The easiest way to become famous in 2018 is to appear in a reality dating competition. JoJo Fletcher has over two million followers on Instagram, while Lauren Bushnell and Becca Tilley have over one million followers each, and even Dolphin Girl Alexis Waters has over two-hundred thousand followers, raking in lucrative partnerships with brands like FitTea and FabFitFun.
With social media becoming providing us with more career options, dating shows like The Bachelor and its spin-offs, or even lesser-known competitions like Are You The One? or Love Island, are now referred to as career stepping stones. Because of this, contestants are usually there for all of the wrong reasons. Even in this new and changing landscape, not all reality television romances are doomed from the start.
For every three couples that are faking their love in pursuit of sponsorship deals and free tickets to an iHeartRadio Music Festival, there’s one pair who find a lasting, real partnership, even if it wasn’t what they were expecting. While some shows fair better than others (it turns out that one man dating twenty seven women is not, in fact, the smartest way to get him to commit), each has their own success story, which, ironically, in turn gives the couples even more Instagram followers and sponsorship deals, creating a win-win situation for both the show and the two contestants.
Here are the the 11 Most Real (And 10 Fakest) Reality TV Couples :
21 Fake: Jordan and Jenna (Bachelor In Paradise)
We really had high hopes for this one. Jordan Kimball, the airheaded-but-entertaining male model from Becca K.’s season of The Bachelorette fell hard for crazy eyed Jenna Cooper during the last season of Bachelor In Paradise. Kimball’s love for Cooper showed an endearing side of him that redeemed him after a weird and dramatic stint on The Bachelorette that involved shiny gold underwear and a feud with a guy who thought it was okay to wear a chicken suit on national television.
Kimball deserves love, but unfortunately, he did not find it with Cooper.
After filming wrapped, Reality Steve outed Cooper as unfaithful. It turns out that she was only using Kimball for fame, Instagram followers, and probably a SugarBear Hair Care sponsorship. Kimball has ended his engagement with Cooper over the allegations, which she denies despite the evidence.
20 Real: Gianna and Hayden (AYTO)
Gianna Hammer and Hayden Weaver haven’t been married, but Are You The One? season five’s strongest couple gave birth to their first child in August 2018, a son named August. The new parents announced their pregnancy on Valentine’s Day of this year, and regularly posted happy pregnancy updates on social media in the months leading to August’s birth.
The pair were a “no match” on the show, dating other people after their status was revealed in order to win the prize money. Weaver even found his confirmed match, Carolina Duarte, and moved into the honeymoon suite with her before realizing that Hammer was his real love before the reunion special. Duarte went on to date a previous AYTO contestant, Keith Klebacher, but their relationship didn’t prove to be as long-lasting as Gianna and Hayden’s love.
19 Fake: Colton and Tia (Bachelor Franchise)
Colton Underwood has no business being the Bachelor. Sure, he has millions of dollars from playing professional football, he helps sick children, and he looks like an extra from Friday Night Lights, but we all know that Underwood knocked Tia Booth under the bus in pursuit of reality TV’s highest honor.
Underwood and Booth’s relationship began before Becca K. was brutally dumped on national television, when we all thought Booth was our next Bachelorette. They supposedly only hung out for one weekend, even though Wade’s tweets make that timeline sketchy. Booth ended up obsessed with Wade, and told Becca about her feelings super late in the game after already giving the couple her blessing. Then she spent all of Paradise clinging to a guy who was clearly just using her to become a runner-up on the Bachelorette and get his own season in the franchise.
18 Real: Lauren and Jason (The Hills)
A lot of the drama on The Hills was fabricated by producers, from friendships between the series’ leads to drama-filled love stories like Brody Jenner’s relationship with Lauren Conrad. However, the producers didn’t have complete control over their stars’ lives, and legitimately sided with the rest of the world when audience members were disappointed in Conrad for not going to Paris for Teen Vogue, instead choosing to spend the summer with Jason Wahler.
Their very real relationship was so dramatic that producers encouraged Conrad to pursue other options because their storyline was too frustrating.
Wahler and Conrad are both currently married to other spouses, though their entire relationship wasn’t aired for the masses to see.
17 Fake: Ashley I. and Jared H. (Bachelor In Paradise)
Though it's an unpopular opinion, Ashley Iaconetti can do better than Jared Haibon. Iaconetti is a beautiful, successful person who spent years ridding herself of any dignity had in pursuit of a guy who clearly was not that into her. Haibon was only worn down after Iaconetti settled with someone else, and it’s a big coincidence that he finally decided to commit after she slept with someone for the first time.
The first time Haibon broke up with Iaconetti happened after he found out that she had never slept with anyone, and he then slept around until she became active. Haibon also proposed in Paradise, because Iaconetti probably appreciated being reminded of all the times he chose random other women over her, and the couple now has twice as many Instagram sponsorships, which has “ulterior motive” written all over it.
16 Real: Jade and Tanner (Bachelor In Paradise)
After finding love on Bachelor In Paradise season two, Jade and Tanner Tolbert got married in January 2016 on a televised broadcast. They’ve made over a million dollars on social media, had a baby girl in August 2017, and are currently trying for a second child.
The first Paradise couple to get married, Lacy Faddoul and Marcus Grodd, broke up after revealing that their on-camera marriage was fake and the two were never legally wed, making Jade and Tanner the first true Paradise success story. The franchise has used Jade and Tanner as an example that their formula can lead to lasting relationships, and the couple has appeared on subsequent episodes in the Bachelor franchise to give advice to current Bachelor couples.
15 Fake: Jax and Brittany (Vanderpump Rules)
Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright are the definition of unstable. Taylor has definitely been unfaithful to Cartwright, the couple has broken up multiple times, and whenever Cartwright has mentioned pregnancy or marriage on Vanderpump Rules, the audience can see Taylor’s life flash before his eyes.
The dysfunctional couple is now engaged, but their Instagram announcements focus on how fans should watch the upcoming season of Vanderpump Rules.
Cartwright and Taylor have also lied to the public about their relationship before. They pretended to be a couple when they were actually separated in summer 2017. There were even rumors that their reconciliation was orchestrated by producers, which seems viable considering the fact that their relationship makes less sense than the pasta fight.
14 Real: Sean and Catherine (The Bachelor)
Catherine Giudici and Sean Lowe have been married since 2014 and have two children together named Samuel and Isaiah. The couple has appeared on other reality shows, including Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars and Billion Dollar Buyer, and are trying for a third child, hopefully a daughter.
Their wedding attendees featured married couples from the Bachelorette, such as Ashley and J.P., Trista and Ryan, DeAnna and Stephen, and Desiree and Chris, showing that real Bachelor couples stick together, especially when your marriage is broadcast on live television. Giudici and Lowe were the first Bachelor franchise couple to tie the knot after seventeen seasons. Fans speculate that casting current Bachelor Colton Underwood is an attempt to recreate Lowe and Giudici’s success, as Lowe had been born-again since the age of 24.
13 Fake: Robby H. and Scheana (Bachelor Franchise and Vanderpump Rules)
Nothing has screamed “publicity stunt” more than Robby Hayes and Scheana Marie’s rumored relationship. Maybe Vanderpump Rules’ Marie will blame her flirty behavior on substances, which is what she did when she tried to justify her obsession with ex-husband Rob Valletta, but holding hands on vacation in Oahu is a pretty clear indicator of being more than friends, despite her insistence that nothing is going on between her and Bachelorette-alum Hayes.
The two are still friendly and have been seen together without sparking any other rumors. The most logical theory behind these rumors is that Hayes and Marie’s publicists staged their relationship to buoy their statuses after high-profile breakups – Marie’s with Valletta and Hayes’ with Bachelor in Paradise costar Amanda Stanton.
12 Real: Evan and Carly (Bachelor In Paradise)
Jade and Tanner may have been the first successful Paradise marriage, but they weren’t the last. Carly Waddell and Evan Bass were married after a rocky start on the third season of Paradise, where Waddell claimed that their first kiss was horrible and that the specialist was giving her ED.
The couple still managed to fall in love during the eighteen days they were in Paradise, making them the second Paradise success story.
It has been a year since the couple’s televised wedding, and since then, the couple has given birth to a baby girl. Waddell and Bass have stayed relevant in Bachelor Nation through Bass’ hilarious live-tweeting, Waddell’s podcast with Jade Tolbert, and their occasional Bachelor-related articles for Bustle.
11 Fake: Matt and Alla (90 Day Fiancé)
Coming from a show which has its entire premise based on proving that a relationship isn’t fake, there are understandably many couples from 90 Day Fiancé that fall under the umbrella of reasonable suspicion. The fakest of the fake, however, is clearly the marriage between Matt and Alla Ryan from season two.
Alla essentially admitted that her motives for coming to America were more about wanting to leave the Ukraine than her love for Matt, and Matt’s brother threatened to object to the wedding during the show. Alla has also said that she doesn’t love Matt, which might be a minor red flag. The couple is still together, but that might be more indicative of Matt’s desire to not go through a fourth divorce than their everlasting bond. We’ll see how real their marriage looka after Alla’s two-year green card becomes permanent.
10 Real: Amber and Ethan (AYTO)
Are You The One? may have a sensationalist premise, but someones it works. For example, Amber and Ethan Diamond have been married since 2014. The couple were each other’s “perfect match” on the show’s first season, showing that their scientific methods can lead to lasting love.
After the show, the pair got engaged on the reunion special, were married in a private ceremony, and had two daughters, Scarlett and Serena. They even renewed their vows in 2017 to celebrate their love for a larger audience. The fan-favorite couple was the first Are You The One? success story, and is a prime example of televised love stories leading to lasting happiness. It is also the only couple from AYTO that got married during the show’s seven seasons.
9 Fake: Younes and Kourtney (KUWTK)
Younes Bendjima and Kourtney Kardashian obviously had a rebound relationship. Kardashian was rebounding from her dramatic marriage to Scott Disick. The two finally broke up in August after Bendjima left shaming comments on her Instagram and acted out, which is ironic considering the fact that Kardashian left her 25-year-old boyfriend for a 20-year-old. Instagram is the most accurate lie detector in the celebrity sphere, because likes and followers don’t lie.
Even though there was probably some truth to the Bendjima-Kardashian relationship, none of Kardashian’s sisters followed Bendjima on Instagram, which probably meant that it couldn’t have been that serious.
Bendjima was also seen with another woman in Mexico before the breakup was officially announced, so there’s evidence that this relationship was just a ploy to knock Disick down a few pegs.
8 Real: Raven and Adam (Bachelor in Paradise)
One of the more recent Paradise couples, Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk, hasn't been married yet. Instead, the two wanted to enjoy being young and in love before having a family. The pair shared an Instagram update that ensured fans that marriage and kids were part of their plan and the couple moved in together in February of this year, with Gates relocating from Memphis to Gottschalk’s home in Dallas.
During Paradise, Gottschalk was in a love triangle with Gates and Sarah Vendal, who he had spent time with before Paradise filmed. Judging by Sarah’s Instagram, the girls’ friendship didn’t survive Gottschalk choosing to be with Gates, but it seems like the happy couple is in it for the long haul.
7 Fake: Shannon and Tyler (Are You The One?)
Are You The One? on MTV has the best premise of any reality dating show in the history of television. “Science” finds ten couples that are supposedly “perfect matches,” ships them off to some random exotic getaway, and then tells them that if they figure out who their soulmate is, they can have a million dollars. It’s so emotionally manipulative that we don’t know if we should call it hilarious or cruel, but it’s very entertaining.
Tyler Colon and Shannon Duffy were not perfect matches, but they stayed together during their season despite tons of infidelity. Unsurprisingly, Colon was unfaithful to Duffy again after the show, and Duffy ended their relationship. This would just seem like a dysfunctional couple if it wasn’t for Colon’s claims on Twitter that their relationship was fake and they were using each other for screen-time.
6 Real: Scott and Kourtney (KUWTK)
Scott Disick has messed up - a lot. He’s had issues with sobriety and he introduced his 20-year-old girlfriend to his children, among other things. It was right for Kardashian to break it off with Dipstick and reject his offers of marriage, but no KUWTK viewer could ever accuse their relationship of being anything less than real.
The former couple dated for almost a decade before permanently separating at the end of 2015. They also have three children together.
They’re currently on good terms with no intentions of reconciling, although Disick has suggested on the show that he still loves Kourtney and is acting out because he’s upset that she dumped him. It may not be healthy, but it’s definitely real.
5 Fake: Garrett and Becca K. (The Bachelorette)
Becca Kufrin has been through a lot. After her fiancé was unfaithful to her essentially a month after proposing, then he decided to film a real-time footage of him dumping her for After the Final Rose when she thought that they were having a romantic couples weekend.
Kufrin needed a win, and though Jason or Blake could have been that win, instead she chose Garrett Yrigoyen, whose Twitter history includes him mocking immigrants, making transphobic comments, and accusing the Parkland activists of being paid trauma actors. Kufrin, unfortunately, did fall for Yrigoyen during her season of the Bachelorette, but a relationship based on a glaring lie of omission like Yrigoyen’s beliefs is as fake as they come.
4 Real: Dani and Jack (Love Island)
Love Island kind of snuck up on all of us. After already spending over sixty hours this year watching the Bachelor franchise, we didn’t need another reality dating show to take over our lives. The British show became a sleeper hit in the United States this year.
The show is a mash-up of elements from Big Brother and Bachelor In Paradise. Contestants are sequestered on an island where they couple up in pursuit of a cash prize and switch couples for fan votes until one couple wins the series. On a show revolving around fan-favorites, Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham are the most popular. The two moved in together in August of this year and prepping to marry in 2019.
3 Fake: Lauren and Brody (The Hills)
One of the best parts of re-watching The Hills is the transparency that its producers and stars have shown in interviews following the show’s finale.
Throughout the series, rumors of scripting and fabrication ran wild but were never confirmed, deepening the public’s obsession with the reality show.
Whitney and Audrina were both recruited to be on the show, and their important fights were rehashed in pursuit of better lighting and we all learned that we were being manipulated just as much as the show’s stars. The most surprisingly fake element of the show was that Brody Jenner and Lauren Conrad never dated. The Girl Who Didn’t Go To Paris (and then eventually went to Paris) did actually date Jason Wahler, but her rebound was just for the cameras.
2 Real: Chris and Krystal (Bachelor In Paradise)
Chris Randone and Krystal Nielson, two not-evil-but-definitely-annoying Bachelor villains, are getting married. As the most recent couple on this list, Randone and Nielson met during Bachelor In Paradise season five and became one of the strongest couples in a weak season. While the other contestants were busy being unfaithful and rapidly changing their minds from week to week, Randone and Nielson remained solid (for the most part) after coming together and seemed legitimately smitten.
They’ve moved in together, with Randone relocating from Florida to California, and they may be the first long-lasting Paradise success story since Carly and Evan. After season four and five didn’t produce any lasting relationships, the hopes of Bachelor Nation lie in a grown man who calls himself “The Goose” and a woman who fakes her vocal fry.
1 Real: Spencer and Heidi (The Hills)
This is another couple that The Hills’ producers just couldn’t make up. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag are as infamous as the show is famous. They'd had more than a few scandals, including Montag’s excessive plastic surgery, their betrayal of Lauren Conrad during the original series, and spending a million dollars on crystals.
Although the couple is known for fame-seeking, the two have a child together. There is also rumor of a second child on the way. Overall, Pratt and Montag have a loving, supportive marriage. They seem legitimately insane, but their insanity complements the other and their nine-year marriage has proven to be more than just a publicity stunt. The happy couple is set to return to our television screens in the upcoming The Hills reboot, which we’re sure they’re thrilled about.
Can you think of any other obviously fake or real reality TV couples? Let us know in the comments!