Bikie ex-wife, drug addicts, cults: Real lives of TV stars

 

More often than not it's the stories behind the public personas of reality TV stars that draws viewers in.

From growing up in a cult to drug addiction, bikie links and being homeless, these are some of the most memorable back stories from reality TV stars before they were famous.

 

Stacey Hampton

Married At First Sight

Blond bombshell Stacey Hampton was previously married to Rebels bikie boss Shane Michael Smith before giving love another crack on reality television this year.

Hampton has two kids - Kruz and Kosta - with her ex and the pair co-parent.

Based in Adelaide, Smith was convicted of bashing two nightclub bouncers in 2017.

 

 

Stacey Hampton from Married at First Sight has two children with a Rebels bikie boss.
Stacey Hampton from Married at First Sight has two children with a Rebels bikie boss.

 

"He's honestly the greatest person and I think he's ashamed of his past," Hampton told WHO magazine of the father of her children. "I met him when I was really young, 19, through mutual friends and I wasn't aware of his lifestyle but I fell for him so quickly. At the time, I didn't realise he actually had charges from ages ago that had come up - assault charges."

 

Keira Maguire

Bachelor, Bachelor In Paradise, I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

Bachelor bad girl Keira Maguire is expected to make her second appearance on Bachelor In Paradise this year.

Maguire dated Bachelorette alumni Jarrod Woodgate after they appeared on the show in 2018.

Before fame, though, she had a more than interesting upbringing.

Serial reality TV star and occasional villain Keira Maguire. Picture: Richard Dobson
Serial reality TV star and occasional villain Keira Maguire. Picture: Richard Dobson

Born in 1986, Maguire's late father, Alistah Laishkochav, had nine wives and 64 children. At the age of five, Maguires mother, Michelle, moved away from the polygamous situation.

"I don't know if you know my story, but my mum was in a cult," Maguire explained on I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

"My dad was the leader of it. There was like 63 children. I didn't know who my real mum was until I was like, six. I didn't even know what a mum was. I just knew that I wasn't normal and I really didn't like that."

 

Jock Zonfrillo

MasterChef

MasterChef pin-up judge Jock Zonfrillo hasn't always been on the straight and narrow. Growing up in the UK, the then 17-year-old has admitted to using heroin and being homeless, crediting celebrity chef Marco Pierre White for giving him a job and helping him get back on track.

"Back in those days, if you had any kind of drug addition or anything like that, you were cast off," Zonfrillo said recently.

Jock Zonfrillo pictured with Katy Perry on the set of MasterChef.
Jock Zonfrillo pictured with Katy Perry on the set of MasterChef.

 

"Marco was aware of my situation and the battles that I had personally, but he had the ability to put that to the side and take you at face value as a chef and I couldn't be more thankful for that."

He added: "I'm not proud of it at all. It's embarrassing and it's embarrassing for my parents. But I'm thankful to have been able to come through the other side of that and I'm thankful for all the people who helped me at the right moments."

 

Suzi Taylor

The Block

There is no doubt Suzi Taylor was the most memorable contestant on the 2015 season of The Block. In fact, she may be the most memorable Block contestant ever.

Her time on the reality renovation show was marred by a nude photo scandal after images emerged of her posing on top of a boat in Melbourne's Docklands.

 

 

 

Block contestants Vonni Cosier and Suzi Taylor.
Block contestants Vonni Cosier and Suzi Taylor.

 

The former Penthouse cover model was then found unconscious on set four days later during the open for inspections and taken to hospital suffering a severe anxiety attack.

"If I've caused anyone any embarrassment, I totally regret it," Taylor said on The Block at the time.

"I've had a lot of personal issues in my life which I suppose a lot of people do … I'm on the road to recovery and thank you so much for supporting me."

 

 

Kyle Sandilands

Celebrity Big Brother

Producers were pretty liberal with the title 'Celebrity' when Channel 10 launched Celebrity Big Brother back in 2002.

Kyle Sandilands was a star on the rise as a radio' personality but most definitely didn't have a national profile.

Contestants (from left) Sara-Marie Fedele, Imogen Bailey, Kyle Sandilands (back row), Vanessa Wagner, Anthony Mundine (back row right), Kimberley Cooper, Dylan Lewis, Adriana Xenides, on the Celebrity Big Brother set 2002.
Contestants (from left) Sara-Marie Fedele, Imogen Bailey, Kyle Sandilands (back row), Vanessa Wagner, Anthony Mundine (back row right), Kimberley Cooper, Dylan Lewis, Adriana Xenides, on the Celebrity Big Brother set 2002.

Big Brother launched the loud-mouthed FM shock jock on to a bigger stage as at the time, TV shows rated much higher than they do now.

Viewers learnt all about Sandilands, including his troubled upbringing and how he had found himself homeless at the age of 15.

 

Kyle Sandilands in 2001 before he was a household name.
Kyle Sandilands in 2001 before he was a household name.

"I remember the first night I slept on the street … I was only homeless for a year in Brisbane … I couldn't get living-out-of-home allowance because back then, I needed a letter from my parents," he said in a 2018 speech at the Sleep Under The Stars charity event.

"I had a push bike … I would ride around until I found somewhere safe … behind a shopping centre, in a drain, wherever I felt safe. I was terrified. I was quite scared a lot."

 

Hayley Vernon

Married At First Sight

An eight-year drug addiction drove Hayley Vernon's storyline on Married At First Sight this year as producers milked her trauma for maximum screen time.

Vernon was forced to undertake a drug test to appear on the show but admitted to relapsing before production began.

Hayley Vernon on Married at First Sight 2020. Picture: Channel 9
Hayley Vernon on Married at First Sight 2020. Picture: Channel 9

 

"My teenage years were probably a little bit rougher than most … I was abusing several substances," she said on the Channel 9 show.

"This was all I knew for about for about eight or nine years, it's actually the worst thing in the world, it's crippling."

 

Tim and Dannii

LEGO Masters

School sweethearts Tim and Dannii met at the age of 12 and have been best friends and partners ever since.

Parents to two daughters, it has been a tough few years health-wise for Tim.

Tim and Dannii Jones have had a tough ride before Lego Masters
Tim and Dannii Jones have had a tough ride before Lego Masters

In 2014, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour that covered 95 per cent of his pituitary gland and is now legally blind in one eye.

A six week stint in hospital, where he had six surgeries and two spinal taps, followed by six months of recovery, gave Tim plenty of time to hone his LEGO skills.

 

Chad Hurst

Big Brother

The 2020 incarnation of Big Brother hasn't even started and already interesting back stories are being dredged up.

Most intriguing is that of model, influencer and tradie Chad Hurst, labelled the world's sexiest housemate. Images, some close to pornographic, have emerged of Hurst which were shot for Beautiful magazine seven years ago.

Chad Hurst’s nude modelling shots taken seven years ago.
Chad Hurst’s nude modelling shots taken seven years ago.

 

"We can guarantee there is something for everyone and are hopeful for a broad audience," a spokesman for production company Endemol Shine said more broadly of the cast with the show to launch next week. "Our diverse cast is reflective of Australian society."

 

Megan Marx

Bachelor 2016

Bachelor babe Megan Marx also grew up in a cult, or a "sheltered environment" as she has called it, where alcohol, bikinis and nightclubs were prohibited.

She was married at 18 and divorced at 22 before going on the Bachelor five years later. Education, she has explained, was not important in the cult, where life was about "pleasing your husband".

 

Megan Marx was married and divorced inside a religious community before she was 22.
Megan Marx was married and divorced inside a religious community before she was 22.

 

"Life inside was different to most people's upbringing," she has said. "I didn't watch TV or movies, and when I turned 18 it wasn't like 'Yeah, let's go to a nightclub', I got married instead. I couldn't go on holidays for more than a week, because you had to be at church every Sunday."

 

Andy Silva

Big Brother

Back when it was family friendly and innocently new on the scene, Andy Silva pushed boundaries on the first season of Big Brother in 2001.

Lasting two weeks in the house alongside the likes of bum-dancing Sara-Marie Fedele and Blair McDonough, who went on to star in Neighbours, Silva has continued in her dominatrix career for the past 19 years.

 

 

Kink coach Andy Silva pictured in 2002.
Kink coach Andy Silva pictured in 2002.

 

Latest reports on Silva say she goes by the professional name of Mistress Kalyss Mercury as a 'BDSM expert' and 'kink coach' offering a variety of paid-for services including domination, genital torture and watersports.

 

 

Blake Garvey

Bachelor

The second season of The Bachelor didn't quite go to plan after 'love rat' Blake Garvey proposed to Sam Frost in the finale, only to dump her two weeks later for another contestant.

But it was his life pre-reality TV that had Confidential chortling.

First, it was revealed Garvey had led a double life of sorts pre show with photographs emerging of his past as a topless waiter and male stripper.

Bachelor Blake Garvey during his topless waiter days.
Bachelor Blake Garvey during his topless waiter days.

"A high school friend had someone pull out at the last minute for her hens' night and needed a fill in. She begged me," he said in 2014. "I gave it a whirl, it was pretty funny. We've all had adventurous pasts."

But it was his peculiar love of children's dolls that piqued Confidential's interest. That's right, not only did Garvey - then a 31-year-old working in real estate - confirm he had a collection of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, but he also posed with his toys for a magazine article.

 

 

Originally published as Bikie ex-wife, drug addicts, cults: Real lives of reality TV stars

Suzi Taylor as she appeared on the cover of Penthouse in 1991.
Suzi Taylor as she appeared on the cover of Penthouse in 1991.
Big Brother contestant Chad Hurst is already intriguing audiences.
Big Brother contestant Chad Hurst is already intriguing audiences.
Silva (rear) as a contestant on Big Brother with Sara-Marie and Todd.
Silva (rear) as a contestant on Big Brother with Sara-Marie and Todd.
Blake Garvey and Sam Frost during the finale before Garvey dumped her.
Blake Garvey and Sam Frost during the finale before Garvey dumped her.


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