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MTV's The Real World: 16 Fascinating Fates of Past Cast Members!

MTV’s The Real World has a very special place in pop-culture history. Not only is it one of television’s longest-running reality series ever, but it is also seen as responsible for launching the very popular and lucrative genre of modern reality TV. The show began back in 1992, and is currently in production of it’s 29th season, on the heels of recently finishing the airing of The Real World: Portland. (The list of seasons and cast members is extensive.)

The show is important not just for its effect on TV programming — spawning so many of its own spin-offs and inspiring so many other reality shows — but for its effect on our entire culture.

Robert Thompson, the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, wrote about the importance of the show:
“It was perhaps surprising, then, that the show also exhibited a positive element of social responsibility. Those who are unfamiliar with the early seasons of The Real World may be unaware of the sincere and earnest conversations that could be heard on many episodes. The celebrated third season, for example, may have done more to raise the consciousnesses of young people about AIDS and tolerance than any public school curriculum was doing at the time.”

With the recent passing of Pedro Zamora’s partner Sean Sasser, both TV trailblazers in their openness of being gay and having AIDS, we began wondering what happened to other notable stars of past Real World houses. We’ve collected 16 fascinating fates of the Real World past. Check them out here:

  • Remembering "The Real World" of Yore 1 of 17
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    Click through for 16 fascinating fates...

  • Jamie Chung 2 of 17
    "The Hangover Part III"  Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

    Jamie has come a LONG way from her days on The Real World: San Diego in 2004. She is a successful working actress who is currently starring in ABC's Once Upon a Time as Mulan. She has also appeared in Grown Ups, Premium Rush, Sorority Row, The Hangover Part II, Princess Protection Program, and Sucker Punch.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

     

  • Kyle Brandt 3 of 17
    32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

    After the Real World: Chicago in 2002, Kyle went to the fake world — he got a job on soap operas! He was on Days of Our Lives for four years. After also appearing in indie films, he became the executive producer of The Jim Rome Show. You can follow him on Twitter right here.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Puck 4 of 17
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    Puck (David Rainey) was a punk, and one of the most notorious Real World cast members. The San Francisco cast member was a bad boy, a prankster, and pretty much very Puck-ish. And sadly, it appears he never grew up. He has been in and out of jail. In 2012 he went to prison for charges of stalking, he was released, and then in June of this year he was arrested again. This time for domestic violence. His real world ain't very pretty.

    Photo Source: CDCR via ABC

     

  • Tonya Cooley 5 of 17
    Tonya

    Tonya Cooley of The Real World:Chicago (aired in 2002) kept living on screen after the Real World cameras stopped rolling, she appeared in a whole bunch of Real World spin-offs shows. But that's not all, she then went on to star in more "adult" entertainment type stuff like being Playboy's Cyber Girl of the Week, Girls Gone Wild, and Cinemax's The Erotic Traveler.

    And last year, she settled a suit against The Real World production. E! reported that, "Viacom-owned MTV Networks and Bunim/Murray Productions have settled the suit filed by Cooley last year, in which she claimed she was kicked off of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins after complaining to producers that she was sexually assaulted during filming by roomies Evan Starkman and Kenny Santucci while she was passed out."

    Photo Source: Twitter/ Tonya Cooley

  • Irene McGee 6 of 17
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    Irene McGee was on The Real World: Seattle in 1998, and left the show early after a turbulent season, one in which she was slapped on screen by another cast member. She left reality TV behind and started No One's Listening, a podcast about the mass media and culture. Her Twitter feed says she is, "a charming young lady with a penchant for cats. She likes tomatoes."

    Photo Source: Twitter/Irene McGee

  • Pedro Zamora 7 of 17
    200px-Pedro-and-me-judd-winick

    Pedro Zamora made a huge impact with his participation in The Real World: San Francisco in 1994. He was one of the very first openly gay men with AIDS to also be open about his HIV+ status. He brought much attention to those living with HIV and put a face to the often stigmatized disease. Pedro was very active in bringing attention to the HIV+ community with his activism and an appearance in front of congress. Pedro lost his battle with AIDS on November 11, 1994 when he was just 22. His partner Sean Sasser, who also appeared on the show, just passed away this August at the age of 44.

    (Above is a book by fellow Real World co-star Judd Winick called Pedro and Me, a touching tribute.)

    Photo Source: Amazon

     

  • Eric Nies 8 of 17
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    After The Real World: New York in 1992 - the very first Real World season - Eric Nies continued his partnership with MTV, going on to host their show The Grind. He also appeared on VH1's Confessions of a Teen Idol. He later opened up about his substance abuse issues and is doing outreach to help others.

    Photo Source: Twitter/Eric Nies

  • Sean Duffy 9 of 17
    59f4e2a7ffef37b67c857bc6ebb3fa7a

    That would be CONGRESSMAN Sean Duffy to you! Yes, the Real World star from The Real World: Boston (aired in 1997) went from the Ashland County District Attorney to the Republican Wisconsin State Representative. You can read more about his political life on his site right here.

    Photo Source: Twitter/Sean Duffy

  • Judd Winick 10 of 17
    a9b09e527d29d56c698aae513f14baae

    His Twitter profile states that he is a "cartoonist. reality tv has-been. pinko. song and dance man. y'know. I'm right over here." And a successful cartoonist he is. After his Real World: San Francisco days, he penned the the autobiographical graphic novel Pedro and Me and went on to work on comic books like Green Lantern and Green Arrow. He also created the Cartoon Network series The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, and now he writes Catwoman and Batwing. He married Real World: San Francisco co-star Pam Ling and they have two children.

    Photo Source: Twitter/Judd Winick

  • The Miz 11 of 17
    2nd Annual Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards - Arrivals

    Michael "Mike" Mizanin, aka The Miz, went from The Real World: Back to New York in 2001 to the fighting ring! He is a very successful WWE wrestler, and he's also made appearances on Ghost Hunters, Psych, Pair of Kings and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

    He is currently engaged to fellow wrestler Diva Maryse Ouellet.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Jacinda Barrett 12 of 17
    2011 Glamour Reel Moments Premiere Presented by Clarisonic - Arrivals

    Jacinda Barrett got her start on The Real World: London in 1995, and has had a very successful acting career since. She has had roles in The Human Stain, Poseidon, The Namesake, and Middle Men and she's appeared on Suits alongside husband Gabriel Macht. She now stars on ABC's new series Zero Hour.

    She and her Suits star husband have a daughter (born in 2007) named Satine Anais Geraldine Macht.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Joey Kovar 13 of 17
    MTV's Real World XX: Hollywood Premier Party at Excalibur Night Club - April 11, 2008

    It was a tragic end for the Real World: Hollywood star Joey Kovar. He died in Chicago at the age of 29. After being on The Real World he did a stint on VH1's Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew to address his substance abuse. According to reports, he died from "opiate intoxication."

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Rachel Campos-Duffy 14 of 17
    rachel

    Rachel Campos-Duffy of The Real World: San Francisco has been busy, busy making babies! 

    After her days on The Real World, she went on to be a TV host, including most recently as a recurring guest host on The View.

    When she was on MTV's Road Rules: All Stars, she met Sean Duffy of the Real World: Boston cast, the two fell in love, got married, and now have six children - Evita Pilar (October 1999), Xavier Jack (November 2001), Lucia-Belen (April 2004), John-Paul, Paloma Pilar (May 2008) and MariaVictoria Margarita (April 2010).

    Photo Source: Twitter/ Rachel Campos Duffy

  • Kelley Limp 15 of 17
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    After The Real World: New Orleans in 2000, Kelley Limp went to Los Angeles and worked in marketing. In May of 2004, she married Scott Wolf, the actor of Party of Five fame. The couple have two sons, Miller and Jackson. 

    Photo Source: Twitter/Scott Wolf

  • Mallory Snyder 16 of 17
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    Mallory Snyder of The Real World: Paris (aired in 2003) went on to a very glam job — she became a model, and a Sports Illustrated-worthy swimsuit model at that.

    Photo Source: Twitter/ Mallory Snyder

  • Tami Roman 17 of 17
    VH1 Divas After Party to Benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation

    The reality TV career of Tami Roman did not end after her stint on The Real World: Los Angeles in 2003. After her Real World days, she acted in shows such as The Drew Carey Show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, JAG, and Summerland. But she is now most famous for her role on VH1's hit series Basketball Wives

    Photo Source: PR Photos

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