How reality TV’s most wholesome family plummeted from grace: Inside Todd Chrisley’s decades-long marriage and his role as ‘devoted’ dad of five – as gay affair claims and fraud allegations shatter picture-perfect on-screen image
- Chrisley, 53, who shot to fame as one of reality TV most wholesome stars, was accused of having an affair with his male business partner in the early 2000s while facing accusations he evaded $2 million in taxes
- The reality star has been married to Julie Chrisley, 49, for 26 years and they share five kids: Lindsie, 32; Kyle, 30; Chase, 25; Savannah, 24; and Grayson, 16
- Todd’s reality TV show Chrisley Knows Best portrays him as a Christian family man; it has been running for nine seasons on the USA Network
- The reality TV couple is currently undergoing trial for fraud and could face up to 30 years in prison
Reality TV star Todd Chrisley has built his on-screen career on maintaining an image of a devout Christian, devoted father, and loving husband to his wife and the mother of his five children. But last week that picture-perfect persona was shattered amid claims that the 53-year-old had a gay affair with a former male business partner – who also alleged that he helped him to commit fraud.
On his USA Network series Chrisley Knows Best, Todd documented his life as a dedicated father who was focused on raising a family with perfect manners and strong morals alongside with his wife of 26 years, Julie Chrisley, 49, and their five children Lindsie, 32; Kyle, 30; Chase, 25; Savannah, 24; and Grayson, 16.
But now, as Todd and his wife stand trial for bank fraud and evading taxes of up to $2 million, the wholesome family image that they have spent so long projecting to the world has quickly been torn apart.
Over the years, Todd has been accused of being ‘controlling’ and fabricating perfection for the sake of the show., however the family has somehow seemingly managed to maintain their enormous fan base, with their series still remaining on-screen even as they weathered the allegations about his behavior.
However, in 2019, Todd and Julie were accused of embezzling a staggering $2 million – bringing fresh scrutiny over the wholesome Southern image that they have so long projected onto TV screens the world other.
Picture perfect? Todd Chrisley, wholesome husband to wife Julie and father to his five kids, pictured in 2014, is thrown under bus by male business partner who claimed they had an affair
He and his wife could face up to 30 years of jail time after facing charges of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, five counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of tax fraud.
On top of going from Southern gentlemen to possible criminal, cracks have emerged on the surface of his and Julie’s marriage after his alleged gay lover spoke out in their fraud trial, telling the court that he not only had a fay affair with Todd, but that he also helped the reality star to commit fraud.
Mark Braddock testified that he and Todd had an affair for about a year in the early 2000s before breaking it off. After the affair ended, he claimed the pair stayed friends and formed a ‘brotherhood’ and eventually helped him embezzle.
Later on, while he was working at Chrisley Asset Management, Mark says he was threatened by blackmailers who claimed to know about the affair.
‘Pay cash and we’ll shut up,’ he claims the blackmailer threatened over text.
According to Mark, he and Todd ended up paying the blackmailer $38,000 to stay quiet. However, the silence didn’t last for long, with the former business partners ultimately having a major falling out that led to the end of their professional relationship.
In 2012, Todd threw Mark out of his office and called the police, which caused Mark to feel vengeful and started sending emails that lead to him tipping off the FBI about Todd and his wife’s criminal activity.
Here’s a deeper look into the illusion the Chrisleys have managed to maintain for a decade.
Todd and Julie tied the knot in 1996 and have stuck by each other’s side through thick and thin over the years.
The Chrisley family matriarch had a breast cancer scare and had to get a double mastectomy in 2012, with Julie previously recalling how her husband stood by her side throughout the entire ordeal.
‘He never flinched,’ she said of her husband’s reaction while talking to The Tennessean in 2018. ‘I truly believe that moment took our relationship to a whole new level.’ In fact, she claimed he was the one who inspired her to get tested.
Todd has also doted on his wife and their seemingly perfect marriage.
In May 2020, he dedicated a heartfelt Instagram post to her, writing, ‘I was fortunate enough to marry the only woman I’ve ever loved, my best friend, my person that truly gave me the confidence to take on this crazy world and prosper spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and financially, the best mother I could have ever hoped to have for our kids.’
The two even embodied the spirit of partnership when they embarked on the journey to lose weight together.
In January, they told DailyMail.com that Todd lost 13lbs while Julie lost 27lbs.
‘It truly has been something that we’ve bonded over,’ he shared. ‘It has made us closer because it’s something that we talk about.’
Throughout the course of their marriage, Julie survived a health scare and the two, pictured in 2018, embarked on a weight loss journey together
Both Todd and Julie, pictured in 2017, had been married once before and their relationship may have even had some overlap with their previous marriages
Both Todd and Julie had been married once before. In fact, their relationship may have had some overlap with their previous marriages.
‘Kenny and Julie were high school sweethearts,’ Julie’s former sister-in-law told Radar in 2017. ‘Kenny was married to Julie when she started seeing Todd.’
It’s certainly not impossible considering Todd was married to his high school sweetheart Teresa Terry from 1990 to 1996, the year they tied the knot.
His relationship with Teresa was reportedly not the marital bliss he and his current wife Julie claim to share.
Teresa told DailyMail.com that he was ‘more vindictive than you could possibly imagine’ back in 2014.
‘He likes to control his environment. That is one part of the show that is no fiction and it drove me crazy,’ she explained.
Teresa added: ‘The house always had to be perfect. That drove me nuts. I had two small kids and there could be no toys out, everything had to be picture perfect like a show-room.’
However, there was a dark side to his controlling nature and Teresa accused Todd of physically abusing her on multiple occasions.
She claimed that on or about October 21, 1994, he ‘battered’ her while she was driving until she pulled over and ran away. When she went home to pick up some belongings she claimed he, ‘stripped her of all her jewelry’ and threw her out of the marital home, ‘until he was tired of caring for the children.’
On November 2 of that year, she claimed he he ‘wielded a knife threatening to kill her’ and that she fled to a neighbor’s home until she felt safe that Todd had left their still shared property. Three days later, she claimed he ‘tore all of her clothes, including her undergarments, from her body and battered her using his closed fist.
‘I don’t know what happened to Todd really. I’ve known him a very long time and I know that he’s not all bad,’ she said of his behavior during and after their marriage.
‘There’s good in him. He can be very witty and fun company, but if he doesn’t get what he wants you’d better believe there will be consequences.’
A source close to the couple, pictured in 2018 claimed that their relationship is just for show and that they ‘can barely even tolerate each other’
Despite the friction, the source claims ‘Todd and Julie will never split’ because they need to to keep up this image that they have the perfect family’
She also weighed in on the rumors about Todd being gay before his lover came clean on his behalf.
‘I know there are reports saying that he’s gay and I can see why. But I married him and I had two children with him so obviously I don’t think he’s gay,’ she stated.
‘If he comes out of the closet in the second season I’ll be shocked.’
However, when asked about his sexuality on the Domenick Nati Show in 2017, Todd didn’t deny the rumors and said they didn’t ‘bother him.’
‘In order for it to disappoint me, it would mean that I don’t agree with someone being gay. I don’t believe that’s a choice that you make. I believe that you are the way that God has made you,’ he said on the show at the time.
‘I’m flattered that people think I can get laid on both ends. So, that doesn’t bother me. And my wife certainly is flattered that as many men want her husband as there are women.
‘With that being said, I’m never going to have a drought. You on the other hand might. But Todd will never have a drought.’
Regardless of the alleged infidelity and past relationship scandals, it doesn’t seem like Todd and Julie will be parting ways any time soon.
‘Todd and Julie will never split,’ a source told Radar back in 2017. ‘They both need each other to keep up this image that they have the perfect family.
‘Things are very different between the two of them when the cameras are not rolling. It’s like night and day.’
The source added that the couple ‘can barely even tolerate each other.’
Todd’s family has been divided over their reality TV series Chrisley Knows Best
Chrisley Knows Best premiered in 2014 and has been running for nine seasons
In the same year that Todd and Julie tied the knot, they also welcomed their first child, son Chase, who became younger half-sibling to his father’s two children from a previous marriage, Lindsie and Kyle.
Daughter Savannah was born the following year in 1997, however their youngest son Grayson didn’t come along until about 10 years later in 2006.
However, while the couple’s five children have appeared alongside him on TV for years, Todd’s oldest children, Lindise and Kyle, have admitted in the past that they have come to distrust their father.
‘My dad is all about control. He’s vindictive and manipulative,’ Kyle told DailyMail.com of his father’s personality in 2014. ‘He’s a snake and if there’s a snake in the grass you don’t know but hell it’ll bite you when you go by.’
Meanwhile Lindsie made headlines when she reportedly told police that her father had tried to extort her and buy her silence about his alleged fraud by threatening to release her sex tape.
The 32-year-old has spoken to ET about how she feels she’ll never be able to give her father for the pain he has caused her.
‘There will never be a reconciliation,’ she told the outlet. ‘I think that the most that anyone could ask for at this point is for everyone to go on with their lives as they see fit and to just leave the other side alone.
‘But at this point, there will be no chance for reconciliation.’
Lindsie accused her father of threatening to leak her sex tape if she spoke about the alleged fraud her family is involved with
Kyle claims that his father only wanted custody of his daughter Chloe for the show’s demographics
Todd gained custody of Chloe after he got arrested on drug charges he admitted to having a drug problem but also called his dad ‘vindictive’
The scandal has caused division within the family, with Lindsie’s half-sister Savannah leaping to her father’s defense and insisting that her older sibling had made up her claims about there being a sex tape to release.
She expressed to DailyMail.com that it’s ‘extremely sad that Lindsie is using a sex tape that doesn’t even exist to get her five more minutes of fame.’
‘I know how they’ve raised up and the values they’ve taught us,’ she said. ‘So if they’ve taught up then they have those values themselves,’ adding that her parent have ‘hard evidence’ to back up their innocence.
Kyle, who quit the family’s reality show after the first season, also alleged in his 2014 interview with DailyMail.com that ‘the whole [show] is fake’, alleging that his father would force the family to re-film scenes over and over again in order to ensure that they were to his liking.
‘He micromanages everything so if you say something and he doesn’t like it he’ll say, “Stop” and tell you what to say and you’ll do it again,’ he iterated.
He added: ‘This show has been nothing but bad for me. At this point he’s ruined me and he’s ruined the other three kids he’s had who are spoiled.’
Kyle shares his eight-year-old daughter Chloe with his then-girlfriend Angela Victoria Johnson – who has continued to be featured on the show even after he parted ways with it.
The family has explained that they gained custody of Chloe after Kyle was arrested in 2013 and struggled with drug addiction. Kyle has admitted that he has ‘been in and out of rehab probably 20 times in my life’ but claimed that he had been a year sober during the time of the interview.
Chase shared that Chrisley Knows Best got its start after a producer friend of his dad’s suggested they filmed a pilot and ended up receiving ten offers
Savannah has always stood by her father’s side and says one of her favorite things about him is ‘how loyal he is to his family’
Grayson is Todd and Julie’s youngest son at 16 years old
Even though Kyle has owned up to his mistakes, he’s still not happy that Todd and Julie were granted full custody.
‘My dad showed no interest in Chloe at all until the show and until it was pointed out that having a mixed race child and getting her and all that would be good for his demographic,’ he explained.
‘He didn’t want to see her before then. He said he wanted nothing to do with her.’
‘But I’m not taking a chance on him ruining my daughter. I’m not taking a chance on him being part of my daughter’s life and with Todd Chrisley everything is extreme – it’s all or nothing. So it has to be nothing.’
The three children Todd shares with Julie – Savannah, Chase and Grayson – have all stood by their dad’s side.
They have appeared on every season of the reality TV show and have not spoken negatively about their parents to the press.
Savannah and Chase often go on press tours for the show.
While speaking to Jared and Katie in the Morning, Savannah used it as an opportunity to dote on her father, saying, ‘My favorite is just knowing how loyal he is to his family,’ while adding that one of his flaws is that ‘he always thinks he’s right.’
Chase quipped in response that she’s the same exact way and when asked, said that she is the most like their father out of anyone in the family.
Todd and Julie are charged with fraud: Jail time could finally end their reality show once and for all
Todd, pictured in 2015, was first accused of committing fraud in 2019
In 2019, the notoriously Christian and wholesome reality TV couple learned they would be investigated for fraud.
Prosecutors alleged that the couple submitted fake documents to banks when applying for loans, and Julie submitted a fake credit report and fake bank statements when trying to rent a house in California.
The couple then allegedly refused to pay rent on the property for a few months after they started living there in October 2014.
Additionally, Todd and Julie have been accused of using a film production company to hide their income in an effort to keep the IRS from collecting $2million in unpaid taxes Todd owed the federal government.
Following the investigation, the couple made a statement in 2021 maintaining their innocence on Instagram.
‘So blessed and grateful for all of those that knew the truth and stood with us side by side to reveal it,’ Todd wrote.
‘So much more is still to come about how this entire tax situation came about and how all parties were seeking recognition based on lies, criminal conduct, and trying to advance their careers.’
Following the investigation, the couple made a statement in 2021 maintaining their innocence on Instagram
He claims that he was ‘unfairly targeted’ by a ‘disgruntled employee’
The reality TV star, pictured in 2020, claims that he and his family have ‘nothing to hide’
He went on to say they were ‘unfairly targeted’ and that a claim a ‘disgruntled embezzling employee’ framed them for the financial crimes.
‘It all started back in 2012, when we discovered that a trusted employee of ours had been stealing from us big time.’
He claimed that the employee had created ‘phony documents, ‘forged their signatures, and even threatened ‘other employees with violence’ if they said anything.
He added: ‘I’m telling you all this now because we have nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of. Not only do we know we’ve done nothing wrong, but we’ve got a ton of hard evidence and a bunch of corroborating witnesses that proves it.’
Now, he faces trial and if he is found guilty, he and Julie could go to prison for up to 30 years.
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