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The Rise and Fall of “American Hot Rod”: What Went Wrong?

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Boyd Coddington, the creative visionary who elevated hot rodding into an art form, was hailed by many as the “King of Hot Rods”, being largely credited for creating the hot rod craze on the West Coast, with many of his creations reaching legendary status. The Vern Luce Coupe put him on the map, and the CadZZilla was acclaimed as one of the most authentic and original car customizations in the world. He headlined “American Hot Rod” aired on Warner Bros. Discovery-owned TLC and Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007, ending with his death in 2008.

A brief history of American hot rodding

A hot rod is usually referred to as an American car modified or rebuilt to improve its look and make it unique, as well as to optimize its speed and acceleration; its predecessors were said to be the modified cars used by bootleggers during the Prohibition era to evade the authorities. Hot rods made their first appearance sometime in the 1930s in Southern California, as car enthusiasts raced them on the Mojave Desert’s dry lake beds. Car clubs were formed, and the Southern California Timing Association was established in 1937 to bring them together and organize racing events.

America officially entered World War II in 1941, which put a halt to everything, as those young hot rodders joined the military, and gasoline was rationed. When the war ended, new cars were in short supply; however, the veterans put their mechanical and technical training to good use to modify old cars, and hot rodding became popular again. The Hot Rod Magazine was first published In 1948,, feeding the interest of gearheads and promoting hot rodding on a nationwide scale.

People street raced, which resulted in dangerous situations, sometimes with fatalities. This prompted the creation of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) as a governing body for hot rodding, to create standards and rules for competitions. In 1963, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) was formed to bring together original equipment manufacturers, aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and media.

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Hot rodding as a hobby had waned in the 1960s, and muscle cars designed for high-performance driving and drag racing became the new trend; they were affordable and could outperform old hot rods. However, the 1973 Oil Crisis resulted in a shift of focus by car manufacturers, from performance to fuel efficiency, which caused the resurgence of hot rodding. The Chevy small-block engine became the most popular choice for hot rodders during that period.

In the 1970s, Boyd Coddington began to make a name for himself in building unique hot rods; his work was celebrated by the automotive industry and car enthusiasts from all over.

The Life of Boyd Coddington

Idaho native Boyd Leon Coddington was born on 28 August 1944, to Harold and Lorna Sparrow Coddington – his father was a dairy farmer who later became the owner of a landscaping company when the family moved to Salt Lake City. Even as a young child, Boyd was into cars and hot rods, devouring magazines about them whenever he could. He had an early start designing, constructing, and welding car parts, and got his first truck, a 1931 Chevrolet pickup, when he was still three years shy of legally driving it – it was said that he traded a shotgun to acquire it. Boyd studied to become a machinist at a technical trade school, and was an apprentice for three years at a machine shop.

To pursue his dreams, he moved to Southern California in 1968. He worked the graveyard shift at Disneyland in Anaheim as a machinist, and constructed hot rods during his free time in his home garage. As his skills in improving the look of a car became well-known, it also became his main source of income. He opened his auto shop in 1977 called Hot Rods by Boyd, and his unique style and cutting-edge skills drew people to his shop.

He and Diane Elkins, an industrial nurse, met on a blind date in January 1971, and three months later, they were married. They had two kids together, Christopher and Gregory. Boyd had a son from his first wife, Peggy King, whom he married in 1965 and divorced a few years later – he and Diane divorced in 1996.

He along with his second wife, Diane, and his kids relocated in 1978 to Orange Avenue at Buena Park where he put a 1,000-square-foot garage at the back of the house as his shop. Two months after they moved, he quit his job at Disneyland to focus on hot rod building.

The Billet Movement – Revolutionized the industry

Billet wheels are entirely designed and manufactured using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) process, meaningt that a machine carved out the whole design and shape. There are plenty of configuration options available for customization, such as different lug nut and back spacing configurations, as well as one-off design patterns.

Master hot rodder John “Lil’ John” Buttera was Boyd’s friend and mentor; they worked together to make custom-fabricated alloy wheels known as billet. When they couldn’t find or buy a part they wanted for their creations, they made one from aluminum. Boyd credited Lil’ John for inventing the billet wheel, machining the first set of wheels and billet parts, but the former took it to another level. He manufactured and marketed billet wheels when he established Boyd Wheels Inc.

The two collaborated often, as Lil’ John did chassis design and machine work on some of Boyd’s early cars. Later on, they were engaged in a one-upmanship game – when Lil’ John built the 1927 Model T Ford sedan, Boyd followed suit and constructed a 1926 T. Lil’ John’s 1929 Ford Model A roadster inspired Boyd to make the “Silver Bullet,” described by Street Rodder Magazine as a ‘striking blend of traditional styling, contemporary rodding and innovation.’

The Vern Luce Coupe – Defined an era of hot rodding

Boyd’s then-wife, Diane, described Vern Luce as a very quiet and unassuming guy, who loved cars and often hung around the shop. One of his sons, Chris, remembered him as the “candy man,” who brought treats whenever he visited, as he owned a candy company. No one would have guessed that the transformation of his 1933 Ford Coupe by Boyd’s crew would create a huge impact that was said to have changed the landscape of hot rodding, with its sleek styling and smooth look.

It set the stage for what would be known as the ‘Boyd Look” in which everything was shaved with no door handles and hinges. The Vern Luce Coupe bagged the Al Slonaker Award in 1981 at the Oakland Roadster Show for its technical excellence. Thom Taylor, a graduating student from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design at that time, made the design, but it took a team of talented individuals to actually make it happen.

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CadZZilla – A one-of-a-kind car

One of the most iconic auto customizations ever constructed by Boyd was the CadZZilla, commissioned by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons in 1989. It was designed by one of Cadillac’s head designers, Larry Erickson, and built by metal artisan, Craig Naff. The 1948 Cadillac Sedanette was initially going to be a ‘simple’ customization project but it didn’t quite fit the unique style of the rock band’s guitarist and main vocalist, so further changes were made to the design to make it more revolutionary; Craig then set to work on it. The car featured ‘a chopped roofline, fully welded front clip with a sectioned hood and front fender combination that tilts open in one fell swoop,’ along with ‘Frenched headlights and custom tapering along the sides of the car that flows effortlessly into the lowered and fully blended rear quarters.’

Filed for bankruptcy

Boyd’s businesses had grown so big and successful that they went public in 1995 in an Initial Public Offering on the NASDAQ. However, Boyd filed for personal bankruptcy in 2001, as he lacked the means to pay off debts amounting to $529,000, having listed only $8,800 in assets. The debts were incurred by Hot Rods by Boyd and Boyds Wheels, which went bankrupt three years prior. Although Boyd Wheels reportedly had nearly $30 million in annual sales, it ran out of cash, and its credit line was frozen. Apparently, it ramped up production just when the market dwindled for high-end custom wheels, and its assets were liquidated. Creditors filed a lawsuit against Boyd as they claimed that he used company assets for personal gain, which he denied.

The lawyer for the unsecured creditors was surprised by Boyd’s move, and was suspicious of Boyd Coddington Wheels and Boyd Coddington Garage, the two companies that his son, Boyd Coddington Jr., established. His son said that his father’s financial and legal troubles would not affect these new businesses in any way, shape, or form, as it appeared that Boyd had no stake in them, and only drew a nominal salary.

However, there was some legal dispute over the use of his name in the new ventures. The Automotive Performance Group, which gained control of his previous businesses, sued them for trademark infringement, which was later settled when Body agreed to use his full name instead.

Starting over

Many were surprised when Boyd was seen attending the Street Ride Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, after his businesses collapsed and his reputation was ruined. Unlike in the past when he had his whole entourage with him, and his trademark hot rods were put on display, this time around, he only brought a small card table on which aluminum car wheels were all laid out. Someone approached him and asked how he could go on, and if he was embarrassed by what happened. Boyd simply told him, ‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.’ and said that he had no intention of quitting.

According to reports, he sold some of his real estate holdings for $1.5 million and his Ferrari for $150,000 to have funds for his new ventures, saying that he wanted to prove that he could still do it. Naturally he encountered obstacles, as some were skeptical about how the new company would fare. While mentioning his name was met with derision, especially from some automotive insiders, it seemed that there were people who still believed in him, or at least his designs. The sales from Boyd Coddington Wheels business had picked up, as it benefited from the resurgence of demand for custom wheels. As for Boyd Coddington Garage, it was fully operational too, and had sold vehicles worth $100,000 to $450,000. By all appearances, it seemed that he was right when he claimed that he was back in the game.

Lil’ John once said that one of the reasons for Boyd’s downfall was that he believed in his own press, that anything with his name on it would sell. However, Boyd claimed that he’d learned from his past mistakes. He said, ‘I learned about the American dream and then about the American nightmare. I’m trying to build the American dream again.’

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Chip Foose and Jesse James began their careers at Boyd’s shop

His auto shop might have had a high turnover rate, but no one could dispute the fact that the hot rods that he built were exceptional. It was said that this was largely due to his team. Boyd had a keen eye for talent, and he made sure that he employed the best in their field. Most notable personalities that worked at his shop included Jesse James of “Monster Garage” and Chip Foose of “Overhaulin’”, long before they gained fame from their own automotive-related reality TV shows.

From what fans could glean from an interview with Chip, in the past it seemed that there was friction between the two guys and that it had something to do with whether Chip was given proper credit for his designs that came out of Boyd’s shop in the 1990s. It was also reported that there were properties that Chip believed to be his that were affected when one of Boyd’s companies went bankrupt. When Boyd died, Chip released a statement that read, ‘I appreciate all of the opportunities Boyd offered me while I worked with him and I owe a large part of my career and success to the great working relationship we had.’ He said that Boyd, who was like a second father to him, allowed all his employees the freedom to create, design and fabricate the best in custom vehicles.

Jesse who had his start at Boyd’s shop had said, ‘He just had the eye for cleanliness and design. The cars that came out of that original hot rod shop were amazing examples of graceful craftsmanship.’

“American Hot Rod”

Boyd’s creativity and personality seemed perfect for a reality television show. The bearded and bespectacled hot rodder was easily recognizable as he regularly donned Hawaiian shirts. He came across as loud, sharp-tongued, and cantankerous, so there was a lot of tension and drama at the shop, especially when deadlines were fast approaching. However, those who knew him and had been in his shop for years said that they had never seen Boyd work like that.

“American Hot Rod” premiered in 2004, and it followed Boyd and his crew as they constructed hot rods and custom cars at his shop in La Habra, California. The creation of one custom car was chronicled in three to four episodes, with each episode lasting an hour.

It ran for five seasons, and some of the work his team had done included the hand-made roadster nicknamed the Alumatub, the classic 1942 Woodie, the 1961 Chevy Impala Bubbletop, and an Elvis tribute car.

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Convicted for fraud

In 2005, the State of California accused Boyd of fraud for allegedly passing off his custom-fabricated cars as ‘antique cars’ or older than they actually were in the titles submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles; this was reportedly done to avoid tax obligations and emissions control regulations. Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge before the Sacramento County Superior Court, and was ordered to perform 160 hours of community service and pay a $3,000 fine.

His death at age 63

It was announced on 27 February 2008, that Boyd died at the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier due to complications following surgery for a perforated colon, and kidney complications along with sepsis. He was a long-time diabetic, and had been admitted to hospital on 31 December 2007. Shortly after New Year’s Eve, he was released only to undergo surgery a few days later. He was survived by his third wife, Jo McGee, whom he married in 2002, and five children from three marriages.

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His legacy

Boyd Coddington changed the world of hot rodding. What set him apart from other hot rodders was that he designed and manufactured almost every part of the vehicle he constructed – his work set the standards for custom car design. He bagged the highly coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award six times, which was unprecedented, won the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award twice, and in 1988, he was Hot Rod magazine’s “Man of the Year,” and the 1933 Ford Coupe that he built landed on the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine.

Boyd was inducted into the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame, Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, Route 66 Hall of Fame, and SEMA Hall of Fame.

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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The Saddest Stories Ever Featured in Paternity Court

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About “Paternity Court”

“Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court”, which ran from 2013 to 2020, was a non-traditional court show starring Lauren Lake, a respected family lawyer and legal analyst. The series was a 79th & York Entertainment and Orion Television production, and received a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program in 20019. Unfortunately, MGM was forced to discard all courtroom programs due to financial struggles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in ownership of the network.

With court programming being the second highest-rated genre on daytime television as of 2012, the inception of “Paternity Court” was also helped by the success of “Maury”. Nevertheless, there was a marked difference between the two shows, as “Maury” was more focused on drama and shenanigans, whereas “Paternity Court” worked towards using the test results as a way for the participants in the show to build healthy and long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, the goal of the program was to reinvigorate the court show genre by reaching the widest possible audience.

The format of each episode sees Lauren Lake speak to the show’s litigants and decide cases based on the results of DNA tests. Probate disputes over wills were also an integral part of the show; in early 2013, the show’s creator, David Armour, shared more of what happened on set – “We don’t take any of this lightly. There is a responsible side to the show where we help families get on the right path,” he shared. “We want to dig into these stories much deeper than any other court show does. We’re dealing with resolutions about how families can move forward now that they have results.”

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Before and after the results, Lauren would take time to speak with her litigants. Most episodes of “Paternity Court” only focused on one case, unlike other present-day court shows which focus on two. However, it’s unclear just how involved MGM or the production team were with each family when filming wrapped up.

The doomed court series spawned two sister shows: “Personal Injury Court”, which was hosted by Gino Brogdon, and “Couples Court with the Cutlers”, which was hosted by Keith and Dana Cutler and used testing and evidence to prove – or disprove – infidelity. Sadly, all three shows were cancelled after ending production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saddest Moments

“Paternity Court” regaled its viewers with truly heart-breaking moments over the years, such as the episode in which Donna Andrews asked for a paternity test to prove that the man who had raised her was her biological father. Donna, who had gone out to dine with some friends in Atlanta one fateful evening, was shocked when a man approached her out of the blue and showed her a tattoo of her name on his leg. Obviously, this caused her to doubt everything about her childhood and the man she believed to be her biological father.

William Glenn, who claimed to be Donna’s biological father, said that he’d kept it a secret for thirty years because Donna had been raised in a loving household and he didn’t want to turn her life upside-down. Roger Andrews, the man who raised Donna, was deceased, as well as Donna’s biological mother. The plot thickens, as it turns out that Donna was aware of William’s existence due to him being the father of one of her younger sisters.

Although Roger and Donna didn’t actually live together, perhaps due to him being separated from Donna’s mother, he did everything a supportive father does, and was even present during Donna’s high school graduation ceremony. When Roger passed away on the due date of Donna’s second child, she was understandably traumatized; when she was approached by William at the restaurant that fateful night, she was still mourning Roger’s death, but made it clear that she wasn’t looking for a replacement by taking the case to “Paternity Court”.

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Telling his side of the story, William shared that he and Donna’s mother began dating in 1976 and that Donna was born when William “left” for eight months. When William asked Donna’s mother about her pregnancy, she didn’t give him any clear answers or indicate that he could be the biological father.

Before the restaurant incident, other odd things happened to Donna that made her doubt Roger being her real father. While on a plane, she was somehow seated next to someone who claimed to know who her biological father was. When this person gave Donna a description, she was confused because it didn’t match Roger at all. Then, a few months after Roger died, one of Donna’s cousins confessed that she wasn’t really his daughter.

“You waited until my mother passed away. We don’t have nobody’s word but your word now,” Donna reproached William. When the DNA results revealed that William was indeed Donna’s biological father, she was blown away, and broke down in tears. Donna, who had brought a framed picture of Roger with her to the courtroom, also showed William the photo and doubled down on her stance: she considered Roger her father, not him.

The next case we’ll be discussing is equally depressing. Siblings Hector Hunt and Precious Raysor decided to sue their parents for a paternity test after a huge argument in which it was revealed that the man that they believed to be their father, Richard Jacobs, wasn’t after all. Despite being the only father figure in the siblings’ life, Richard allegedly revealed that the siblings weren’t his biological children while arguing with his wife. However, Richard claimed that he only said that in the heat of the moment, due to a hurtful comment his wife, Daisy Hammonds, had made.

“This is the only man I’ve known for all my life,” an emotional Precious berated her mother. “He’s been there for my kindergarten graduation, my sixth-grade graduation, how many men do you know sit in the delivery room with their daughter while they’re having a baby?” When Precious’s mother confessed that she didn’t really know who their father was, Precious exploded, as she had planned on Richard walking her down the aisle at her wedding, which would take place a few months after the episode.

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As it happens, for years there had been rumors in the neighborhood of a man named Tommy Farmer being Precious and Hector’s biological father. When Tommy was shown on the screen for a videocall, Precious was so incredulous that she walked out of the courtroom. Daisy confessed to having had a sexual relationship with Tommy around the time of her pregnancy with Precious, and refused to look her children in the eye, which made her appear guilty.

When it was revealed that Richard wasn’t Precious or Hector’s biological father, he and the siblings broke down in court. Tearful hugs were shared between the three and Daisy also appeared visibly devastated. The episode ended on an even worse note, when Daisy shared that she wasn’t Hector’s biological mother, but rather a woman that had died shortly after childbirth was.

For the first 33 years of her life, Jazmine St. James was a daddy’s girl and was even walked down the aisle by the man she believed to be her father, Kenneth Esaw. However, six months before appearing in the show, Kenneth revealed during an argument that she wasn’t his biological daughter. Stunned, Jazmine and her brother opened a paternity case to get the answers they needed.

Kenneth always believed that he wasn’t Jazmine’s biological father but never found the right moment to tell her the truth. Apparently, he agreed to take a paternity test so that the truth could set him free, as the secret had been haunting him for over three decades. The argument between Jazmine and Kenneth started when Jazmine confronted her father as to why he wasn’t more present in his grandchildren’s lives.

After discovering the truth, Jazmine began suffering from depression and anxiety. “I feel like I’m going to die of heartbreak,” she confessed tearfully, sharing that she hadn’t been eating or sleeping since Kenneth dropped the bombshell.

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Kenneth then shared that, shortly after getting into a relationship with Jazmine’s mother, they learned she was pregnant. However, when they went to the doctor, they realized that he couldn’t be the father because she was too far along. Kenneth’s mother was also present in the courtroom and corroborated his version of events.

When the DNA results proved that Kenneth wasn’t Jazmine’s biological father, he looked somewhat relieved, whereas she looked completely heartbroken. Even so, she thanked Kenneth for raising her as his daughter.

We can all agree that, although “Paternity Court” was never picked up by another network following its cancellation, Lauren Lake and the production team did a great job at sharing these people’s stories, and helping some families find the closure they needed to move on in their lives.

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Michael Ilesanmi’s Toxic Relationship With Angela Deem

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Michael Ilesanmi

Viewers of the “90 Day Fiancé” franchise are more than familiar with Michael Ilesanmi, who has been in a turbulent relationship with wife Angela Deem since 2018. Michael became a fan favorite in the second season of “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days” due to Angela being such a controversial character in the show; the blonde, who is in her late 50s, doesn’t let Michael work or have social media accounts and has made it clear on many occasions that she doesn’t trust him.

With that said, Michael hasn’t done much to build that trust either. Things were going well at the beginning of the relationship, when the couple connected on social media in 2018 – so well, in fact, that Angela soon flew out to Michael’s home country of Nigeria to visit him. The glaring age gap and cultural differences between the two soon became evident. At the time, Angela was 52 years old and already had grandchildren, whereas Michael was two decades younger.

Angela’s daughter and friends began voicing their concerns, and when the interracial couple began having disagreements in Nigeria, she wondered if her younger boyfriend was secretly embarrassed to be seen with her. At the beginning of the relationship, Michael also admitted that he had cheated on Angela by engaging in sexual acts with a local woman. Since then, the tenuous trust between the couple was broken.

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Angela’s first trip to Nigeria ended with Michael handing her an engagement ring wrapped in an American flag. Almost as soon as she returned to the US, the TV personality accused her Nigerian lover of draining her bank account, and proceeded to scream at him over the phone, which many viewers considered verbal abuse. Angela had given Michael her debit card for him to make a $300 withdrawal, but somehow he took out three times as much – allegedly by mistake.

In the third season of “Before the 90 Days”, the duo was reunited and waiting for him to obtain his K-1 visa. After yet another onscreen argument, Michael tried to apologize to Angela for cheating on her by giving her a cake… Which Angela promptly threw at his face. The relationship became even more chaotic when the couple discovered that there were little to no chances of Angela getting pregnant; when she asked her daughter, Skyla, to act as a surrogate, Skyla was outraged and refused.

Unfortunately for Michael, his visa was denied, which Angela discovered when she returned to the US during the seventh season of “90 Day Fiancé”. Even so, the couple tried to put aside their cultural differences and work on their trust issues, before celebrating their grandiose Nigerian wedding in season five of “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?”.

Days after the nuptials, which took place at the beginning of 2020, Angela had to unexpectedly return home due to the death of her ailing mother. The newlyweds were put to the test yet again when coronavirus-related travel restrictions were implemented before Angela could fly back to Nigeria, with both parties struggling to keep the flame alive.

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While Angela waited for Michael’s spousal visa to come through, she put her baby search on the backburner and began dieting and exercising instead. However, her husband was vehemently against the idea of Angela slimming down or having a breast reduction. When Angela flirted with the doctor responsible for her weight loss surgery, Michael – who, by now, had become a minor celebrity thanks to his affable personality and hilarious on-screen moments – felt hurt and insecure. All this helped Angela become the villain of the relationship, despite Michael having cheated on her.

While healing from her surgeries, Angela tried to remotely track Michael’s activity and location via his phone, after he’d stopped communicating with her. This led to another explosive row that left the couple on the verge of a split; nevertheless, they gave things another go at the request of Tracey, Angela’s psychic.

In an attempt to win Michael back, Angela went under the knife for new breast implants, as her chest was his favorite feature of hers. During the season six Tell-All episode of “Happily Ever After?”, Angela began arguing with Michael’s aunt, Lydia, when the latter judged her for undergoing weight loss surgery instead of trying for a baby. Angela was so incandescent with rage that she flashed her breasts at the cameras; she also argued with Michael for taking his aunt’s side during the heated verbal argument.

The on-screen spat spiraled out of control and ended with Angela announcing that she would be acting single and flaunting her new, slimmer body until Michael could come to the US. During her “90 Day Fiancé” spin-off, the American met up with a former love interest, and was also seen destroying Michael’s car during a visit to Nigeria, which caused him to break up from her.

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As things between Angela and Michael are so volatile, we just don’t know if the couple have broken up for good, or are planning to get back together. However, we can tell you more about Angela’s former flame, a handsome Canadian named Billy Sotiropoulos who also happens to be one of her close friends. Angela flew over to Canada to support Billy at his fundraising event, and was warmly welcomed when she touched down in Toronto.

Not everyone was pleased with Angela visiting Billy, with many followers of the couple reminding her that she would go crazy if Michael did the same. Anyone who keeps up with Angela and Michael’s exhausting marriage knows that the blonde has forbidden him from having female friends; meanwhile, she has no intentions of toning down her controversial online content, such as her provocative dancing videos.

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In any case, it appears that Michael is now in the States after finally getting his green card. There have been rumors of Michael planning to leave Angela to be with his anonymous 30-year-old American girlfriend, with whom he allegedly cheated on his wife. These rumors have led to people thinking that Michael was only playing a waiting game with Angela, until he could obtain American citizenship. Nevertheless, only time will tell if the warring couple make things work or go their separate ways for good.

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Jacob Roloff: The Rebel Roloff Who Left Reality TV Behind

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About Jacob Roloff

As one of Matt and Amy Roloff’s four children, Jacob Roloff made something of a name for himself in the reality TV world, thanks to the family’s series, “Little People, Big World”. Since the show’s 2006 premiere, the Roloff clan have become household names, and fans were surprised to see Jacob walk away from it all.

Jacob was raised alongside his siblings Zach, Jeremy and Molly in the Oregon-based Roloff Farms, which Matt and Amy purchased in happier times at the beginning of their marriage. The farm, which originally boasted 36 acres and many luxurious features which Matt implemented throughout the years, held many happy memories for the second-generation Roloffs. Sadly, it would later become a sore point when Matt boldly decided to put part of it on the market, after being encouraged to do so by his new girlfriend.

Nevertheless, Jacob stopped living with his family many years before Matt tried to sell part of the property – many fans of the show wondered why the elusive Roloff had suddenly stepped away from the limelight. Although the show mainly focuses on Matt, Amy and Zach, as the only three members of the Roloff family who are little people, it appears that Jacob has never been interested in the entertainment industry, and prefers to keep a low profile.

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The truth behind Jacob’s decision was revealed in late 2020, when the former reality TV personality shared his sexual abuse testimony on social media. Just 23 years old at the time, Jacob had walked away from the show a year prior, much to viewers’ dismay. His thousands of Instagram followers were horrified to read about the alleged abuse Jacob suffered at the hands of Chris Cardamone, who worked on the show from 2007 to 2010.

“It is often much easier to think about things than it is to talk about them. As a child, after what I realize now was a long grooming process, I was molested by an executive field producer of ‘Little People, Big World’, Chris Cardamone,” Jacob wrote. At the time of sharing his harrowing story, Jacob was bombarded by news outlets who wanted him to give a tell-all interview, but he turned down all such requests.

Nevertheless, Jacob’s Instagram post resulted in an immediate backlash against Chris, especially when the youngest Roloff shared that the executive field producer had been in touch with him in late 2015. PEOPLE magazine and other publications all tried and failed to extract a statement from Chris, but even more questions were raised when journalists began digging into his murky past.

Two months after Jacob shared his side of the story, The Sun explosively revealed that Chris had been arrested in October 2008 for child sex crimes. A Public Information Officer working at the Santa Clara Sherriff’s Office confirmed that Chris had been arrested and booked into jail, for the heinous offence of felony lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

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Ultimately, Chris was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 with force, two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, and one count of cruelty to child with possible injury or death. Sadly perhaps, he accepted a plea deal in December 2010 and served just 73 days in jail and four years of supervised probation. Some of the conditions of his probation included submitting to chemical testing, completing substance abuse counseling, and submitting to a property/person search.

Obviously, Jacob’s parents and siblings showed their support in the aftermath of the scandal, but for some netizens, that just wasn’t good enough. Viewers of “Little People, Big World” demanded to know why TLC and the production company allowed Chris to keep working on the show after being arrested for sex crimes, whereas others suspect that Matt and Amy knew what was going on but looked the other way so that their show wouldn’t get cancelled. However, Jacob has made clear that he doesn’t blame any of his family members for what he suffered.

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These days, Jacob has over 360,000 Instagram followers and is focusing on being the best father possible to his son, Mateo. Jacob is also a fur parent to his beloved pet dog Luna, and frequently shares snaps of his tight-knit family unit on social media. Sadly, some of Jacob’s followers have been turned off by his parenting decisions, such as teaching Mateo sign language, but not showing his face on social media.

Nevertheless, Jacob’s day-one supporters aren’t going anywhere. “Am so so so stoked you broke away from the ‘image’ and shadow of your family and reality tv BS dynamics… you are one cool, intelligent, INTROSPECTIVE and insightful dude. THANK YOU”, one Instagram user commented under a recent post.

It’s true that Jacob can express himself more freely now that he’s not under any contractual obligations. Since leaving the show, he’s started working on his own greenhouse and growing marijuana – which is legal in the state of Oregon – sharing every step of the process with his fans.

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As for Jacob’s siblings, Zach is the only one who remains on “Little People, Big World”. It makes sense, as the other Roloff siblings didn’t inherit dwarfism, and the show focuses on how little people such as Zach and his parents cope with everyday tasks and struggles.

Zach has been married since 2015 and has three children, all of whom were born with dwarfism. His wife, Tori, is a former kindergarten teacher and keen amateur photographer of average height. Unfortunately, Zach and Tori have been lambasted for choosing to keep having children despite Zach’s condition.

Jeremy, Zach’s twin brother, has his hands full between parenthood, marriage, and the number of projects he and his wife Audrey have on their plates at any given time. The handsome reality TV star, who studied at Brooks Institute of Photography and has a Bachelor of Arts degree, has two children named Ember Jean and Bode James.

Audrey and Jeremy are trying to make names for themselves in the creative industry, and have done so with a number of ambitious ventures such as co-authored books, their own podcast, and several small businesses.

Meanwhile Molly Roloff, Matt and Amy’s only daughter, is even more reclusive than her brother Jacob. Molly walked away from the show years ago for unspecified reasons, but is believed to be on good terms with the rest of the family. Jacob and Molly have openly supported each other throughout the years, especially in the wake of Jacob’s confession regarding the sexual abuse he suffered.

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