In the world of reality television, the search for love has always piqued interest. Perhaps, it’s human nature to want to fall in love. Perhaps, we are all softies on the inside and we just need a sign that the right person is out there. And in the case of the show “90 Day Fiancé,” it seems the right person is always from a different part of the world.
This reality program that airs on TLC takes the search for love on a whole different level. On “90 Day Fiancé,” you’ve got a couple on the verge of tying the knot. But instead of just planning the ceremony and reception, they also have to work their way through customs and immigration to pursue their happily ever after.
As the show’s website explained, “Using a unique 90-day fiance visa, the K-1 visa, the foreigners will travel to the U.S. to live with their overseas partners for the first time. The couples must marry before their visas expire in 90 days, or the visiting partner will have to return home.” Indeed, the premise seems shocking and almost impossible. But some couples do find love this way. On the other hand, there is also a suspicion that some parts of the show were staged for the camera.
Here's what we found about what’s real and what’s not:
20 Fake: Corey asking Evelin to pick him up
In one episode of “90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way,” Corey Rathgeber flew to Ecuador to spend some time with fiancé Evelin Villegas in her own country. Based on the scenes, it seemed like Rathgeber was expecting Villegas to meet him at the airport upon arrival. However, Villegas told her fans on IG Live, “People complain about me not picking him up at the airport, [but] Corey is a great actor. That's all I'm going to say about that. He knew that I wasn't going to show up at the airport because he told me not to do it!”
19 Fake: Caesar Mack being single
According to reports, it seems that Caesar Mack wasn’t even single when he supposedly became interested to start a life with Maria. According to Distractify, one user on Reddit claimed, “He is not being paid a TON. (Like $1,200 an episode I think he said?). But, they pay more for the 'Tell All,' pay for travel and stuff for a lot of shots and he wants to get into doing commercial work, so he took this as an ACTING job. His [girlfriend] was aware of that.”
18 Fake: Caesar looking for love
As you can see, there is some suspicion that Mack’s end goal wasn’t to find true love at all. Instead, he was simply after building up his portfolio. As it turns out, Mack is an aspiring actor. And on a casting call website called Explore Talent, Mack used to have a profile page. According to Distractify, he had listed himself as an “actor and model based in Raleigh.”
17 Fake: Caesar and Maria’s relationship
The other bombshell surrounding this “90 Day Fiancé” couple is the allegation that the two never really had a relationship from the beginning. One Reddit thread stated, “Their relationship was ending before the show even started- and she wasn’t [sic] interested in being on camera, which was the nail in the coffin.” The thread also added, “He says ALL the drama in their relationship was made up by producers. Not like, scripted toooo [sic] much but edited and there was a fair bit of acting on his end.”
16 Fake: Chris asking Annie for a massage
Perhaps, one of the most controversial scenes ever shown on “90 Day Fiancé” involves Chris Thieneman asking his best friend’s fiancé, Annie Suwan, for a massage. Following the backlash, Thieneman’s wife, Nikki Cooper, took to social media with the message, “Yes, the awkward scene of Chris asking for a massage was SCRIPTED. The producer asked him to say it & Chris had to say it more than once because it didn’t come off as natural. We were fed our lines while sitting at the table, which is why no one reacted.”
15 Fake: Ashley and Jay’s relationship
One of the most prominent storylines during the show’s sixth season involves a cheating scandal between Ashley Martson and Jay Smith. At one point, Martson took to her IG and posted, “We have been asked (and agreed for some time) to fake our relationship by not posting anything that makes us appear that we are together. Personally, I thought this show was just for entertainment & that’s what we were told. Since the show has ended I never confirmed the status of our relationship due to the contract.”
14 Fake: Jorge and Chantel’s names
The suspicion among viewers began when they noticed that Jorge and Chantel would be called a different name by some of their relatives. Apparently, Jorge’s real is Andrew while Chantel’s is SeaAir, according to one Reddit thread. Nobody really knows why they chose to use fake names. But some suspect that both wanted to guard their privacy.
13 Fake: Jorge’s business
At one point, Jorge Nava had claimed that he was a licensed marijuana dealer. However, it was the possession of this substance that later led to his arrest. According to a report from Radar Online, police had found as many as 293 pounds of “high-grade” substances in his car. He was then charged for transportation of the substance for sale, possession for sale, possession, and possession of related paraphernalia.
12 Fake: Hazel and Tarik’s relationship
Hazel Cagalitan and Tarik Myers were featured on the second season of “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days,” many questioned the authenticity of their relationship and attraction to one another. For starters, Cagalitan’s confessional seems to indicate that she was only in it for the money. Meanwhile, fans of the show pointed out that the couple wasn’t following each other on social media, which is strange.
11 Fake: Tom Brook’s luxurious lifestyle
It seems that Tom Brooks’ has gotten into the habit of stealing high-luxury lifestyle photos on social media and passing them as his own. Such photos included one of a Louis Vuitton box and Moet champagne being enjoyed poolside. Following his fake posts, Brooks was called out by some of the photos’ original owners. According to Soap Dirt, Brooks attempted to defend his actions by saying they were “paid promotions.”
10 Real: In the beginning, no network wanted the show
While speaking on the Reality Life podcast with Kate Casey, the show’s executive producer, Matt Sharp said that the initial pitch for the show involves following men who are looking to find love in other countries. However, the pitch fell flat with the networks and his team had to return to the drawing board. This was when they zeroed in on the idea of centering the storylines around the 90-day K-1 visa time period.
9 Real: You can’t be cast on the show if your visa is not yet being processed
Before making an appearance on the show, an international cast member must be able to prove that their visa is already being processed at the very least. In short, the show is not responsible for securing the visa. They’re more interested to film the drama that goes on long after you got the visa and you’re thinking of pursuing a relationship with someone in the U.S.
8 Real: Couples typically undergo a strict vetting process
According to reports, cast members undergo an extensive vetting process before being allowed to appear. Sharp said on the podcast, “We have a big background vetting process for all the couples. And we make case-by-case evaluations on couples as we look at them. We're trying to obviously do the right thing. We try to be open-minded...everyone's got some sort of history.” Well said. In fact, we’d like to point out that some cast members do have a criminal history. More on that later.
7 Real: Only American cast members get paid
On the show, it is only the American cast members who get to receive a salary for their appearances, according to E! News. While speaking to Kate Casey, show executive producer Sharp also explained, “Someone who is an international, that would be illegal to pay someone. They would have to have a green card, which they do not.”
6 Real: The show has been sued by former cast members
“90 Day Fiancé” couple Mark and Nikki Shoemaker decided to file a lawsuit against TLC’s parent company, Discovery Communications. According to a copy of the complaint available on Justia US Law, the couple alleged that they were “fraudulently misrepresented on the show.” They also claimed that the show’s producers provided “false verbal explanations and promises” and that “they only signed the release and agreements in reliance on such misrepresentations.” In the end, however, the lawsuit was dismissed.
5 Real: Some cast members have a criminal history
At least two of the show’s cast members possess a criminal record. One of them is Paul Staehle who once confessed on the show, “Roughly 10 years ago I was accused of burning my own property. And I was incarcerated pending trial for 18 months until I took a plea agreement and got on probation.” Meanwhile, cast member Jon Walters had been arrested in the past due to a history of getting into fights.
4 Real: Women are required to take a seat a certain way
During sit-down individual interviews, it does sometimes appear that the women are under a great deal of discomfort. Taking to IG, “90 Day Fiance” star Anfisa Arkhipchenko explained that they are asked to sit “with your legs elevated during interviews.” She also added, “Because producers make all women on the show sit like this if you haven't noticed.”
3 Real: Some scenes are staged
As it turns out, there are staged scenes on this show. And sometimes, its storyline can seriously make you cringe. In season five, the show made Luis Mendez almost appear like a villain. And when someone pointed this out on IG, Mendez responded, “It’s fake more than real.” So yes, don’t believe everything you see on this program.
2 Real: The show has a pretty impressive relationship success rate
When the show’s executive producer, Matt Sharp, spoke on the podcast “Reality Life with Kate Casey,” he also claimed the show has only had three divorces for every 25 couples. But then Arkhipchenko pointed out on IG, “This ’90 days’ are definitely not to get to know your partner because you already know the person you’ve had long enough relationship with and decided you want to marry them. That’s why all of the couples end up married every season.”
1 Real: The show doesn’t do the pairing
The show would only cast couples who already know each other. In fact, the casting information for the show states, “We're looking for American men or women currently in the process of bringing over their international fiancés on a K1 Visa. If you have a tale of international love, we want to hear from you!”
Reference: Distractify, Radar Online, Soap Dirt, E! News