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One of country music’s best friends shares the truth about his blessings and his reality Instagram/@toddchrisley

The price of celebrity is high, and social media has made it even more costly. There are those who believe that if you choose a career in the public eye, you are fair game for imposing eyes, inappropriate questions and that you surrender your First Amendment rights. You become an object, not a person.

And, oh, how those haters love to hate.

Still, “Chrisley Knows Best” star Todd Chrisley feels blessed, and even grateful, because the bright spotlights, judgment and scrutiny are the trade-off from a past that was riddled with challenges.

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In a three-part message posted to his Instagram page on March 4, Todd offers an abbreviated version of the broken road that led him, and his beautiful family, to the position they are enjoying now.

In the first post, Todd says that he is often asked how his USA Network series has changed his life. “I’ve always smiled and said, ‘We are blessed.’ I want to explain what that means,” he writes.

Todd continues, “You guys see me and my family for 22 minutes every Tuesday evening. We all get to laugh, cry and bounce back .But is 22 minutes really enough time to cast judgement on someone or form an opinion so deeply that it causes people to make negative comments or lies told? What some of you may not know is that one year prior to our show being filmed, our family had the worst year of our lives.”

The often hilarious and always sincere patriarch of the Chrisley family explains that in that year, his beautiful wife, Julie, was diagnosed with, and underwent surgery and treatment for, breast cancer. “My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in May 2012, and while Julie was recovering my dad was letting go. We lost him on July 11 2012,” he also reveals. And then, after losing someone so dearly loved, “I learned at that moment that a trusted advisor for our family had been embezzling from our company.”

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Good Sunday to you all today! I have had a heavy heart for sometime now and for some reason God has lead me to write this. I am constantly asked on a daily basis how has Chrisley Knows Best changed your life? I've always smiled and said " we are blessed." I want to explain what that means. You guys see me and my family for 22 minutes every Tuesday evening. We all get to laugh, cry, and bounce back .But is 22 minutes really enough time to cast judgement on someone or form an opinion so deeply that it causes people to make negative comments or lies told? What some of you may not know is that one year prior to our show being filmed, our family had the worst year of our lives. In March 2012, Julie, my rock, my soul, my everything, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The fear was overwhelming. Julie was steadfast in her faith and told me she was going to be fine. Me, being the control freak that I am, lived on the internet. Google became my best friend and my worst enemy. One article was promising and the next was devastating. I lost 15 lbs in two weeks but during that time, while on my knees in prayer, I felt Gods hand on my shoulder telling me to take Julie to Johns Hopkins and she would be fine. I did as God instructed, I knew no one at Johns Hopkins but through a friend at Emory, he connected us with the head of Oncology, the head of radiology, the head of Plastics and the head of surgical oncology. 16 hours of surgery later Julie was out of surgery and on the road to recovery. What I never told anyone was that I had been changed forever because of this situation and the fear that came with it. Julie and I pushed forward. We kept the kids as normal as we could and then the next blow came. My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in May 2012 and while Julie was recovering my dad was letting go. We lost him on July 11 2012. On July 12, 2012 while in the funeral home doing the last thing I would ever be able to do for my dad, we receive a phone call from our banker. I learned at that moment that a trusted advisor for our family had been embezzling from our company. He had been forging our names for years and had done horrible things to us that

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Bankruptcy followed, but in part two of his message the real estate executive says, “I pushed though my bankruptcy publicly because now ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ had been picked up for season one in 2013. Everyone wanted to know, ‘Who are they’ and ‘What are they about?’ People formed opinions from very little info, and what info they had was 90% fiction because it sold stories.”

In spite of the gossip, in spite of the judgment and scrutiny, in spite of the lies, the Chrisley family has forged on thanks to their faith in their God, their faith in each other and even their love of those who supported their show.

“You continued to lift us up and helped place us where we are today,” he writes to his fans. “You accepted us into your lives and in your homes. You accepted each of us for who we are and where we were at that time in our lives. We remained honest with you. You held us to a higher level of accountability and forced us always to remember that, ‘To whom much is given much is required.’”

He adds, “Through daily life, which is filled with all the above; the reason for this is because God promises that he will never forsake you.”

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PART 2 to us that ultimately placed me in bankruptcy which was filed August 2012. I was numb. Was it because of Julie's diagnosis? Was it the death of my father? Or was it the betrayal of a trusted advisor? The fear of Julie dying crippled me. The death of my father placed me in shock. The notice of treachery infuriated me, What was I to do? I focused on burying my father.I continued to help Julie recover. I pushed though my bankruptcy publicly because now Chrisley Knows Best had been picked up for Season 1 in 2013. Everyone wanted to know, " who are they" and "what are they about?" People formed opinions from very little info and what info they had was 90% fiction because it sold stories. We remained steadfast in our faith and each other and continued to push forward. Chrisley Knows Best continued to resonate to millions and you all continued to watch each episode.You continued to lift us up and helped place us where we are today. You accepted us into your lives and in your homes.You accepted each of us for who we are and where we were at that time in our lives. We remained honest with you. You held us to a higher level of accountability and forced us always to remember that " to whom much is given much is required." Before all of you knew the Chrisley's, God had done all the above. He also forced us to grow through fear (Julie's cancer), through heartbreak (my dads death), through betrayal ( former advisor), through shame ( my bankruptcy), through confusion (over choices my kids have made that was outside of the way they were raised). Through daily life, which is filled with all the above; the reason for this is because God promises that he will never forsake you. The reason for this long post is to share with you how Chrisley Knows Best has changed our lives and why I always say " we are blessed". We are blessed because this show has taken our family to places we have never been. It has opened doors that would have never been opened. The most important door was the door to your homes and heart. With every blessing there always a burden. We have given up all of our privacy. There are no longer dinners with family in public without interruption, to whi

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Todd also gets real about the sacrifices that his family makes in order to maintain this relationship with their viewers. He writes, “There are no longer dinners with family in public without interruption, to which we always oblige because we owe that to you. You all helped place us where we are today. Our home has become a tourist attraction to where we can’t step outside to grab the mail in our pajamas because someone is always taking a photo. Men have tried to force themselves into our homes to meet us. They have pulled [son] Grayson from the front door and forced him to take a photo with their child. There was a man trying to abduct [daughter] Savannah from her college. Police have had to get involved for stalking.”

And while the judges will continue to judge and the haters will always hate, Todd has one final message: “We are all the same in God’s eyes. We are not perfect, nor do we claim to be, but my commitment to you is that I will continue to grow, lead, feel and embrace change while standing steadfast in my convictions of what truly matters to me, and that is faith, family, equality and compassion for all mankind.”

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Part 3 -There are no longer dinners with family in public without interruption, to which we always oblige because we owe that to you. You all helped place us where we are today. Our home has become a tourist attraction to where we can't step outside to grab the mail in our Pajamas because someone is always taking a photo. Men have tried to force themselves into our homes to meet us. They have pulled Grayson from the front door and forced him to take a photo with their child.There was a man trying to abduct savannah from her college. Police have had to get involved for stalking. There have bee lies told about us daily because our name sells papers. Our name causes you to click on stories that are fabricated so they can collect fees for every click you make. There are people claiming to know us that we have never met. There are fake accounts being made to lure fans to that page thinking its us. Yet, through all this and so much more, we continue to rise above. We tell the truth about our lives and will continue to do so.And all because we want everyone to know that we are just like YOU. We have the same issues in our lives that all of you have. We struggle with family friction. We have struggled with addiction, betrayal, heartbreak, shame, fear and financial setbacks but we did it together. We can fight amongst each other but we will fight anyone together to protect our family, just as you would. We are NOT better than anyone. We are all the same in Gods eyes. We are not perfect nor do we claim to be;,but my commitment to you is that I will continue to grow, lead, feel, and embrace change while standing steadfast in my convictions of what truly matters to me and that is faith, family,equality and compassion for all mankind. With love and a heart full of gratitude. Todd

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You can’t ask for more than that.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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