Life after Reality TV

October 30, 2009

Especially when the limelight doesn't dim and it starts attracting strange behavior and the interested eyes of everyone.

The good. The bad. The downright ugly. Reality show drama draws viewers in and turns the once-unknown people into instant celebrities.

Reality star Reid Rosenthal knows all too well what it's like to lose anonymity.

"I tried the undercover thing with the hat, the Phillies hat and, it doesn't work," said Rosenthal.

Rosenthal is a former reality star from Philadelphia and appeared last season on The Bachelorette.

When the cameras stopped rolling, he went back to real life as a Center City realtor...or so he thought.

But, Rosenthal rumors kept coming up on tabloid t-v and in gossip magazines.

Rosenthal went on The Bachelorette in search of love. He came home without a bride.

But, then women he had never even met came searching for him.

"You took a chance to be on television, I'll take a chance and call you," said an anonymous phone caller.

The requests were often amusing.

"Fan mail coming into my office, free gifts, people offering me to come fly up to meet them stay at hotels," he added.

But, the silliness became suddenly serious.

"I have a hacker who writes me emails in all caps locks explaining what he or she is going to hack next," he said.

Rosenthal says someone began to hack into his personal accounts.

"Then goes into all my emails and reads them and deletes messages only from girls," said Rosenthal.

The situation became serious, effected business and Rosenthal says he had to turn to authorities.

"So I have the FBI involved and um they've deleted all of my work emails so ah that's the downside to it," he said.

Locals Helene Eksterowic and Gwen Gioia also know the downside to being launched into the spotlight.

Back in 2002 they both appeared on Season 2 of The Bachelor.

Helene even won the bachelor's heart.

"I just figured it would be an experience then I'd go right back to my job, my family, my friends," said Eksterowic.

But, that wasn't the reality for the Depthford, New Jersey school psychologist.

"The tabloids are after you and people are knocking on your door and also hassling my parents. I was followed a couple of times in my car and on the street and it is alarming," added Eksterowic.

For Gioia life after reality took some unpleasant twists.

First, someone tried to impersonate her in dating ads.

She also became a target of the tabloids.

But, what was even more alarming.

"It was very scary that somebody could try to be me, it was hard for me to prove. And, I was floored that my name was also being used on porn site," said Gioia.

Gioia says before she signed on, she wished she'd known what she could have been in for:

"You do need to think about what happens after the show. I think sometimes people don't think about what can happen to their reputation after that," added Gioia.

But, despite all the negative publicity, all three stars say they wouldn't trade the experience they had on the show. The reality stars also say they try to use their new found fame for the good, by volunteering around our community.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.