Since 2014, audiences have tuned in to see Todd and Julie Chrisley of Chrisley Knows Best live out their lives on reality TV. The millionaire real estate developer and former beauty pageant queen live what appears to be a perfect Southern lifestyle, with beautiful homes, gorgeous kids, and plenty of luxury touches. Todd is known as a loving but controlling patriarch and his family's attempts to deal with his over-the-top antics amuse TV audiences every week.
But not everything is perfect in Chrisley-land. What kind of drama lurks just under th surface of the made-for-TV perfection? Read on to find out 10 awkward things about Todd and Julie Chrisley's relationship:
1. This isn't Todd's first marriage.
Todd married first wife Teresa Terry in 1990 when she was 19 and he was 21. She later said she never would have married him if she hadn't been pregnant at the time. That marriage resulted in two of Todd's children, Lindsie and Kyle. The couple later split under accusations of violence. Terry filed a “prevention of family violence” order against Todd in 1994. She claimed that at one point in their marriage “wielded a knife threatening to kill her” and “tore all of her clothes, including her undergarments from her body and battered her using his closed fist.”
2. It's Julie's second marriage too.
Julie married her high school sweetheart in 1991 when she was just 18 years old. She split from first hubby Kenneth Wayne Childress before marrying Todd in 1996.
3. Or did she split first?
In 2017, Julie's ex-in-laws reported that the split between their son and his one-time sweetheart wasn't amicable. Allegedly, Kenneth found a note to Julie with a phone number belonging to Todd Chrisley. The in-laws say the note led to a fight and the relationship between Julie and Todd is what led to the divorce between Julie and their son.
4. Not so blended
Todd's kids from his first marriage can feel left out of the picture-perfect family that their dad has created with Julie. This weekend, Julie posted a Father's day message to Todd but only mentioned the three kids they have together, not the older two, despite Julie having legally adopted them.
A post shared by Julie Chrisley (@juliechrisley) on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:16am PDT
It's not just an Insta-oversight that Julie doesn't talk about the older kids. Todd and his son Kyle have had a rocky relationship over the past few years with periods of outright estrangement. Kyle has very few nice things to say about his dad saying, "Todd [is] toxic and a snake who has “ruined me and he’s ruined the other three kids he’s had who are spoiled.” Todd excuses it by saying Kyle has bipolar disorder and has a history of drug abuse. Meanwhile, Todd and Julie have custody of Kyle's 6-year-old daughter.
6. Lindsie quits
Daughter Lindsie's relationship with her dad and stepmom hasn't been smooth sailing either. In 2016, she quit the show after her father used her divorce as a prominent storyline. A source close to the family told Radar Online, “Todd used Lindsie’s heartache for a storyline, and he did not care either way how she felt about it. He did what he wanted to do, and in the end it ruined his relationship with his daughter.” Todd defended his meddling in his daughter's marriage by saying, “I had a problem with the way the marriage started. Not just on Will’s side but on my daughter’s side as well.”
A post shared by L i n d s i e C h r i s l e y (@lindsiechrisley) on May 14, 2018 at 1:01pm PDT
7. Chrisley knows best for Savannah
20-year-old daughter Savannah has a hard time getting out from under her parents' thumb as well. She has had a series of break-ups and some insiders blame Todd for his daughter's heartbreaks. “Todd is way too much for her men and he scares them away before they even meet him most of the time."
A post shared by Savannah Faith Chrisley (@savannahchrisley) on Jun 12, 2018 at 7:56pm PDT
8. Mind your own marriage
All this getting involved in his kids' love lives may be taking a toll on his own relationship. Rumor has it that Todd and Julie aren't the loving couple they appear to be on screen. A show insider says, “It is hard for anyone who works with Todd or Julie to believe that their marriage is authentic. It’s made for TV. They do not display the same level of affection and love towards each other off-camera as they do when they are filming.”
A post shared by Todd Chrisley (@toddchrisley) on Jun 18, 2018 at 2:18pm PDT
9. Big spender
The Chrisleys like to flaunt their lavish lifestyle on tv but they haven't always been so flush. The couple who boasts of spending $300,000 per year on clothes filed for bankruptcy in 2012. At the time of the filing, his debts totaled nearly $50 million. Son Kyle says the spending is what it takes to keep Julie in the marriage, though, saying "If the money wasn’t there, she would have been gone a long time ago."
A post shared by Todd Chrisley (@toddchrisley) on Jun 16, 2018 at 11:59am PDT
10. In the closet?
Son Kyle made the most shocking allegation against his dad in 2014, saying Todd is actually gay. In 2014, Kyle said "“All the people he calls his best friends in the world…they’re gay. I used to work with him at Chrisley Asset Management. If one of the asset managers was going to take a piss, he would say, ‘You want me to come hold it for you?’”
Moreover, a former employee sued Todd for harassment. The male employee alleged that Todd "commented on the size of his penis, invited male employees to ‘jerk off’ with him in the restroom, inappropriately touched employees, and routinely made sexual gestures toward his subordinates.”
If Chrisley does know best, it's clearly due to trial and error. He's made plenty of mistake with his wife and kids but maybe that's taught hm the lessons he really needs to learn.
Rebekah Kuschmider is a DC area writer with a background in non-profit management and advocacy Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and is a contributor the book Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox . She is a cohost of the weekly political podcast The More Perfect Union.