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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
You can’t ask for more than that.