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8 Reality Stars Who've Gone to Prison

Real Housewives star Jen Shah was just sentenced to six-and-a-half years.

It's a fair question to ask why someone in the process of committing crimes would willingly appear on a reality TV show, but history has shown that happens more than you would think. On Friday, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in July 2022, as reported by NBC News. The third season of RHOSLC is current airing and has featured Shah repeatedly asserting her innocence.

She is far from the first or the only reality star to be sentenced to prison time. Read on to find out about seven others and for more on Shah's case.

READ THIS NEXT: Tom Bergeron Just Revealed Why He Was Fired From Dancing With the Stars.

Jen Shah

Jen Shah on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City"

During a court appearance on Jan. 6, Shah was sentenced to 78 months—or six-and-a-half-years—in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, NBC News reports. Her guilty plea of conspiracy to commit wire fraud was related to the 49-year-old allegedly running a telemarketing scheme that targeted and defrauded the elderly.

Shah's arrest was shown on Season 2 of RHOSLC, while one Season 3 storyline has been the aftermath and Shah maintaining her innocence. In the Season 3 finale, which will air Jan. 11, she will be in New York City where she entered her guilty plea.

Teresa and Joe Giudice

Teresa and Joe Giudice at t Mount Airy Resort Casino in 2016
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort

Real Housewives of New Jersey stars and former spouses Teresa and Joe Giudice both served prison sentences after they pled guilty to multiple counts of fraud. First, Teresa served 11 months in prison in 2015. Then, Joe served 41 months and afterward was deported to Italy since he is not a U.S. citizen. The Guidices' legal troubles were covered on RHONJ, and the show was put on pause while she was in prison. The 2016 premiere of Season 7 features Teresa returning home to her four daughters. Teresa and Joe divorced in 2020.

Todd and Julie Chrisley

Todd and Julie Chrisley at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day in 2016
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Todd and Julie Chrisley began starring on their family's reality show, Chrisley Knows Best, in 2014, but it all came crashing down in 2022. In June, the couple were found guilty of various counts of bank and tax fraud. In November, Todd was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and Julie was sentenced to seven years. According to Today, they are set to begin serving their sentences on Jan. 17 but are planning to appeal their case.

Abby Lee Miller

Abby Lee Miller at the premiere of "Bad Moms" in 2016
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

For eight seasons, Abby Lee Miller and her dance studio were the centerpieces of Dance Moms, a reality series about young dancers, their mothers, and Miller's big personality as their instructor. In 2017, she was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud but served only eight months before being released to a halfway house in March 2018.

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Apollo Nida

Apollo Nida an Phaedra Parks at Cirque du Soleil Totem in 2012
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Cirque du Soleil

When Phaedra Parks joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta as a main cast member in 2010, she was married to Apollo Nida. In 2014, while the couple were still appearing on the show, Nida was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and identity theft. He served five years and was released in 2019. Parks, who has said she did not know of Nida's illegal activity, filed for divorce the same year he was sentenced, and their divorce was finalized in 2017. Since his release, Nida has made a couple of cameo appearances on RHOA.

Mike Sorrentino

Mike Sorrentino at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards
DFree / Shutterstock

Mike Sorrentino called himself "The Situation" on Jersey Shore, which premiered in 2009. And, eventually, it wasn't just his wild nights out clubbing that were documented on reality TV. The spinoff, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, featured Sorrentino's sentencing after he pled guilty to tax evasion. The reality star served eight months in prison and was released in September 2019.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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