The TLC reality television series Rattled focused on the struggles of new parenthood from the point of view of several couples and managed to distinguish itself by expanding its focus beyond the typical first-time parents. The backstories of each set of parents added not only to their distinct storyline, but also how they raised their children. From newlywed couples to one night stands, Rattled covered a plethora of couples from various backgrounds to try and reflect some of the unique stories of today’s society. Though this wasn’t TLC’s first venture into the world of parenthood, the series definitely stood out among its programming for its approach to breaking the stereotype of “typical” parents. After its debut in 2016, the series gradually gained loyal viewers and sparked conversations among parenting boards and social media over each week’s episodes. The series not only introduced new couples, but revisited some of the more popular pairs of the previous season. Season three, which premiered in July 2018, focused on four new couples and returned to past stars from earlier seasons.
The behind-the-scenes tidbits of the series shines more light on the journeys of some of these couples, from their dreams of becoming parents, to the hardships of their new realities. We’ll also explore the making of the series and reveal a few stories about its early beginning, the production, and its future. Here are 20 Wild Details Behind the Making of Rattled.
20 Drew Barrymore Served as Executive Producer
Known for her roles as a child actress (as well as her extravagant lifestyle early on) actress Drew Barrymore has built a solid acting career for over 40 years. Her portrayals have included iconic roles in films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Scream, and the Charlie’s Angels franchise, while her work in television includes Grey Gardens, The Amy Fisher Story, Santa Clarita Diet, and voice roles on The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Although the majority of her work has been in front of the camera, Barrymore has shifted her focus to more behind-the-scenes work since 1995. With the establishment of Flower Films, Barrymore set her attention to creating passion projects for both television and film, and in 2016, TLC announced she would serve as executive producer for the new reality series Rattled.
19 Third Reality Show Produced by Barrymore’s company, Flower Films
Flower Films, established in 1995, began with the partnerships between Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen, film producer and wife of Jimmy Fallon. Their first produced film came in 1999 with the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed, which starred Barrymore as the lead. Their company continued to produce Barrymore-led projects including Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Fever Pitch, Music and Lyrics, and He’s Just Not That into You. The company even produced Barrymore’s directorial debut film, Whip It!
Also, they extended their productions to include various television programs as well, with projects such as Olive, the Other Reindeer, Charlie’s Angels, and the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet. Their ventures have also added two reality shows: Tough Love Couples and Knife Fight. Rattled served as their first venture into a family-focused reality series and became their third reality TV project.
18 Casting Initially Searched For Various Groups
Much like other reality shows, casting a new series can be quite challenging. With no established reputation nor audience, casting directors often cast a very wide net to locate interested participants, and several Facebook groups with very targeted audiences had postings for the series in their specialty groups.
The postings included the following text: “Casting a TLC docu-series that tells the stories of new parents as they navigate diapers, 4 a.m. feedings, and everything in between. Casting personnel state: Is your pregnancy story unique? Are you expecting your first or will this baby be born into a blended family? Are you living with your in-laws or will you be a single mother?… Did you think you were finished having children and are [surprised] to find you are having multiples?” Also, they emphasized that “all ethnicities” were welcomed.
17 Despite looking for Diverse Couples, none have been featured on the series
One of the many challenges faced by reality TV today continues to be inclusivity. With the growing recognition and acceptance of diverse lifestyles, more networks have tried to ensure that their programming reflects the changing times as well. Unfortunately, some companies have resisted making significant changes just for this reason and have kept their shows the same. Even popular dating reality shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette only showcase relationships between men and women.
However, TLC attempted to find diverse couples in their search to cast Rattled. Casting posts included requests for any same-gendered couples expecting, “trans and pregnant,” or “alternative lifestyle and pregnant” parents across the country. In the end, though, the series has yet to cast any of these couples in its three seasons.
16 Initial Casting Calls Targeted Several “Oddly Specific” Types of Parents
Although the casting directors for Rattled made focused efforts to find a diverse cast for the show, their search also veered into some precise searches. Namely, they looked for groups of people that would draw in audiences because of their extreme uniqueness in backgrounds. Considering TLC’s other programming has included Breaking Amish, Little People, Big World, and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, their push to find the same type of varied cast is no surprise.
In the listing for potential cast members, they specifically asked for: “Circus performers,” “pregnant in a polyamorous relationship,” “off the grid and pregnant,” and “little couple expecting.” They even expressed an interest in couples that were “planning on welcoming a newborn [into their] polygamist lifestyle.”
15 The Paternity Controversy With Krystal and Jarrel Was Real
Many of the stories on Rattled followed a couple’s first journey into having a child, and the backstories for many of these soon-to-be-parents often added to the tension of their unusual situations. For example, season one participants Krystal and Jarrel had a complicated history to begin with. Having been friends for more than ten years, they decided to give dating a try, but they only last one month and broke up to return to being friends again.
However, a few weeks later, they discovered Krystal had gotten pregnant. Unfortunately, Jarrel questioned the paternity of their child, thinking the date of conception couldn’t make him the father. Fans witnessed as he took a DNA sample from baby Boston behind Krystal’s back, but in the end, he most definitely was the father. Despite the drama-fueled setup, this situation was actually real.
14 The Quad Squad were Well-Known Before the Series
For season one couple Ashley and Tyson Gardner, their journey to having children came with an unexpected surprise. The series documented their mission of being parents to quadruplets and the stresses that come along with it; however, their appearance on the show was thanks to their established fame prior to the series.
Back in 2014, the couple gained fame when pictures of their surprised expressions (upon realizing that they were having quadruplets) went viral. Soon, they garnered over 500, 000 Facebook followers as they chronicled their journey to parenthood. They also received lots of donated gifts and supplies thanks to their newfound fame. By the time the couple were selected for the series, their story of the aptly named “Gardner Quad Squad” had become well-known.
13 Doug Fernbacher Promoted His Children’s Book During Its Airing
Season one couple Doug and Mars faced many issues becoming first-time parents. The two were not married as Doug had been through a “bitter, acrimonious divorce” in the past. Although the couple faced many issues in their relationships, they remained together throughout the process. In fact, their appearance on the series seemed to be more than a means to chronicle their struggles together.
After the series began airing, Doug took to Facebook to promote his children’s book, Colorblind, in February 2016 hoping to take advantage of the new viewers and fame from appearing on the series. He also hoped that the series would help promote “love and caring for other children of different races and creeds.” Since then, the couple has been promoting the book on television, conventions, and various events across the country.
12 NY Red Bulls Midfielder Sal Zizzo filmed the series during his first year with the team
Most of the couples on Rattled became very popular after their appearances on the series, with some past cast members even cashing in on their new celebrity status by promoting their projects, books, and tours across the country. Surprisingly, the series selected a few established celebrities to join the show as well, attracting their fans to tune in every week.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Sal Zizzo took part in the first season of the series, narrating his journey into parenthood with his wife, Destiny Moniz Zizzo. His journey proved additionally tough as he was also in the middle of his first year with the NY team. Despite the added pressure, Zizzo enjoyed his time on the show, stating: “It was a fun little thing to do, and my wife really enjoys doing stuff like that.”
11 Josh and Aly were recruited for season Two thanks to their website
Season two stars Josh and Aly faced some serious issues when trying to grow their family. After Aly received treatment for stage 3 breast cancer, she found out it would be almost impossible for her to conceive children. So, they decided to adopt instead. However, nine months after adopting their daughter, Genevieve, the couple discovered Aly was pregnant.
The couple decided to document their journey through a personal blog on their website, but thanks to their story (and Aly’s aunt), it became of interest to Rattled producers. Aly recalled, “[My aunt] said that it just struck her one day to email a casting director at TLC and just send them the link to our website. She expressed that she never expected a response, but they responded very quickly.”
10 Rachelle Chapman’s Inspirational Story Resulted in Her own Rattled Special
Although many of the background stories for the couples on Rattled were compelling, none touched the hearts of audiences like the story of Rachelle Chapman. Chapman experienced a traumatic injury back in 2010 during her bachelorette party after a friend playfully pushed her into a pool. The action impacted her neck as she hit the water and Chapman was left immobilized from the chest down due to a C6 spinal cord injury.
Becoming known as the “paralyzed bride,” she began a website chronicling her journey from the accident to her marriage. Despite her injuries, the couple decided to start a family with the help of her friend Laurel Humes being their surrogate. TLC dedicated a special episode titled Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother’s Story to highlight her journey into motherhood.
9 Former Professional Wrestler Brooke Adams Kept the News of Her Pregnancy Hidden
When Brooke Adams and fiancé Weston Wayne Piper debuted for season two of Rattled, few fans of the series knew the real history of the mother-to-be. Adams began her career with the WWE as a dancer for Extreme Expose and then moved to TNA in a non-wrestling role, but she eventually became a full-time wrestler on TNA Knockout.
As part of the Aces & Eights storyline, Adams became a three-time champion on the show; however, in 2015, Adams abruptly announced that she would be leaving her wrestling career behind and it wasn’t until the announcement of her involvement with Rattled that fans realized the truth behind her departure. Adams revealed that she left professional wrestling because she and her fiancé were expecting their first child together.
8 Brooke and TLC’s OutDaughtered star Danielle Busby bonded over the “Pump and Dump” Episode
Adams’ journey into motherhood was met with many obstacles, including her issues with her changing body. As a wrestler, she maintained a very athletic build, something she soon realized she would have to give up with her pregnancy. Other issues included her lost income as a wrestler and her change of lifestyle after having her son, Jace.
In an effort to regain some normalcy again, she and her husband decided to go drinking in the episode “Pump and Dump.” As the title suggested, Brooks decided to pump her tainted breastmilk and dispose of it to protect her baby. As she tweeted along with the episode’s airing, fellow TLC star Danielle Busby (OutDaughtered) joined in the discussion online. The two stars even bonded over their experiences with next day hangovers combined with “pumping and dumping.”
7 The filming schedule was very spread out