allegedly) by Bravo. Glad Christine is doing so well.

  32. Dee

    I feel for this young woman. What she suffered is so unconscionable I can barely spell. I came across this site a year ago and have loved every minute. I can’t verbalize what I feel for any children involved in these shows

  33. was this excerpt in danielle’s book? if she is outing bravo that is a book i will read!

  34. Lindsay

    The kids didn’t sign up for this, or at the very least, have no idea what they’re getting into. A very unfair and selfish choice on the part of their parents, who you know just only feature the kids to show what woooooonderful mothers they are…
    Oh crap, I put “you know” where a liar would like Yolanda, lol!
    Really though, I have zero love for Eddie Cibrian, and perhaps it was a power play, but much respect to him putting the kibosh on them being exploited for television.

  35. PaganChick

    I actually stopped watching New Jersey in it’s second season because of the treatment that Danielle was getting on the show. Actually, it was after the hair pulling incident. I remember Ashley tweeted something very nasty and denigrating about Christine (who was only 16 at the time I believe), and I knew I couldn’t watch the show anymore. I felt so bad for Danielle’s kids, and felt like they didn’t deserve the harassment they were getting online. So, I just started reading recaps of the show to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I am glad to see that Christine turned out so level headed despite the trauma of those 2 seasons.

  36. Tara

    The Staub girls were some of the first kids we saw on reality tv. No one could have predicted how far the HW’s franchise would go.
    It’s disgusting what this child went through, period. It doesn’t matter who her mother is, it’s sad. Instead of being a victim and choosing the wrong path, Christine chose to win. Good for her!

  37. JoJoFLL

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Christine’s post.

    I have several friends that have been on or are currently on major reality shows and they all have experienced pretty bad depression afterwards.

    Not only is there collateral damage to those they love but they damage themselves in the process.

  38. Bravocueen

    OMG! I never, ever thought about how devastating these shows could be to a child. I feel duly chastised and may never watch again. I feel so guilty and ashamed because I honestly feel like my viewership contributed to her pain and exploitation.

  39. beauxblue

    A parent’s #1 job should be to protect their children, and as articulate as Christine’s story is, a lot of the blame falls on her mom. Danielle seem to revel in throwing out the details of her sex life, didn’t she release a sex tape, she never talked about career ambitions or had any visible means of making an income and in fact was relying on her ex-husband to hold her over with a good settlement until she could marry well again. I have no doubt that bravo embellished, but Danielle gave them the fuel and she let her need for fame and fortune out weigh what she owed her kids.

  40. Cat

    Wow. That was very moving. I hope she can move past this. But the part about the football players scares me. Christine is a human being, not a doll or a piece of meat. She deserves better.

    I don’t remember much about Danielle on the show.

    I remember the hair pulling incident, and I remember feeling sorry for her. I know reality shows have very little to do with reality. But I think her fear and emotions that night were real.

    I also remember Danielle having little talks with her girls, although I don’t remember details. What I do remember is there was definite love there.

    Hopefully, we can all soon forget these shows, and the antics that are passed off as “reality”. Then maybe, these kids can heal.

  41. Bromo90

    This was really powerful. She has become such an amazing and accomplished woman. Everyone should take note, not just the housewives. What an inspiring article.

  42. worldgirl

    As soon as I read the part about castmates blatantly dismissing higher education, I knew this was about somebody on New Jersey.

  43. T D

    Behold Andy, Lord of the Flies.

  44. Keep it moving

    A few posts back Tamara did a blind a la guess who this model’s parents are. That blind made me think about Christine since she modeled a little while on the show. Was wondering how she was. I’m relieved and so happy to be amazed by what she has accomplished!

    Always thought there was something special about her but was also a little scared for her that she seemed so wise beyond her years. Sometimes that doesn’t serve you well. It seems to have for her. She has done so much to be proud of. I don’t think very many people could go through that and come out on top. As others have said… Wow, just wow. Big cosmic hug!

  45. It seems to me that the children are collateral damage to their parents choice for instant celeb status. I’m sure no parent wants to subject their child(ren) to the mental and emotional damage caused by some of these shows. I know for certain the producers could care less. The only small children I think will fall victim to their parents foul ways would be the Guidice children and Nida children. I pray that I’m wrong

  46. I don’t think it matters what anyone thinks of Danielle or any of the housewives personally. Whatever they are or are not is not the issue. This is a child who is telling us POINT BLANK what being in a situation that was not of her choosing has done to her life. What the production of shows that we ALL have promoted by watching, has ultimately done to her and her family. This sucks. No other way to say it. I am sickened that this child ( and I am sure all children on these shows) has endured any harm or heartache for my craps and giggles. Hmmm….isn’t this one of Kim Richards issues the exploration of her childhood/life? I am ashamed that I didn’t realize this sooner. I am sure she is only the first of many to have had horrible experiences because of the choices of others. (I am including production, Bravo, other shows on other stations) I am sorry sorry sorry. This makes me sick.

  47. Harrison

    the shows aren’t going to change, so aren’t we all apart of the problem by continuously feeding into these shows, we cant say how bad and outrageous it is and then continue to watch its makes us hypocrites

  48. Dropped.

    Christine’s essay is so very well-written, it knocked the last bits of intelligence and eloquence out of me. Simply put, wow.

    As I’m writing this, I kept asking myself, “What was it that I didn’t like about Christine’s mother, Danielle?” I re-watched episodes and I thought I was watching a different show. Watching then as it aired week by week, I remembered it as a show where a witch was terrorizing and frightening the women of the village. But watching it now, I see right through the bullshit narrative. It’s really a show about a bunch of frightening village idiots cornering a woman with pitchforks, screaming at her and to the whole world about her past, just so they can hopefully get on with their own shady dealings quietly.

    I went all the way back to the first episode of the first season. The first 30 seconds was a montage of Danielle. She’s in arguments, she’s yelled at, she’s chased after. At the 38 second mark, just before the whole cast’s glam opening intros, is the table flip; and the camera focused not on the maniacal table flipper, but on Danielle. That was her introduction to the world. From the very start, she was already and firmly embedded as the villain. She didn’t have a chance folks.

    This isn’t a PBS documentary. This is Bravo. No need to use the slogan “watch what happens” because they know we’ll watch… as soon as the producers get done producing what they want to happen.

    It would have been so easy for me to be angry at my reality tv mother. It would’ve been automatic for me to blame all falls, trips, and shortcomings during my formative years on my mother’s choice to be a public figure. It would have taken some time, but I would have started to believe the opinions… all the negativity.

    I can learn a thing or two from Christine.

    Christine, more people should be like you. I want to be like you.

    I want to be unwavering in my love for any person I hold special in my life; mom, dad, whomever s/he may be. I want to not have any second guesses just because a mob of people constantly told me that special person has done questionable actions. I want to not wonder if that special person really cares for me. I want to not let others chip away at what I believe—at what I already know—that special person is an awesome and amazing human being.

    I’m floored at the depth of a daughter’s resolve to heal years of hurt; not just for herself, but for her mother as well. Moreover, I’m inspired by the strength of young woman’s resilience as she didn’t buckle when the pressure of the world’s negativity weighed heavily on her shoulders.

  49. Housewivedout

    I always thought Danielle was treated really unfairly on the show. The hatred of her and the viciousness thrown her way were never justified to me. She was physically assaulted twice, and on a regular basis was ridiculed, degraded and ganged up on for millions to see. I was in the minority who since the table flip episode first aired was unapologetically team Danielle. My sympathy for her was such that since she left I’ve been hoping for her possible recasting, so the show could recapture some of the spark of the first season with a balanced cast now that her tormentors the Manzos, Jackeline, Ashley and Dina are gone. Now that I am reading her daughter’s account though, I am so glad she never went back! Thank goodness she extricated herself and her daughters from that filth. In doing so she stopped the exploitation of her kids and gave Christine a chance to flourish into the amazing young woman we are discovering today. I know Danielle has many flaws, but she should be so proud of her daughters and herself for being a great parent. History is starting to absolve her and maybe she will have the last laugh by exposing Bravo with her book. I would definitely read it and buy it. I hope she has a good lawyer to protect her from what could come to her from going after the network. Thank you for the post Tamara!

  50. tlcory

    I’ve always liked Danielle even back when the show was on I knew somehow that how she was portrayed on the show and how she was in real life had to be different, I simply judged her on how her girls acted and to me those girls were always well behaved and showed love for their mother so by this observation I knew she couldn’t be that bad of a person. Im sure she’s made her mistakes but who hasn’t, I’d be condemned to the gates of hell if I was on a reality show and some of my past mistakes were outed for the world to see! Ha
    I wish Danyelle and her daughter’s all the best.

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