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How Is Jill Duggar Today? About Josh’s Abuse, New Style, Why She Left The Show

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‘19 Kids and Counting’ is an American reality television series that documented the life of the extensive Duggar family. The reality series was very popular among audiences, earning a reception that made it one of TLC Network’s most popular shows, that was until its cancellation in 2015. As fans and viewers would learn, the conservative Duggar family hid dark secrets from their formerly adoring public.

Despite an apparently scandalous end to ‘19 Kids and Counting’, neither the Duggar family nor TLC was prepared to end the entertainment, and through popular demand, returned to television in the form of a spin-off, ‘Counting On’.

Once again led by the patriarch of the Duggar family, Jim Bob, the controversial though popular family returned to entertain their many followers. Consisting of Jim Bob and his wife Michelle Duggar, along with their 19 children, the Duggar family drew viewers’ intrigue yet again, as ‘Counting On’ continued the family’s former glory.

As the years passed, the Duggar children effectively grew up in front of the camera, each earning their respective fame as reality television stars. Of particular note though, the eldest Duggars who were all born by the time the Duggar family earned their fame, drew the most interest. Sadly, some of the older siblings attracted attention for scandalous behaviour, while others earned the curiosity of viewers.

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Unfortunately, the Duggar family secrets would yet again be exposed, with some of the children, in particular Jill and Jinger Duggar, speaking out against the lifestyle their parents adopted. As before, the Duggars’ now ruined reputation again led to the cancellation of the series that ended in 2021.

Regardless, some fans continue to show their support for the most beloved members of the family, keeping up with them through their social media portals, and of course the latest Amazon Prime documentary series, ‘Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets’.

The new documentary, intent on spilling all the rotten details of the family, would once again bring the older siblings into the limelight, and as such, many have been wondering how Jill Duggar is doing today.

What To Expect

Diving into Jill’s life, both past and present, taking a brief look at her early life as she appeared in ‘19 Kids and Counting’, unfortunately also discussing the tragic abuse she experienced at the hands of her brother Josh. The discussion will include Jill’s views on her abuse, while also exploring the full events and consequences.

Following this, the discussion will take a closer look at how Jill Duggar’s love life took shape, as she later married Derick Dillard. After briefly revisiting Jill’s romance with Derick, and diving into their marriage, we will also discuss the couple’s difficulties, especially the disagreements they had with Jill’s family.

We will continue by taking a look at how life continued for Jill, sharing her latest inspirations after Jill adopted a new look. We will also be discussing her departure from the show, and her reactions to the latest release of ‘Shiny Happy People’.

A Conservative Early Life

Born on 17 May 1991, in Tontitown, Arkansas, as Jill Michelle Duggar, the second daughter and fourth child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill was raised under strict, conservative beliefs. As Jim Bob and Michelle would explain during the filming of the earliest Discovery Health documentaries, they wanted God to choose how many children they should have.

It quickly became apparent that the Duggars led a strongly religious-inspired lifestyle, adhering to extreme practices and elaborate beliefs that would eventually earn them fame as a curious intrigue surrounding their expansive family. Though they identified as Independent Baptists, many viewers considered the Duggars followers of the Quiverfull movement; despite denying any association with their religious inspirations, people nonetheless believed that the Duggars’ principles and lifestyle are quite similar and thus related to the Quiverfull movement.

The Duggars would later be inspired by the shamed minister Bill Gothard, conforming to the beliefs described as part of Gothard’s Institute In Basic Life Principles and The Advanced Training Institute’s teachings. Jim Bob and Michelle acted as advocates of their chosen conservative lifestyle for the many years they spent chasing fame on reality television.

As can be expected, the Duggar children were raised within the strict confines of their parents’ lifestyle choices. Some of the principals include being socially reserved, and as such all the Duggar children are homeschooled. They also have to adhere to chaperoned courting, an ideology that enforces that romantic relationships can only be formed with the consent of the family patriarch, and under his observation. All forms of media were also reserved from the family, limited to only a few monitored programs deemed as acceptable entertainment.

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Other rules of conformity also require that men keep to strictly masculine styling, wearing their hair short and appropriate clothing. Women also had to conform to strict rules, guided by the preservation of feminine purity. They had to sport longer hairstyles and were strictly forbidden to wear revealing clothes, such as tank tops, and skirts that rise above the knee.

Jill lived her early life as part of the Duggar family, raised with these strict beliefs along with her many siblings. She made her first television appearance in 2004 at the age of 13, as the world looked in on the family’s everyday life in the Discovery documentary ‘14 Children and Pregnant Again’.

In 2006, Jill once again starred in two more reality television productions, the first, ‘Raising 16 Children’, aired shortly following the birth of Johannah, her then-youngest sister. This was soon followed by the release of ‘On The Road With 16 Children’, which documented a family holiday drive across the US.

By 2008, the Duggar family had earned their own, dedicated television series, then known as ‘17 Children and Counting’, which continued to grow as Jim Bob and Michelle welcomed more children into the world. For several years, the series would continue to grace our televisions, and viewers watched as the Duggar children aged in front of the camera.

Unfortunately, ‘19 Children and Counting’ was cancelled in 2015, following Joshua ‘Josh’ Duggar’s confession to sexually abusing five girls, four of whom were his younger sisters. The revelation and truth about the eldest Duggar sibling surfaced shortly before the show’s cancellation. At the time, Jill turned 24 and had embarked on her adult life, though it would be revealed that the allegations against Josh started before ‘19 Kids and Counting’ first aired.

On 21 May 2015, In Touch Weekly Magazine published a 2006 police report that would reveal that Josh sexually abused five girls in 2002 and 2003. According to the report, Josh would inappropriately touch the girls while they were asleep, and on occasions while they were awake. At the time, Josh was 14 and 15 years old, and according to the gossip article, was never properly prosecuted for his crimes. By 2015, the limitations had already expired, and in 2016, the case turned cold.

In the wake of the 2015 revelations, many more of Josh’s secret scandals would surface, including accusations that an adult film star was his paid mistress. Fans of ‘19 Children and Counting’ did even more digging into Josh’s past, stumbling on old footage from the earlier documentaries in which Josh jokes about incestual sex. This video quickly went viral, and fans were appalled by the true nature it revealed in Josh Duggar’s character.

Instead of prosecuting their son, the Duggar family heads, Michelle and Jim Bob tried their best to protect Josh, who was admitted into several religious institutes to help him overcome his disgusting habits. Following the revelation, the Duggars would accuse the gossip publication that ran the story of obtaining the police report illegally, though their claims were refuted and later dropped.

Josh published a public apology, stating that he acted inexcusably, and resigned from both the show and his position at the Family Research Council. Despite the Duggar parents’ attempt to save their son, and the show, fans drew up a petition on Change.org, calling for the cancellation of the series. The show was immediately removed from viewing on all the networks where it was available, and all affiliated advertisers also withdrew from the show.

In June 2015, while appearing on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News talk show ‘The Kelly Files’, Jill identified herself as one of Josh’s victims, though it seemed as if she wanted to defend her brother. For the most part, Jill stated that she never knew about the abuse until her parents informed her about her brother’s behaviour. Jill would later state that she regrets doing the interview, but details concerning Josh’s case suggested that his victims were aware of what happened to them.

Anna, Josh’s wife, stated that she knew about Josh’s crimes two years before she married him, solemnly believing that the multiple rehabilitation programs Josh attended changed his life. The Duggar family recalls this as a dark time in their life, motivating them to achieve a deeper relationship with God.

Josh faced new charges in 2021, this time in regards to child pornography found in his possession, and was sentenced to twelve years in prison. It seemed that all the help in the world could not change Josh.

Of course, the latest revelations aired in the documentary ‘Shiny Happy People’, created even more shockwaves among gossip publications hungry for the truth about the Duggar family. Among these revelations, fans would learn that Josh’s habits started when he was twelve, and that he would keep his sins a secret under his parents’ guidance – Josh was instructed to only reveal his felony behaviour to girlfriends after marriage.

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Naturally, Jill also revealed greater insights on ‘Shiny Happy People’, and had quite a lot to say, especially concerning her past trauma. Among some of her confessional insights, Jill revealed that she, along with her sister Jessa, was pressured into defending Josh during their ‘Kelly Files’ interview by Jim Bob, told that it would be in the better interest of the family, and the show.

Jill also confessed that her father, Jim Bob, tricked her into staying on with the show longer than she wanted to, by making her sign a contract under fraudulent invitation. Jim presented the contract to her the day before her wedding, and as Jill explained, she signed it believing it to be related to marital documents. Unfortunately, she signed to appear in more episodes, along with her husband, Derrick Dillard.

Despite the cancellation of ‘19 Kids and Counting’, Jill would once again make an appearance in the spin-off series, ‘Counting On’. That was until 2017, when Jill and her family decided to walk away from reality television completely.

Before returning to television, Jill and her sisters, Jenna, Jessa and Jinger, co-wrote the book ‘Growing Up Duggar: It Is All About Relationships’. The book documented most of their lives as part of the Duggar family, and was published in 2014, a year before the true scandals would become public. With the show cancelled, Jill attempted to move on with her life, even becoming a midwife in late 2015 but failed to become certified.

Currently, Jill has chosen to continue her career as an author, as her latest book, ‘Counting the Cost’, will be released in September 2023.

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Jill and Derick

While most of the details about their romance is shrouded in obscurity, Jill and Derick shared a great deal of their love life with the audiences of ‘19 Children and Counting’, and later again in ‘Counting On’. From their initial courting, of course under the strict rules posed by Jim Bob, the couple’s wedding, and even the birth of their firstborn son, Israel, includes some of the life events Jill and Derick shared with the cameras.

Details about how Jill and Derick initially met remain vague, but following their courtship, the couple married in 2014, and have remained happy together since. There have hardly ever been rumours or suggestions of a split between them, and Jill often shares her marital experience and advice on her personal family vlog.

Among some of the advice Jill presented to her followers, she stated that a healthy, regular sex life would prove to be very beneficial for married couples, suggesting that they need this romantic time together up to five times a week.

The couple has since welcomed two more children to their family, sons Samuel, and the latest addition, Frederick. Sadly though, Jill experienced a miscarriage shortly before announcing her pregnancy with Frederick. About the miscarriage, Jill stated that she was heartbroken and will miss her child, but believes that she’s living blissfully in heaven. Although they could not tell the gender yet, Jill and Derick chose the name River Bliss for their deceased baby, as it best represented the child’s purpose.

As if suffering the loss of a child is not enough, the Dillard family would continue to experience difficulties, specifically with Jill’s family. While the show seldom played host to any on-screen disputes or drama, plenty of strife took place once the cameras stopped filming.

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Aside from being bullied into appearing on “Counting On’, Jill also revealed on ‘Shiny Happy People’ that neither she, nor any of her siblings got paid for their participation on any of the shows. The blame for this, however, could squarely fall on Jim Bob.

As Jill confessed, for the first seven years of her adult life, she never received any payments, and after calling out TLC, she was directed to her father. Producers informed Jill that they paid the family, and should she have any further inquiries, she should speak with her father, Jim Bob.

According to a 2021 report, Jim Bob earned up to $850,000 per season, and he was the sole proprietor of the Duggar family’s finances, and as such was responsible for paying each of the family members. Jill included in her revelations that Jim Bob offered to pay Derick, her husband, $10 an hour for his appearance on the show.

Naturally, this caused plenty of arguments, and as Jill stills holds up, she never saw any money whatsoever. This, coupled with the lack of creative control Jill had over ‘Counting On’, which was supposed to strictly document the older Duggar siblings’ lives, her father’s manipulation, and their exclusion from important family events and announcements, was simply too much.

In 2017, three years before ‘Counting On’ would be removed from the air, Jill and Derick decided to part ways with the show, even going so far as to create a rift in the family, separating the Dillards from the Duggars. While this caused its fair share of drama on the series and amidst the Duggar family, fans and viewers were sad to see Jill leave.

Unfortunately, it would take several years before fans would learn the truth about why Jill left the show, and all of the previously mentioned reasons she explained on ‘Shiny Happy People’, were the motivation she needed to take back full control of her own life.

Now, following the birth of her youngest child, Frederick, Jill is planning on living life on her own terms while still honouring the religious teachings from her youth, by being the best mother and wife in her capabilities. Other than that, Jill wrote her personal memoir, and no doubt, there will be plenty of revelations about the Duggar family contained in its pages. Sadly, fans would have to wait until it hits the shelves before diving further into the cult-like life of the Duggars.

Conclusion

While things may have always seemed rosy and shiny within the Duggar household, the focal point of the reality television series ‘19 Children and Counting’, the truth showed their adoring public that dark secrets can lurk in anyone’s closet.

From sexual scandals to fraudulent manipulation, the Duggars have many secrets, but unfortunately for those intrigued by the lives of the Duggars, the shows, including ‘Counting On’, have been completely removed from the air.

The only mention fans can now find of the Duggars are, of course, the Duggar sisters’ publications, and the Amazon Prime documentary series, ‘Shiny Happy People’.

If this interests you, feel free to dive into the darker side and story behind the once-successful Duggar family.

As the Managing Editor at The Legit, I direct a dynamic team dedicated to creating rich content that profiles the lives and accomplishments of influential figures. My commitment to detail and storytelling drives the production of biographies that truly engage our audience. I manage all aspects of the editorial process, from conducting thorough research to crafting vivid narratives, all while ensuring the accuracy and quality of our work. At The Legit, our goal is to offer our readers comprehensive profiles that provide deep insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Through diligent research and engaging storytelling, we highlight the exceptional journeys and achievements of those who both inspire and intrigue us.

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Chantel & Pedro Jimeno Are Divorcing – Won’t Be Season 5

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“The Family Chantel”

While news of Chantel and Pedro Jimeno’s imminent divorce may not have come as a surprise to many viewers of “The Family Chantel”, who witnessed their marriage break down in real-time, that hasn’t stopped news outlets from constantly reporting the story, and every development ever since.

The couple, who became public figures during their time on “90 Day Fiancé” before Chantel was granted her own reality show, have been on the way out for at least a year, with Pedro officially filing for divorce in late May 2022, a month after their initial separation. Since then, the former lovebirds have been busy posting cryptic messages about the situation on social media, but it appears that the divorce has yet to be finalized.

In happier times, Chantel and Pedro starred in “The Family Chantel” with their friends and family. With Chantel being mixed-race and Pedro hailing from the Dominican Republic, their intercultural marriage and the drama that came with it was the focus of the show for four seasons. The series, which premiered in July 2019, became popular for being the first “90 Day Fiancé” spin-off to focus on a single couple instead of large groups.

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Chantel and Pedro met online and hit it off immediately, with Chantel flying over to the Dominican Republic to meet her boyfriend. The couple became engaged in secret, until Pedro could obtain his K-1 visa and travel to Chantel’s birthplace of Atlanta, Georgia. The main cast members of “The Family Chantel” were Chantel, her family – Karen, Thomas, Riverknight and Winter Everett – and Pedro’s mother and sister, Lydia Morel and Nicole Jimeno.

Naturally, almost all the storylines on “The Family Chantel” focused on Chantel’s life, and it’s not clear if Pedro was happy to be in her shadow. The model and TV personality, who was born in February 1991, has never had a good relationship with her in-laws either, which has been the cause of plenty of friction. The same can be said for Pedro, who was never quite welcomed into the Everett clan.

Even so, the pair exchanged vows in an intimate wedding ceremony in July 2019. Three years later, the husband-and-wife duo officially confirmed their separation and divorce proceedings shortly after the season four premiere of “The Family Chantel” aired. Although some netizens believed that the announcement was a publicity stunt to combat low viewing figures, months passed and there was no reconciliation between the now famous couple.

As Chantel is fond of sharing risqué photos on her Instagram feed, and her and Pedro have often gone months at a time without posting each other, there have been many rumors of marital woes pertaining the “90 Day Fiancé” alums in the past. However, it’s been said that the reality TV personalities don’t post or discuss each other on social media, unless they’re filming for the show.

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Although Chantel and Pedro are still legally married, it’s clearer than ever that they don’t plan on getting back together – so much so that “The Family Chantel” has possibly been cancelled by TLC. If the show does return for a fifth season, the main storylines will certainly be the former couple’s complicated divorce proceedings, and how their respective families are reacting to the news.

If there is a season five, fans of the show are hoping to see less of Pedro. The social media influencer and licensed real estate agent is known for his ambition and cold personality. Despite Chantel having a full-time job, filming for the show, and taking on all the household responsibilities, he would often call her lazy, and seemingly tried to spend as little time with her as possible.

It’s interesting to note that the same day Pedro filed for divorce, both parties filed restraining orders against the other. Pedro sensationally claimed that Chantel was withdrawing large sums of money from their shared bank account, whereas Chantel accused her estranged husband of domestic abuse and infidelity. Days before the couple formally separated in late April 2022, Chantel moved $257,000 from her and Pedro’s joint account to an account she shares with her sister.

Over the years, Chantel has often complained about Pedro practically funding his mother and sister’s lifestyles in the Dominican Republic. Although Lidia is a lawyer, she claims not to earn much, and would often ask her son for money and gifts whenever he visited. Pedro has also made no secret of the fact that he pays their rent, which has always been a bone of contention in his marriage. It’s possible that Chantel took the six figures from their joint account to avoid any of it going towards Lidia or Nicole.

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Another strain on their doomed marriage was the bad relationship between the Everetts and Jimenos. One memorable family trip ended with Lidia and Nicole fighting Chantel, Winter and Karen, to the point that glasses were thrown and people were almost injured. Pedro and Chantel each defended their family members, while criticizing their in-laws.

The infidelity rumors concerning Pedro have also been brewing for a long time. In a season four episode of “The Family Chantel”, the real estate agent was accused of engaging in an affair with co-worker Antonella Barrenechea. During an informal meeting with a lawyer present, Chantel mentioned how much time Pedro was spending with his female colleagues. Pedro denied being inappropriately involved with Antonella and accused his wife of not being supportive of his demanding job.

Most viewers of “The Family Chantel” have taken the Atlanta native’s side. With that said, the Everetts have a long history of alienating married-ins; when Chantel’s brother, Royal became engaged to his long-term girlfriend Angenette, the family practically descended into chaos. Chantel and Karen suspected that Angenette, who is Filipina, was only marrying Royal to obtain American citizenship, and gave her the cold shoulder from day one.

Following his sister’s footsteps, Royal met Angenette online, and soon caught a flight to meet in her home country, proposing during their very first face-to-face meeting. The nine-year age gap and Angenette’s foreign roots were cause of concern for Chantel and the rest of the Everetts, who spent most of season two ostracizing the newcomer and meddling during the wedding plans.

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The season two finale of “The Family Chantel” saw Royal and Angenette officially become husband and wife. Soon afterwards, Angenette became pregnant and the lovebirds focused on building their own family unit while distancing themselves from the Everetts: so much so that Royal is barely on speaking terms with his mother and siblings to this day. The couple also refused to return for season three of the show, citing social media commentary and public scrutiny as the causes.

It remains to be seen whether there’ll be a fifth season of “The Family Chantel”, as none of the cast members have divulged any details. Nevertheless, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

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What happened to Tonya on “Little Women: LA”?

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“Little Women: LA”

Known as the show that spawned the “Little Women” franchise, “Little Women: LA” is a Lifetime reality series that premiered in May 2014. The principal cast members are women who were born with dwarfism and live in Los Angeles; to date, the show has run for eight seasons and boasts over 135 episodes.

The main cast members are Terra Jolé, Tonya Banks, Elena Gant, Christy McGinity, and Briana Manson. Secondary cast members include Traci Tsou, Jasmine Sorge, Brittney Guzman, and Mika Winkler.

Tonya Banks

Tonya Renee Banks hails from Carson, California, and was born in July 1964. Prior to starring in “Little Women: LA”, Tonya was already a seasoned actress and stuntswoman with decades of experience in the industry.

Some of Tonya’s notable projects include “Bad Santa”, “Death to Smoochy”, and “The Internship Games”; after appearing in the last film, she made history as the first little person to be the female lead of a movie.

Although Tonya isn’t doing much acting these days, she’s successfully switched over into the entrepreneurism lane with her own activewear line, “Lil Boss Body Activewear”. The “Little Women” alum also has a wine line, “L’Tonya Renee Red Blend Wine”.

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The multi-skilled reality star recently started her own production company, One Bossey Productions LLC., and is also the CEO. In 2017, Tonya was thrilled to accept the MCPA Award for Most Diverse TV Moment; in the past, she also opened up about her difficulties in becoming one of the first little black women to break out in Hollywood.

If that wasn’t enough, Tonya is also a budding author, with one book to her name: “It’s Not What You’re Called, It’s What You Answer To”. The savvy businesswoman has also recently started to sell her own angel cinnamon spread via her website; however, it remains to be seen whether Tonya will delve deeper into the world of cuisine by releasing more food products.

The star’s multiple revenue streams guarantee that, even if she were to leave the “Little Women” franchise, she wouldn’t be hurting for money. For a while, Tonya has been accepting bookings for personal appearances, public speaking gigs, and even the occasional hosting.

However, Tonya sparked concern amongst her fanbase after she revealed that she had been battling Bell’s palsy, which is paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles. The reality star had previously been seen out and about sporting an eye patch; blaming her condition on stress, she spoke on the isolation that she felt as a consequence.

Treatment for Bell’s palsy normally involves taking steroids; those suffering from the condition can take up to two months to make a full recovery. In one episode of “Little Women: LA”, Tonya and her costar Elena Gant went for a cryotherapy session, thinking that it might help. Though Tonya hasn’t provided fans with any health updates recently, internet sources report that she has since made a full recovery.

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As for Tonya’s love life, she was in an on-and-off relationship with Kerwin Johnson for close to three decades, and share a daughter named Angelique Johnson who was born in 1992 and prefers to stay out of the limelight. Fans rejoiced when Tonya and Kerwin became engaged in the sixth season of “Little Women: LA”, but sadly they revealed in the season seven premiere that they’d called the engagement off, and eventually broke up for good.

Scandals

The cast members of “Little Women” have been embroiled in several scandals over the years. Briana Renee’s estranged husband, Matt Grundhoffer, was accused of sexual assault in 2018. The assault allegedly took place while he was working at the Child Study Treatment Center, when Matt’s patient was a minor.

During court proceedings, the court ordered Matt’s medical records and other personal information. News outlets claim that the defendants – namely, the Department of Social and Health Services and the Child Study and Treatment Center – filed for a protective order against the plaintiff. Matt’s alleged victim, who preferred to remain anonymous, claims to have been an underage patient when Matt was working at the treatment center as a counselor from September 2009 to November 2010, when the assault allegedly took place.

According to the plaintiff and her legal team, she was groomed by Matt during their counseling sessions, progressing from a romantic relationship to a sexual one. Based on his “position of authority and trust”, the plaintiff allegedly became emotionally dependent on Matt, which is when she was taken advantage of by him.

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Months earlier, Briana had already filed for divorce from Matt after news outlets began reporting on his horrifying sexting scandals. She also requested a domestic violence restraining order against him a fortnight after the incident. Apparently, Briana found graphic texts on her husband’s phone in which he and other women spoke of bestiality and proposed sex acts with minor children. A few months later, a judge granted a five-year restraining order.

Although Briana was lucky in love the second time round and married her boyfriend just two months after divorcing Matt, she was forced to leave the “Little Women” franchise due to the negative effect Matt’s behavior was having on her brand. Even before the sexting incident and alleged assault of a minor, Matt was a well-known philanderer, and Briana had already broken up with him at least twice.

Terra Jolé, who is white, also made headlines after announcing that she’d partnered up with the Black Girl Moscato brand. The reality star was hesitant to tell her friends about it due to the brand’s controversial name, and an inter-racial discussion ensued almost as soon as she announced the big news. Tonya, in fact, walked out of the room as soon as Terra revealed her new partnership, despite Terra herself asking her to be the face of the wine. African-American viewers also lambasted Terra online, with Tonya’s strong reaction causing Terra to walk away from the business deal shortly afterwards.

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What happened to Kirsten Storms? Health Update

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Kirsten Storms

The talented Kirsten Storms, who is known for her work in the “Zenon” trilogy, “Johnny Tsunami”, and “Kim Possible”, was born in April 1984 in Orlando, Florida, USA. During her childhood, she and her family moved between Casselberry, Sanford, and Kissimmee, together with Kirsten’s three siblings: half-brother Chris, brother Austin, and sister Gretchen. Her parents are Karen and Mike Storms, a WKMG-TV sportscaster.

According to Kirsten herself, she always dreamed of being a soap opera actress, and told one of her first agents so when she was just five years old. “No one took me seriously,” she reminisced in an interview years later. “But I knew, even though I hadn’t actually watched one, it was something I always wanted to do.”

Kirsten was discovered by a talent scout at aged five, after convincing her parents to enroll her in acting classes. She was inspired to try her luck in the entertainment industry after visiting her father at work, and her parents were evidently more than happy that she pursue her dreams. The talent scout then suggested that Kirsten enroll in an intensive New York-based acting camp aimed at children.

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Work was scant at first, with Kirsten in minor roles in a handful of commercials. Eventually, she scored a lead role in “Sing Me a Story with Belle”, and a recurring role in “Second Noah”. In 1996, she and her family moved to Los Angeles for better work opportunities, and soon afterwards, she was cast as Laura Cummings in “7th Heaven”.

However, the turning point in Kirsten’s career was when she was cast as the title character in “Zenon: Girl of the 21st century”. At the time, the movie made history by having the largest rating for any Disney Channel original movie. From then on, TV movies and family shows became the Floridian’s forte, although she appeared in other Disney projects doing voiceover work or in supporting roles.

In August 1999, Kirsten auditioned for the role of Isabella “Belle” Black in “Days of Our Lives”. Despite the initial backlash from viewers due to how rapidly Isabella’s character had aged – which is a common phenomenon in soap operas when it comes to babies or young children – she soon became a fan favorite, who enjoyed many high-profile storylines with major characters within the show. Nevertheless, Kirsten decided not to renew her five-year contract, in order to focus on other opportunities.

The other projects in mind included “Clubhouse”, a CBS series that aired in late 2004, but was cancelled after just five episodes. The series was produced by Aaron Spelling and created by Daniel Cerone, with Kirsten having one of the leading roles as Betsy Young, the protagonist’s sister. Despite the show not being successful, Kirsten enjoyed the experience of playing Betsy, a troubled teenager grappling with decidedly adult issues that included sex, drugs and alcohol.

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In May 2005, Kirsten joined “General Hospital” as the third actress to play Mariah Maximiliana Jones, receiving an Emmy nomination for her role four years later. Mysterious medical reasons meant that she had to vacate the role in late 2011; despite being scheduled to return in February 2012, her illness – which was revealed to be endometriosis – prevented her from doing so until September of the same year.

In early 2013, the relationship between Kirsten and her former co-star Brandon Barash was confirmed. The couple gave a rare interview in August of the same year, and dropped the bombshell news that they had secretly tied the knot, and were expecting a baby girl. Their daughter, Harper Rose Barash, was born in January 2014. Sadly, the lowkey couple filed for divorce in April 2016, citing irreconcilable differences. As the split was amicable, the couple have been successfully co-parenting for years, and have yet to slander each other in the press.

In the past, Kirsten has been in trouble with the law for tossing a lit cigarette out of her window while driving on an L.A freeway. The incident occurred in September 2007; she was promptly pulled over by California Highway Patrol, and subsequently arrested on DUI charges after failing sobriety tests.

News outlets reported that Kirsten’s blood alcohol content was 0.13, with the legal limit in the state of California being 0.08. In November 2007, the actress pleaded no contest to the charges and was fined $1,643, ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and complete a three-month alcohol education program. She was also placed on probation for three years and had her license suspended for six months. Kirsten has kept on the straight and narrow ever since.

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Health Update

Kirsten has always been candid about her experiences living with anxiety, depression, and endometriosis, and frequently provides her social media followers with well-received health updates. The 2020 pandemic took a toll on her mental health, and in an Instagram post from the same year she told fans: “Even though I wanted to get better without returning to the hospital, my body didn’t have it. Since April, I’ve been struggling with serious pain concerns.”

As it happens, Kirsten had undergone a procedure to eliminate endometriosis-related scar tissue, which left her in pain for many months. One of the side effects of her condition includes weight gain or weight fluctuations, which have often led to unwelcome pregnancy rumors.

In June 2021, fans were alarmed to discover that Kirsten had been forced to take a break from her role in “General Hospital” following brain surgery. It appears that the star had been suffering from random health issues over the last few years, which she had written off as side effects of her medications.

After months of severe neck pain and migraines, Kirsten’s “amazingly thorough” orthopedist ordered an MRI scan which revealed a fluid-filled cyst in the lower portion of the actress’s brain. “I feel very fortunate that my situation wasn’t more serious, and that I had a wonderful neurosurgeon who immediately knew how to fix it,” she wrote on Instagram, after undergoing and recovering from the surgery.

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Thankfully, Kirsten’s cyst wasn’t cancerous and she was able to spend more time than ever with her friends and family while taking a break from acting. In early January 2023, it was reported that she would be returning to her “General Hospital” role; however, a rep for ABC stated a couple of weeks later that she would be unable to return to the series as soon as originally announced. For the time being, Jen Lilley is playing Kirsten’s role, with Kirsten presumably still on the way to recovering fully.

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