There's no denying that audiences love TLC's Little People, Big World and it's hard to believe that a little more than 10 years ago, the network first introduced us to the Roloff family of Helvetia, Oregon. Following the daily doings of parents, Matt and Amy with their four children, Zach, Jeremy, Molly and Jacob, the show was an instant hit, generating solid ratings for TLC.
Critics and fans also embraced the show for its realism in the emerging reality TV realm, specifically of its parents Matt and Amy, who have dwarfism and the struggles they face raising one child with dwarfism and three others unaffected by the condition. However, like most reality TV families, the Roloffs haven't exactly been able to avoid controversy either.
Aside from the divorce of Matt and Amy during the show's run and the positive impact they created with educating the world about dwarfism, there are have been a few dark moments involving various members of the family, both publicly and privately.
Jacob Roloff was 'forced' to star on the series
Of the four Roloff children, Jacob is one who instead spends his time away from the cameras. Only 9 years old when the show debuted, Jacob spent his formative years in a bubble, letting audiences grow up with him. Not a fan of such a direction, he has told reporters he doesn't have much of a positive experience with the TLC series.
Earlier this spring, Jacob wrote in a lengthy blog post on his website that the show was "fake." He went on to accuse the producers of creating storylines that were "harmful" — mostly when they handled his parents' divorce. "I saw tears in my mom's eyes, and I suddenly realized that this staged 'joke,' 'fake' thing was effecting real life in a profound way," he wrote.
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You know that feeling of dread when someone is scrutinizing you and you think, “hey, this might be true about me,” until they slip up and say something totally bonkers and wrong, and you sigh with relief because they are *so* off base? I feel this every. single. time. I see a headline regarding ‘rifts’ in my family. It is just so simply and surely untrue! This is a good picture of a pure, early, easy, fun time in my life. From “Tao” in #OutToSee: “My parents have always been pretty amazing. They both succeeded in life, had a family and provided for and gave their kids all that they wanted, within disciplined reason. My dad taught me practical, mindful things like chess, how to build a fire, and other sorts of exercises in basic critical thinking to a degree that I still carry the lessons with me today. He was also a great storyteller, sitting all of us kids by the fire and telling stories of “dark, windy nights.” My mom, always making sure we knew we were loved, supported all our efforts and hobbies as often as she knew about them, even coaching all of us kids in soccer in our early years. She also instilled in us a very good sense of manners and respect that I find myself appreciating more and more everyday.”
Matt Roloff has been arrested twice for a DUI
Before having his own show and being one of the more beloved patriarchs in reality TV, Matt Roloff was arrested in 2003 for driving under the influence after his car swerved into a ditch. Despite an official convicted charge of drunk driving, his charges were dismissed the next year upon completion of an alcohol diversion program.
However, in 2007, he was pulled over once again after an officer spotted him driving erratically after leaving a bar. Matt pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, with the latter dismissed due to a combination of jury misconduct and failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the reality TV cast member had been driving under the influence that night.prevnext
Jeremy and Audrey Roloff's controversial remarks
According to Radar Online, Audrey expressed her displeasure via an Instagram Story with cosmetics giant CoverGirl over openly choosing gay male model James Charles as their brand ambassador. With an image of Charles from a campaign poster, Audrey noted she was "confused" about him as their new model, telling followers she was not a fan of the "message" it sent.
Additionally, in a blog post for Beating 50 Percent, she wrote their site was "not claiming to be a resource for same-sex marriages," as the couple states same-sex marriage is "not something we agree with." She went on to stress that same-sex couples can read the site if they wish, but that they are for "opposite-sex marriages that are striving to give more than average to their marriages."
While Jeremy has been known to speak out against those using the word "midget" when describing little people, it was discovered a few years ago that he was using quite a bit of racial and homophobic slurs on his MySpace page when conversing with friends.
Radar Online states that when Jeremy was a teenager, his MySpace was riddled with numerous examples of him freely using the N-word, as well as gay slurs and derogatory comments about Latinos. He also badmouthed fans of LPBW, and bragged about drinking alcohol.
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Neighbors of Roloff Farms aren’t fans…
Thanks to the success of the TLC reality series, the Roloff clan's family farm has taken off as quite the tourist attraction in Oregon. But while they earn quite a lot from their 34-acre farm that is open to the public every year for pumpkin season, the farm has often become overcrowded thanks to fans.
But according to fans and neighbors, the farm is a waste of time and an "over-priced celebrity gawk-fest," leaving many residents in the area upset with the crowds. It was once shut down by law enforcement after it was deemed a safety hazard.
Moreover, a woman told Radar Online that when she was visiting the famous farm, she fell off a pavilion, claiming to have suffered a "fracture of her left femur and tearing of the tissues, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the left leg, resulting in $100,000 in medical bills." She suggested that the Roloffs were to blame as they failed to "install guard rails at or near the open sides of the picnic pavilion" and did not "warn the public about the danger posed."prevnext
Jacob Roloff’s family ties and arguments over money
While Jacob tells the media he was not a willing participant on the reality series, there have always been several claims that he was also not well-compensated for the years he was on the show. In a message posted to his official Twitter, Jacob alludes to the fact that TLC did not pay him what he deserved.
Man I wish it didn't feel like I was getting fucked out of the money from the show that was my childhood right now— Jacob (@ffoloR_bocaJ) August 30, 2015
Jacob not only stopped appearing on the show altogether following contract disputes, but he is also mostly estranged from the rest of the Roloff family. As soon as he turned 18, he left home to live on his own. While it is unsure if he is still in contact with his father, Matt and brother, Jeremy, on Instagram on a frequent basis, he does keep in touch with Zach and recently met up with his nephew, Jackson. He also follows his sister, Molly on the network.prevnext
Matt Roloff began dating a former employee after his divorce from Amy0comments
The charm of TLC's reality series about the Roloff family was how tight-knit the unit was. Still, when Matt and Amy Roloff announced their separation in 2014 and the beloved patriarch went on to the dating world, audiences were taken aback to learn he was with a former employee of the Roloff Farms.
OK! Magazine reported that Matt began dating the farm's longtime manager, a family friend, and show regular Caryn Chandler shortly after his separation. To make matters even more awkward, it was reported Amy and her now fiancé, Chris Marek, were shocked to learn her ex-husband had moved on with the Roloff Farms employee. Matt and Amy's divorce was finalized in May 2016.