What Reality TV Stars Looked Like In The ’00s, Then Vs. Now

The reality stars that got us hooked on the genre are all in wildly different places in their lives today.

Like a lot of ’80s and ’90s kids, I grew up on sitcoms and made-for-TV movies.

My most high-octane television entertainment was coming from talk shows and soap operas/telenovelas.

I had no idea that reality TV would show up and take over my teen years.

Before we knew it, reality TV was everywhere and we were watching every minute.

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen some of the early aught’s most entertaining reality stars. Here’s what they’re up to now.

Erik-Michael Estrada (Making The Band, 2000)

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Erik-Michael Estrada was the lead vocalist and 1/5 of Making The Band Season 1 creation O-Town at 21.

Erik-Michael Estrada continues to perform and act, appearing in A Very Boy Band Christmas.

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Eddie McGee (Big Brother, 2000)

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Those who got hooked on season 1 of Big Brother were shocked to see outspoken housemate Eddie, who was nominated for elimination weeks in a row, take home the $500,000 grand prize.

Today, Eddie is an actor and entertainer with a new short film coming out in 2022.

Kelly Osbourne (The Osbournes, 2002)

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Kelly Osbourne turned 18-years-old the same year her family’s reality show, which was really the first of its kind, debuted. The show followed Kelly’s brief singing career.

These days, Kelly is sober and exploring all areas of her career, from podcasting to hosting gigs and more.

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Tamyra Gray (American Idol, 2002)

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Tamyra Gray proved herself among the vocal elite in her time on the first season of American Idol. Fans were outraged when she was eliminated from the Top 4, but there were bigger things in store for this starlet.

Tamyra has enjoyed singing, acting, and even starring on Broadway in recent years.

Alex Michel (The Bachelor, 2002)

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Bachelor nation, we’ve come a long way, haven’t we? It’s hard to think of this mega-popular reality series in its infancy, but such was the case when we watched Alex Michel work his way through the ladies of season one, eventually picking Amanda Marsh.

Alex Michel has all but vanished from public life, with Bachelor producers even unable to reach him as of 2020.

Trista Rehn (The Bachelorette, 2003)

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Trista Rehn, the runner-up from season 1, was picked as the first Bachelorette. Trista and her ultimate pick, Ryan Sutter, may have been one of the earliest examples of reality TV couple goals. Trista was also featured in the inaugural season of another major reality show, Dancing With The Stars.

Trista and Ryan are still happily married today and live in Colorado with their two children.

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Evan Marriott (Joe Millionaire, 2003)

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Evan Marriott was the first Joe Millionaire when he was 28, putting women to the test to see if they could fall for a heavy equipment operator before revealing he had plenty of cash. Critics of the show say Evan didn’t come across as a nice guy.

Evan learned from the experience and eventually apologized for his comments.

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“Truth is, I never really wanted to be on TV and because I didn’t understand the repercussions of how popular the show was going to be when it came time to handle the minimal celebrity that I had, I failed miserably,” he said in a letter obtained by The Huffington Post. 

“I reflect back to that interview I did with you in 2003 and think about what a douche I was. All I can say to you is I’m sorry.”

Adrianne Curry (America’s Top Model, 2003)

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Adrianne Curry became known as the winner of the very first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, but that wouldn’t be her last stint on reality TV during the decade. In 2015, she hosted Surreal Life, where she met Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady) and ended up marrying him, leading to their reality series, My Fair Brady, which concluded in 2008.

Adrianne bid farewell to public life in 2017, preferring secluded mountain life these days.

Bill Rancic (The Apprentice, 2004)

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Remember when The Apprentice sounded like a good idea? Well, it did and we watched people battle it out week after week for some priceless professional guidance. Bill Rancic won and it changed his life.

Today, Bill’s primary business partner is wife Giuliana Rancic, with whom he shares 9-year-old son Duke.

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Carmine Gotti Agnello (Growing Up Gotti, 2004)

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Before we had Jersey Shore, we had the Gottis showing us what tanned Italian life was all about. Carmine was just 18-years-old when the series aired.

Carmine has led a pretty quiet life, minus some legal troubles, and works in the family’s auto body shop.

Ryan Benson (The Biggest Loser, 2004)

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Ryan Benson lost an incredible 122 lbs. on The Biggest Loser, but he later revealed, as many other contestants did, that it wasn’t via the healthiest means. He gained the weight back, earning him a spot on spin-off Big, Fat Truth.

Ryan’s living a healthy lifestyle with his wife and three kids and keeping at the work every day.

Bridget Marquardt (The Girls Next Door, 2005)

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Bridget was one of Hef’s three girlfriends on The Girls Next Door, alongside Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson.

Today, Bridget still models and acts, and is also a paranormal investigator.

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Brooke Hogan (Brooke Knows Best, 2005)

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Brooke Hogan was just 17 and pursuing careers of pop stardom when we first met her on Hogan Knows Best.

Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander (Flavor of Love, 2006)

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Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander was the laid-back foil to a high-energy Tiffany “New York” Pollard on Flavor Of Love season 1. Though her love affair with Flav didn’t last, Alexander did go on to have a number of high-profile relationships that followed, reportedly linked to both T.I. and Shaq.

Nicole is focused on her career these days, acting in three new projects slated for release in 2022.

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Lauri Peterson (The Real Housewives Of Orange County, 2006)

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RHOC is the one that started it all, and Lauri Waring Peterson was one of the inaugural housewives. She was in the show’s first three seasons, then dropped off a few episodes into season 4.

Lauri left RHOC to focus on her family, particularly her son Josh’s struggle with drugs.

Kerry Harvick (Bad Girls Club, 2007)

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Kerry Harvick was one of the last ladies standing on season 1 of Bad Girls Club. During the season, Kerry was pursuing her dream of a country music career.

Kerry became a country singer, a wife, and a mom, and recently won HGTV’s Battle On The Beach.

George Weisgerber AKA Tailor Made (I Love New York, 2007)

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Tailor Made won New York’s heart on season 2 of I Love New York, which aired the same year as season 1.

George is an actor and social entrepreneur, according to his website.

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Farrah Abraham (16 & Pregnant, 2009)

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Farrah Abraham was from the original crop of 16 & Pregnant girls and drew fans in with her decision not to tell her ex, who would die during her pregnancy, about the baby after he threatened her.

Farrah is heading back to the 16 & Pregnant universe in 2021.

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Farrah stopped filming the show between 2012 and 2016, during which she explored other reality TV endeavors. She’s heading back to the Teen Mom scene in 2022 with Teen Mom: Family Reunion.

There were so many stand-out reality stars, there’s no way I didn’t miss a few. Which of your faves should we be catching up with?

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