In this day and age, many see the Amish lifestyle as unconventional. It calls for those who practice the faith to dress in plain clothing and refuse to adopt basic technologies — basically dressing and living as one would during the 1700s, right down to using horse drawn buggies to get around.
The Amish lifestyle may seem a bit odd in 2017, but it is definitely interesting. It is so fascinating, in fact, that TLC gave the greenlight to a reality television series centered around the Amish called Breaking Amish. The key word here is “reality”– despite the genre, the so-called reality TV series may not be as reality-based as audiences may think.
When Breaking Amish first premiered in 2012, the show focused on four Amish individuals and one Mennonite who all decided to break free from their traditional Amish and Mennonite lifestyles in favor of a more relaxed New York City life.
The “reality” show captivated audiences across the globe and managed to accumulate over 3 million viewers in its first season. The surprise success of the series helped it garner six seasons and counting.
It doesn’t seem like anything is slowing down the success of the show any time soon– except, perhaps, the integrity of the show itself. Not long after the show first aired, several news outlets reported that the supposed reality show may be a little more disingenuous than viewers were led to believe. We are here today to explore some of these, which call into question just how real Breaking Amish truly is.
Here are the 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About Breaking Amish.
15. Chapel Peace Schmucker Lied About Her Cancer
A major storyline from one of Breaking Amish’s more recent seasons was that Chapel Peace Schmucker’s cancer was back. We later found out in the episodes that, after a successful operation, Chapel’s cancer was in remission.
At least, this is what was explained on the show. If we are to believe former cast member Kate, Chapel’s cancer was never back to begin with. In 2016, Kate ranted on Twitter about how much she hated participating in the show, admitted that she only returned because her contract forced her to, and going on to call the show out on its phoniness.
One thing in particular that Kate brought up was Chapel’s cancer. Kate claimed that Chapel was faking the return of her cancer for the sake of the show. Kate admitted that she believed Chapel at first, but soon found out that it was all a ruse for the sake of the series. She went on to explain that Chapel was not doing chemotherapy during the show and had everyone in the cast fooled.
14. Rebecca and Abe Knew Each Other Before the Show
When Breaking Amish first hit the airwaves, Rebecca and Abe claimed that they didn’t know each other at all before getting together, despite living in the same community for so long.
However, several pictures hit the internet of the two together that were taken long before the show was ever even pitched. One picture in particular that caught the public’s attention was a picture of the two with a baby, leading many to speculate that the two had a child together.
A mutual friend named Shannon Edwards went on to tell The National Enquirer that Abe and Rebecca not only lived together as a couple in a camper behind Edward’s home in 2010, but that the two had also left the Amish community long before appearing on the show.
When it came time for the first season’s reunion episode, Abe and Rebecca addressed the rumors by claiming that they were just friends before the show and didn’t even mention their daughter, Kayla. Then, in 2014, Rebecca posted a paternity test revealing that Abe is, in fact, Kayla’s father.
13. Cast Used Modern Tech Before the Show
A big part of the Amish lifestyle is to disregard all modern technologies in favor of old school traditions. This means no phones, no computers, and instead of getting around with cars, the Amish use horse ridden carriages to travel around the town.
This would explain why the cast of Breaking Amish acted so unfamiliar with technology and foreign devices when they hit the New York scene, struggling to learn how to use them.
However, it was later discovered that this feigned confusion was all an act for the show. For example, someone who knew Jeremiah personally (choosing to blog his confession under the alias X Amish Athiest) revealed that, although one episode featured Jeremiah getting driving lessons, Jeremiah has actually driven previously on more than one occasion.
12. Kate’s Arrest
Kate took the center stage when it was revealed that she was a model. Kate let her modeling aspirations be known in the first episode, but also claimed that she didn’t have any photos online nor had posed for anybody.
However, it was quickly revealed that Kate actually did work as a model before the show began, infamously participating in a Best Smile Contest for Explore Talent back in 2010.
She was forced to explain herself during season 1’s reunion show, where she said that she did it at the suggestion of her boss at a bed and breakfast.
As if this wasn’t shocking enough, another picture that hit the internet was a mugshot of Kate, which was taken when she got arrested shortly before the first episode premiered. Kate had been nabbed for a DUI in Florida shortly before Breaking Amish went into production. Much unlike her contest photo, Kate had nothing to smile about in her mugshot.
11. Jeremiah’s History of Domestic Abuse
Jeremiah is perhaps the most controversial member of the Breaking Amish cast. In fact, the bulk of Breaking Amish’s controversies revolve around Jeremiah, who has remained in the spotlight through it all.
The biggest controversy that Jeremiah has been involved in revolves around his history with domestic abuse. Naomi Stutzman, who was married to Jeremiah for six years and is the mother of his two children, spilled plenty of beans about Jeremiah’s past a few years ago.
While the exact circumstances behind the reason why Naomi and Jeremiah separated from each other remains unknown, as Naomi never explicitly confirmed any of them to the public, she has had him arrested before on domestic abuse charges and had to live in a domestic abuse safe house to get away from him.
10. Sabrina’s Marriage Before the Show
One thing that has never been mentioned on the show is that Sabrina has been married. Sabrina is the only member of the cast who is a Mennonite. Mennonites are notoriously less strict than the Amish.
A friend of Sabrina’s named Keith Nolt outed her after he tweeted a picture of Sabrina’s wedding, which did not look like a Mennonite wedding. In fact, it looked like a typical, traditional wedding.
Not only this, but public records were dug up, revealing that Sabrina had a few Twitter accounts before deleting them (again, emphasizing the cast’s previous usage of modern tech), and that she had married a man named Delmar R. Burkholder on July 25, 2009.
In light of the rumors, Sabrina had to address that she actually was married during the season 1 reunion episode. However, Sabrina did claim that she had a Mennonite ceremony at the wedding, since there was no dancing or alcohol. Her and Burkholder have since been divorced.
9. Sabrina’s Drug Charges
The idea that Sabrina had been married before appearing on Breaking Amish was pushed to the background when fans learned about the other things that the cast member had been up to.
Since moving to New York City for the sake of the show, Sabrina has fallen into numerous unfortunate incidents– one in particular being drug addiction.
Sabrina was in an abusive relationship and, for a brief amount of time, found herself homeless. During this period she became addicted to heroine, and eventually lost custody of her child in 2015 due to this addiction.
After getting the help that she needed, she got divorced and regained custody of her child in 2016. It appeared as though things were looking up for Sabrina. She became pregnant with her now ex-boyfriend Harry Kreiser, and had her second child last year.
Unfortunately, Sabrina was arrested on April 28th, 2017 on accounts of driving while under the influence of drug substances and for being in possession of drug substances. Additionally, she lost custody of her child again last August after her friend had a heart attack and died while the child was in the backseat.
8. Abe’s Arrest
Kate was not the only member of the cast to get arrested. Shortly after the television show premiered on the TLC network, Abe’s mugshot hit the internet. Thanks to the controversy that the photo had spurred upon circulation, Abe had no choice but to explain himself during the show’s reunion episode.
He explained that, when turned 18 years old in 2008, he went out drinking with some friends. Later that night on the way home they all got pulled over by a cop car. Upon smelling alcohol, the cop asked everybody in the vehicle to pull out their IDs.
Since Abe did not have one, he was arrested on the spot for underaged drinking. He spent eight hours of that night in a drunk tank. However, Abe’s parents had never known about the incident, and only discovered what really happened when the news became popular and began circulating online.
7. Cast May Not Have Been “Shunned” After All
A big part of Breaking Amish’s premise focuses on the fact that the cast members, who are leaving their Amish community for New York City, are leaving because they were shunned from their community.
Apparently, not everybody among the cast has been shunned, and TLC may only want us to think this for the sake of dramatic effect. It’s actually common for young people to temporarily leave the community and come back later.
Jeremiah’s ex-wife Naomi Stutzman told CBS 21 that her ex-husband was actually “spoiled rotten” and was given two cars when he first left the Amish lifestyle. Kate was welcomed home with open arms in the wake of her DUI arrest, and Naomi Stutzman was never shunned from the Amish community even after she chose to leave the church.
6. Jeremiah’s 2017 Domestic Abuse Case
To reiterate on Jeremiah’s history with domestic abuse, his most recent case occurred this year and involved his wife Carmela. It is the reason why the two contemplated divorcing.
The couple got married back in 2016 and first appeared to be an average, happy couple, though this is not to say that the two didn’t have the occasional struggle here and there. However, as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, their relationship took a much darker turn.
Most recently, Carmela revealed that Jeremiah “strikes her on a regular basis… with a closed fist” and “made several threats to cause [her] harm.” When she finally had him arrested, police found several bruises on her legs and arms.
Despite this, the couple announced in June that they will try to work on their relationship. For now, they are still together but are living separately.
5. Andrew Lying For the Cameras
Though many fans see Andrew as the innocent one of this rowdy bunch, this has been proven false. Despite being one of the only Amish individuals who has claimed that he never used technology, Andrew has a deleted (though partially recovered) Facebook page with the last post dating back to 2011– a whole year before Breaking Amish hit the air.
Some fans have speculated that TLC told Andrew (and other cast members) to get rid of their social media profiles to keep up the illusion that no one among the cast had ever seen or used technology before.
Then again, this is a minor offense compared to Andrew’s multiple arrests– he was last arrested in 2014 and sentenced to seven months in a state institution, seven months in a Drug/Alcohol program, and seven months in a halfway house.
4. Sabrina and Jeremiah Had “Stupid” Sex During Filming
Most of the entries on the list so far have focused on the crazy antics that cast members of Breaking Amish before or after the show aired. There are not many instances that happened during filming, but one of these small instances was a bombshell.
This big bombshell was dropped by Jeremiah himself, who claimed that he and Sabrina actually had sex during filming while they were away from the set. It all started when a cast member revealed that the two had sex in a hotel lobby’s bathroom.
Sabrina was quick to deny this, but Jeremiah was quicker to confirm that they “did it and enjoyed it.” Sabrina then came forward and reiterated her claim, stating that they were drunk before getting in bed together. Additionally, while they were at it, Sabrina asked Jeremiah to stop, realizing that what they were doing was “stupid.”
3. Jeremiah Broke Amish at 18, Long Before Show
As we previously mentioned, Jeremiah’s ex-wife Naomi Stutzman revealed that Jeremiah is not quite the man that he claims to be on the show. Breaking Amish likes to drive home the point that Jeremiah was in the process of leaving the Amish community for the first time when the show first aired, but Naomi revealed that this was completely false.
She told reports that Jeremiah first left the Amish community when he was 18 years old. (For the record, Jeremiah was well into his 30s when the show premiered.)
In light of what his ex-wife revealed, Jeremiah went on the Breaking Amish reunion episode and vaguely stated that he had left the Amish community and lifestyle multiple times and would return on and off, which is actually more common than one would think.
2. Chapel Peace Schmucker Arrested on Drug Charges
As if faking her cancer was not bad enough, Chapel Peace Schmucker has also been arrested on multiple occasions on drug charges. First, in 2015, Chapel was arrested on accounts of possessing heroin and Valium and was sentenced to two years probation.
Most recently, in 2016, Chapel and her sister were arrested for trying to provide drug free urine samples to a probation officer. The samples were not for either Chapel or her sister, but were instead for someone else who they tried to help out.
Both Chapel and her sister remain drug free, and as of 2017, Chapel is now out of prison. She now voluntarily attends AA meetings in order to stay sober and battle her addiction.
1. Jeremiah’s Ex-wife was Offered Hush Money from TLC
Jeremiah’s ex-wife has said a lot of negative things about the show and its cast members, which is one of the major reasons why people continue to question the integrity of the show.
The only thing more shocking than the blatant lying on the show is that Naomi Stutzman was offered money by TLC. She revealed that, when it became publicly known that she would go to news outlets over what she knew about the cast, she was contacted by TLC to keep her mouth shut.
TLC offered her money and “whatever she wanted” as long as she agreed not to go through with her interviews. Naomi ignored the emails and calls she received from TLC and went forward anyway. In light of the news, TLC denied Naomi’s claims, but this isn’t exactly something that a television network would be quick to admit.
Can you think of any other scandalous secrets about the cast of Breaking Amish? Let us know in the comments.
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