Reality TV Roloffs Share the Good, Bad and Ugly

Filed under: Celeb Parents

What's it like to have your life on reality TV? ParentDish recently sat down with Matt and Amy Roloff, stars of the hit TLC reality show, Little People, Big World, to talk about what it feels like to have their every move broadcast for the entire world to see -- and judge -- before they start their next season this week.

Reality TV Moms

    Amy Roloff

    Amy Roloff may be little, but as you can see on Little People, Big World, she has a huge heart.

    Thos Robinson, Getty Images

    by Gabrielle Linzer

    Think being a mother is hard? Try doing a decent job with a full camera crew under your feet 24/7. Some mothers have chosen to put their lives on display for the world to revere or condemn. Here, reality TV's best known mommas.

    AP | Getty Images | FilmMagic | Getty Images

    Former Biggest Loser contestant Amy Wolff is expecting her first child in July with husband and co-contestant, Marty Wolff. "I feel like the luckiest pregnant girl ever."

    Trae Patton, NBC

    Michelle Duggar

    This 2004 Arkansas "Young Mother of the Year" doesn't believe in birth control, and it shows. Michelle Duggar is set to give birth to her 18th child in 2009 according to Discovery Health, which may prompt TLC to change her show's name to "18 Kids and Counting"!

    Beth Hall, AP

    Kate Gosselin

    Kate Gosselin didn't set out to create a family of eight, but her genes had other plans. Managing her set of twins and sextuplets with ease, this model mother makes having eight children look manageable, and maybe even a little bit fun.

    Amy Sussman, Getty Images

    Denise Richards

    We've been hearing about Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen drama in the tabloids for years, but when Richards decided to get her own reality TV show, we learned she wasn't kidding when she claimed "It's Complicated." Between her messy, public divorce, raising her children and maintaining her status as a sex symbol, Richards' life is certainly more dramatic than the average mom.

    Jason LaVeris, FilmMagic

    NeNe Leakes

    Arguably the most popular housewife in Atlanta, it's not surprising that NeNe Leakes upstages her two sons with social drama and her outspoken personality, Despite her magnetism to controversy, Leakes told Essence she still makes time to help others through her organization, "The Twisted Hearts Foundation," which promotes knowledge about domestic violence in the community.


    Tori Spelling

    Although she was often upstaged by her late pug Mimi La Rue in the past, Spelling is a force to reckon with as she pursued entrepreneurship and stayed in the spotlight all while eight months pregnant with her second child, Stella. Now, as a mother of two back in L.A., Spelling continues to take on Hollywood at full steam with her role on the newly renewed 90210 series.

    Chris Polk, FilmMagic

    Mommy Meerkat

    These moms are wilder than most of the other matriarchs on reality TV, but they manage their families with the same loving care. Dominant female Flower rose to power and led her pack, the Whiskers, for more than five years. These tough mommas are experts at multi-tasking, as they are filmed foraging, caring for their young and fiercely battling enemies to protect the pack.

    Animal Planet

    Renee Wilson

    Appeared on "The Biggest Loser" with daughter Michelle Aguilar. Renee, 47, lost 45 pounds in seven weeks. "She was the quintessential yo-yo dieter," Michelle, 27, told "Prevention." Luckily the mother-daughter team was able to use familial motivation to break their old habits and start living a healthier lifestyle.

    Trae Patton, NBC Photo

How do the kids feel about the cameras? Matt: The kids have thick skins, and sometimes, [the critics] get it right. It may be nasty, but sometimes you have to look and say, "I really need to work on that." It can be a little bit of a cat-and-mice game. For instance, if Molly doesn't want them to film her practicing for her driver's test, they will catch her.

What if the time ever comes when one or all of them decide they've had enough? Amy: If they ever came to us and said, "Under no circumstances," then we would have to have a family discussion about what is best for everyone, and then it would be over.

Is what we see real? Amy: Those moments don't represent the last or the next 20 years of our lives, whether we are going through the best times or the most horrible times. You almost want to say, "Can I put a mirror in your face?"

Matt, you were arrested for driving under the influence last summer and found not guilty in January. Did the show influence the trial? Matt: I'm not sure if it helped or hurt the trial. I just didn't think about it. When you've been doing the show as long as we have, if you analyzed everything that happened in your life, you'd drive yourself batty. You just have to let the show take its course. I say, let the good, bad and ugly fly.

If it's so hard, why do it? Matt: I think we have committed ourselves to sharing our story, as raw and painful as it can be, like when the kids to stupid stuff or even my DUI. The funny part is that the very stuff you don't want to share is the stuff that makes the most compelling television.

Fellow reality-TV parents Jon and Kate Gosselin recently came under fire from critics who say that the two violate child-labor laws by allowing their eight children to be filmed almost 24/7. Matt: We can't speak for the Gosselins, but our kids have gotten a lot of benefits from the show, including a weekly paycheck from the family corporation.

How does your show impact how the world sees little people? Matt: Jacob has walked into a grocery store and watched his mom be teased for being a little person. The show can play an important part in society's acceptance of little people. I hate to say this because it sounds so cliché, but we have been called to be part of a show that really celebrates diversity, and I think it has changed a lot of people's viewpoints.

Can you talk about the hints that Matt suffered a heart attack? Amy: His health is just fine.

Speaking of hearts, any advice for marriages on camera or off-screen? Amy: It's all about give and take. There may be ups and downs, but in the long run you have to think about what brought you together, and that is love.

Little People, Big World season 5 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on TLC.

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