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Reasons Why Breaking Amish Is Totally Fake

Reality TV has come a long way since MTV threw a bunch of young people into a house together and called it The Real World. What was once considered a niche genre has become as common as the fictional drama, though even in the early days of reality TV there were those that doubted whether what they were seeing was truly unscripted. In the years since, countless so-called reality shows have been accused of fudging facts, but few of them have raised as many red flags as TLC's Breaking Amish.

Jeremiah Raber was pictured outside of the Amish community in 2007

Self-styled Amish rebel Jeremiah Raber was introduced to Breaking Amish audiences in the show's first episode, in which we saw him telling his Amish girlfriend he's leaving for New York and a taste of the city life. TLC led viewers to believe this would be Raber's first time living outside the Amish community, though doubt was cast on the authenticity of his story when he was recognized by an ex-Amish blogger.

Certain that he had seen photos of Raber 'dressed English' before the show was filmed, the curious blogger decided to check out his old MySpace profile and found that it, along with Raber's Facebook account, had been deleted. Unfortunately for Raber, he hadn't set his profiles to private before getting rid of them, and his old photos were still accessible using Google's page cache. The shots, which show him out of Amish attire and in regular clothing, date back to 2007—five years before the show first aired.

Jeremiah was married and divorced before the show began

The same blogger who dug up the images posted on Raber's deleted MySpace and Facebook pages also discovered a court document confirming Raber was actually married with three children before he started filming Breaking Amish. The document (which can be found here with a simple name search) states that Raber tied the knot in 2005 with a woman named Naomi Stutzman, who filed for divorce on the grounds of "extreme cruelty" and "gross neglect of duty" in 2011, a year before the show commenced.

Divorce is grounds for excommunication in the Amish world, and is only sanctioned in extremely rare cases. A divorced person being welcomed back into the community and being allowed to date an Amish woman while his ex-wife is still alive is even rarer, leading people to speculate that his co-called Amish girlfriend was actually an actress.

TLC reportedly tried to buy Stutzman's silence

Raber's ex-wife Naomi Stutzman has corroborated claims that he left the Amish community on several occasions before supposedly doing it for the first time in the show's first season. In a clip from a CBS 21 news report, Stutzman is said to have personally revealed details of her correspondence with TLC, before cutting off contact with the news outlet all together. CBS 21 claims Stutzman had been offered "whatever she wanted" to keep quiet about her ex-husband's true past, and that TLC had already paid off part of Raber's outstanding child support payments, which stood at a staggering $20,000.

Stutzman also reportedly confirmed that Raber (who was in his thirties when Breaking Amish first hit screens) hasn't lived Amish since he was 18 years old, laughing off claims that her former partner had never used a mobile phone or sat behind a steering wheel. She told Star that Raber was "always known as the guy with the coolest cars, and he bragged to me that he had outrun the cops 19 times!"

Rebecca and Abe already knew each other well

Rebecca Byler and Abe Schmucker only knew each other through attending the same church, according to Breaking Amish producers, with the pair supposedly having little to do with each other before the show despite living in the same community. The couple went on what viewers were told was their first date on the show, though a Facebook page dedicated to exposing it as a fraud cast further doubt on Breaking Amish's authenticity when they posted pictures reportedly taken from Abe's brother's profile before it was switched to private.

The snaps not only confirmed that Byler and Schmucker already knew each other before they married in the season one finale, but that they appeared to have a child together. This photo shared by X Amish Atheist is thought to be the happy family in 2011, a year before the first season aired. After the image was shared online, Byler admitted that she did indeed have an infant baby, though she refused to confirm who the father was: "I do have a daughter. She's 19 months old. I wasn't with my ex when I found out I was pregnant. But I did call him and tell him, and he absolutely denied that it was his. I was glad he denied it."

Abe wasn't Rebecca's first husband

Byler's claims that her child was fathered by her ex-partner led to furious digging from both fans and detractors of the show, and before long his identity was exposed on Breaking Amish The Expose, another Facebook page dedicated to proving the show is fake. Court records showing that a Rufus Hostetler of Solen, North Dakota filed for a divorce from one Rebecca Jane Byler from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in July, 2012 were posted on the page, though a closer inspection of Hostetler's own Facebook account revealed that they had been separated for at least two years at that point, thanks to Abe. He wrote on his wall: "I am tryn 2 figure out why in th world abe schmucker wud want to b a friend on face book afterall he left wht my wife."

It isn't the first time that diligent viewers have dug up dirt on Byler: this photo of her at a pool party shows her wearing nothing but a bikini, despite claiming to be too modest to wear one on the show. The owner of the photo confirmed that it was taken in 2010, two years before shooting on Breaking Amish began.

They drank alcohol before the show

Like his fellow cast members, Schmucker had supposedly never allowed a drop of alcohol to pass his lips before cast members set off for New York City. He specifically told viewers he had never partied before, though this mugshot taken in 2008 tells a different story. Schmucker was arrested by officers in Kentucky for being intoxicated in a public place, four years before he claimed to have his very first drink on the show.

This isn't the only alcohol-related incident to rock the Breaking Amish camp, with bishop's daughter Kate Stoltzfus' drinking also landing her in trouble with the law. Stoltzfus was arrested for driving under the influence while visiting Florida in 2012 (where she later admitted she had been living before appearing on Breaking Amish), just months before the show was due to start. While it could be argued that this incident took place after shooting had wrapped, X Amish Atheist claims that Kate hasn't lived the Amish lifestyle in years, dressing non-Amish, driving cars and even working in a Ruby Tuesdays.

If further proof was needed that Breaking Amish wasn't Stoltzfus' first experience with the real world, it came in the form of a profile she created on Explore Talent, a website for aspiring models and actors. This capture quite clearly shows that she entered the website's 'best smile' contest back in 2010.

Cast members have admitted it isn't all real

Stoltzfus (who now goes by the name Kate Stoltz and has launched a career as a model and fashion designer) shifted blame for the show's shady setups away from the stars and onto the Breaking Amish producers. She sent out a series of Tweets claiming that she was "bullied and harassed" during filming and "made to look bad" in the editing room if she didn't go along with their stories. She went on to accuse producers of feeding fake stories to the media so they could use them when planning follow-up series Return to Amish.

"Producers even released articles in the news when planning the season so that they could use them to support storylines," she alleged. "I stayed quiet for four years, scared of what would happen if I would tell the truth. I'm not holding back anymore."

She isn't the only cast member to admit that certain sections of the show were manufactured. When asked during an interview exactly how much of Breaking Amish was genuine, Jeremiah Raber said, "I would have to say about 60 percent is real. I'll let the viewer decide which part that is."

Chapel's cancer was cover for her drug addiction

Another revelation Stoltz shared with her Twitter followers was the allegation that her castmate Chapel Schmucker-Peace pretended her cancer had returned to cover up a serious heroin addiction. "Chapel was NOT doing chemo when the show was filmed," Stoltz said. "She was in remission and had us all fooled into thinking she was very sick." Stoltz also revealed she hadn't heard from Chapel since she found out that her cancer "wasn't back back like she said it was."

In 2015 Schmucker-Peace and an accomplice were arrested in a parking lot after selling a Tylenol bottle full of heroin to an undercover police officer during a sting—and it wasn't the last time she'd face drug charges. The following year she was picked up during a mass drug bust in the DuBois area, with officers not only recovering yet more heroin from the Amish-born suspected dealer, but also $90,000 worth of crystal meth, $27,000 in cash and several dangerous weapons.