Reality TV stars don’t live happily ever after- they’re all human beings, just like us. They’re susceptible to animal attacks, can be hurt in car crashes, paragliding accidents, and also battle with addiction.
Read on to find out about reality stars who have battled with some of these things and ultimately losing their lives in the process.
Here are 14 of the biggest reality stars who died tragically.
Steve Irwin – The Crocodile Hunter
When the world heard that the amazing Crocodile Hunter had died, the immediate thought was that it was probably caused by an extremely large and dangerous animal.
On his show, he had a habit of tangling with animals of those sorts, so it was only natural to assume that this would cause his death.
But that was not the case.
While snorkelling in Australia’s famed Great Barrier Reef, Steve Irwin was struck in the chest by a stingray. The barb was said to pierce his heart, leading him to bleed to death. At the time, he was filming a documentary entitled Ocean’s Deadliest and his death was even captured on tape.
Anna Nicole Smith – The Anna Nicole Show
Anna Nicole Smith’s life was highly publicized from the time she married a man over 60 years her senior when she was just 27. She gained more popularity over the years and she eventually scored her very own reality TV show.
Unfortunately, the star did not live to the age of 40 as she was found unconscious in a Hard Rock hotel, back in 2007. When the autopsy was performed, it was revealed that she died due to “combined drug intoxication,” which caused an accidental overdose.
Sadly, the drama continued after her death, with the custody battle for her newborn daughter.
Daniel Smith – The Anna Nicole Show
Daniel Smith, son of Anna Nicole Smith, was only 20 years old when he died in his mother’s hospital room. The world got to know him due to his appearances on The Anna Nicole Show, so when he was reported to be dead, everyone was shocked. It was a huge bomb because his mother was in the hospital at the time and about to give birth to his half-sister, Dannielynn.
It was revealed that he had accidentally overdosed on a mixture of Zoloft, Lexapro and methadone – some of which he had stolen from his mother.
Daniel died three days before his sister was born in the Bahamas.
Russell Armstrong – The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills
The world knew Russell Armstrong as a businessman, but more so the extremely quiet husband of former Beverly Hills housewife, Taylor Armstrong. Russell hanged himself in his house in 2011. Initially, his family believed foul play might have been a factor since the investor was accused of defrauding others. Plus, it was a known fact that Russell had encountered numerous run-ins with the law for tax evasion in the nineties and early 2000s.
After Taylor filed for divorce, they were both hit with a lawsuit and an article was released that Taylor’s plot on the show would document her struggles in a “loveless marriage.” Russell allegedly killed himself the same day the article was published.
Eric Hill – The Bachelorette
You may or may not remember Eric Hill from ABC’s hit TV show, The Bachelorette, back in 2014; he was among the cast of men fighting for Andi Dorfman’s affection but, the stud was sent home relatively early during the show.
Eric was paragliding in Utah when tragedy struck and he was transported to the hospital by a helicopter before he was put into a coma and died, which wasn’t long after he got eliminated from the show.
After his passing, his sister shared a message with his fans on social media, informing them of his death and telling them that his life may have been short-lived, but he definitely lived it to the fullest.
Julien Hug – The Bachelorette
Julien was one of the contestants on Jillian Harris’ season of The Bachelorette. On the show, the young man was eliminated during the second week of the show, but his death shook fans over the world.
Sources say that his body was found in a remote area off a highway in California, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
His parents found a suicide note addressed to them shortly after, the contents of which read, “I’ve suffered from severe depression for years. I feel awful and don’t know how to cope. If life’s not enjoyable, why stick around?”!
Gia Allemand – The Bachelor
Yet another member of The Bachelor nation’s life ended abruptly when fan favourite, Gia Allemand, passed away at the young age of 29. On the show, she fought for Jake Pavelka and she even made it all the way to the final three before being cut from the show. She also appeared on The Bachelor’s spin-off show, Bachelor Pad, later in 2010.
Despite her seeming bad luck on the show, Allemand did find love afterwards and she went on to live in New Orleans with her NBA boyfriend, Ryan Anderson.
However, her happiness and life were cut short, when Gia was found unconscious in her home before passing away two days later.
Authorities had ruled her death as a suicide.
Ryan Dunn – Jackass
Ryan Dunn and his crew of Jackass castmates were notoriously known for their insane stunts on the show. Unfortunately, it appeared that Ryan also lived that way in his daily life and it resulted in his death by the young age of 34.
While Dunn was driving at 130 miles per hour with a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit of Pennsylvania, his Porsche 911 GT3 crashed into a guardrail near West Goshen Township, before the vehicle burst into flames and Ryan was not able to get out.
Joey Kovar – The Real World: Hollywood
The world’s first met Joey Kovar when he was cast on MTV’s Real World: Hollywood back in 2008. While on the show, he revealed that he had indeed struggled with substance abuse.
Sadly, he relapsed and ended up seeking treatment for his addiction to ecstasy and cocaine on VH1’s hit show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew. Two years after appearing on the show, Joey died of opiate intoxication. But he is just one of many reality stars who starred on Celebrity Rehab, who later lost the battle with addiction.
Mindy McCready – Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew
Mindy McCready got her start in the music industry back in 1995. Her life was not paved with roses, as she had gone through an abusive relationship, two alleged suicide attempts while pregnant in 2005 and yet another one in 2008. So in 2009, fans weren’t shocked to see her as a cast member on Celebrity Rehab.
She is said to have gone through an unintentional drug overdose but on February 2013 the musician went on to end her life. What may have prompted her to do so, maybe due to a previous death that came as a shock to her. A month before the musical took her own life, her “soulmate” and “life partner” had taken his life at their shared home; Mindy killed herself in the same way and in the same spot her boyfriend, David Wilson did, leaving two children behind.
Jeff Conaway – Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew
Jeff Conaway became known for his role as Kenickie in the iconic Grease film, but the actor was later offered more acting roles during his career, as he later went on to star in the Taxi and Babylon TV series. Conaway was also seen on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where it was revealed how extreme his addictions were, despite always being very candid about them. Him being allegedly molested as a child resulted in him becoming an addict as a teenager- something which continued until his death.
In May of 2011, the actor was found unconscious from suspected use of pain medication. But it was then revealed that his true cause of death was pneumonia and a dangerous blood infection.
Mike Starr – Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew
In a long history of deaths associated with Celebrity Rehab, Mike Starr’s was one of the first. He first starred on the show in 2009, where he returned for yet another round, this time on Sober House, a short year later, where it had become very clear that his addiction was pretty severe.
Sadly, he lost the battle with drugs and died from an overdose in March of 2011. His was death was followed by Jeff Conaway’s one, that same year.
Jennifer Lyon – Survivor Palau
On Survivor’s 10th season, we got to meet and fall in love with Jennifer Lyon. Thirty-three at the time she appeared on the show, this young woman managed to place fourth, overall, on her season in Palau.
About a year later, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. After raising awareness and doing her part in the fight against cancer, she died in 2010- despite undergoing chemo and a double mastectomy. She was honoured on the show after her passing.