Five famous reality-show fakers
Now that E! News has confirmed from Defenders of Freedom -- the charitable group supporting the troops in which Poe was involved -- that the aspiring country crooner was actually wounded in training, not combat as he claimed, and that a photo that aired on "Talent" of Poe in action wasn't even him, we thought it'd be a good time to look back at five of the most memorable reality show frauds.
Let the vetting begin!
1. Rick Rockwell ("Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?"): TV viewers will recall Rick as the so-called multi-millionaire who chose E.R. nurse Darva Conger from a pool of 50 women to be his bride on Fox's insta-marriage of a reality show back in 2000. Unfortunately for producers, it wasn't until after the series ended that they discovered Rockwell had a restraining order filed against him by an ex-girlfriend. Not only that, but with assets barely totaling $2 million, he wasn't even really a real estate mogul but rather a sometime stand-up comic and corporate speaker -- and Rockwell wasn't even his given name! No wonder Conger got their short-lived marriage annulled.
2. Keith Michael ("Project Runway," Season Two): This would-be designer got the boot from Tim Gunn after fellow contestants found pattern-making books in his room in violation of the show's ban on any such materials to prevent plagiarizing designs. In a big behind-the-scenes brouhaha, Michael denied the accusations. But "rules are rules," as Gunn says.
3. Jonny Fairplay and Russell Hantz ("Survivor: Pearl Islands," "Survivor: Samoa"): Call them the "Survivor" liars. Granted, there's plenty of fibbing going on in the long-running CBS reality show as contestants aim to outwit, outlast and outplay one another. But save original "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch, who went to jail for tax evasion, Fairplay and Hantz are two of the show's most practiced deceivers. The former, real name Jon Dalton, hardly lived up to his stage moniker, when he constructed a lie about his grandmother dying to gain sympathy from his fellow tribemates. Later, Hantz earned infamy for claiming to be a Hurricane Katrina victim among other shady tactics.
4. Frenchie Davis ("American Idol"): She could belt R&B with the best of 'em, but this semifinalist and fan favorite on the second season of the Fox reality juggernaut was disqualified after failing to fess up about topless pictures she had taken for an adult website when she was 18. Davis claimed she had talked with production staff about it, but no matter. Since it was a family show, she was ousted. The singer did redeem herself however when she popped up on the most recent season of "The Voice," taking second place on Christina Aguilera's team and making the final eight.
5. Ryan Jenkins ("Megan Wants a Millionaire"): Inarguably the most notorious of all reality-show frauds, Canadian-born Jenkins was one of 17 rich dudes vying for the heart of ex-"Rock of Love" contestant Megan Hauserman. Just three weeks after the VH1 series' premiere, the network canceled the show after learning Jenkins was wanted for the 2009 murder of his swimsuit model-wife Jasmine Fiore, whom he had a history of assaulting. Before police could find him, he committed suicide.
*Special honorable mention:
Balloon boy hoaxsters Richard and Mayumi Heene: This storm scientist and his wife briefly appeared on ABC's "Wife Swap" and desperately wanted their own reality show, but when they couldn't get one, they resorted to the next best worst thing. In October 2009, the Heenes executed a stunt where they claimed their then 6-year-old boy -- named Falcon, natch! -- was trapped in a wayward weather balloon. Eventually, it turned out he was hiding in a box in the attic of their garage. The pair subsequently pleaded guilty to felony charges over the stunt to avoid jail and as of press time still don't have a reality show.
--Additional reporting by Sharareh Drury
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