The True Stories Behind 3 Reality TV Families

Doug Bender

May 28, 2019 | 3 minute read

 Michael Ketterer

As Michael Ketterer sang on stage on America’s Got Talent, his daughter, five sons, and wife stood in the wings. He grew up feeling fatherless. Singing now as a father of six reminded him of the journey God had brought through.

“I came from a broken family. My dad left when I was 14 years old. He was working through so much inside of himself that we kind of got put on the back burner.”

“I was really confused, because my dad was like a hero to me. I was confused what it looked like to be a man and to be a father.”

“I definitely didn’t feel like we were qualified to have a child, especially me. As a matter of fact, when we found out my wife was pregnant, we both cried.”

“But I’m not alone in this. God is our Father. My Father who’s been behind me, who has pushed me through so many struggles, He’s with me in this moment and we can do this together.”

Watch the full story here and learn how Michael and his wife overcame their fears and adopted five sons after almost losing their newborn daughter.

Michelle Aguilar

Michelle Aguilar and her mother won the chance to compete on The Biggest Loser. Whoever could lose the most percentage of weight would win $250,000. The problem? Michelle hadn’t talked with her mother since she had walked out on her father.

“When I looked at my mother, I thought, ‘I’m here with somebody that, when I look at you, I see the source of my pain and I see the source of my weight gain. While everybody has somebody that they love and that they feel connected with, I’m here with somebody that I hardly know.’”

“When I would get really upset or depressed, I would think, ‘I need comfort and I think food will work.’ I had put on a hundred pounds [since my parent’s divorce.] I was not in control of the food. It was not making me happy. I assumed that the smile on my face masked it all. My smile was my armor.”

“We were in a challenge [on the show]. I hit my tooth and chipped it. When that tooth got chipped, I felt like somebody had just stripped away my armor and said, ‘Look at you! Your smile is gone now.’”

“I told God, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’ve tried to do this myself. My last defense is gone. My armor is gone. I need you. I put my trust in you.”

“I needed to forgive my mom. I didn’t know how. Unforgiveness made me sick on the inside, but when I let go and trusted God, there was a peace that God gave. The God that I loved is the God who forgave me of all my mistakes. I knew that if God could forgive me, I could do the same. A huge burden was lifted off of me.”

Watch the full story of how God used a reality television show to change Michelle’s life and not just her weight.

Reed Robertson

The Robertson family rose to fame as the reality television stars of “Duck Dynasty.” Reed, as a grandson in the family, had to grapple with growing up in a family as famous for their faith as they are their duck call business.

“I thought I was better than everyone else because of who my family was. I started getting really cynical and looking down at other people. I thought I had it all figured out”

“Before I knew it, I was all alone. No one wanted anything to do with a cynical person like me. That’s not where you want to be in your spiritual walk. It eventually led to thoughts of suicide.”

“Finally, my dad sat me down. He was like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ That’s when I really started to think. I opened up to him. I told him that I wanted to kill myself. I hit rock bottom.”

“He told me, ‘That’s the most selfish thing that you can do: leave this world.’ I really believe that that’s true. I just thought about it. I was going to leave all these people that I could have a really huge impact with because I feel bad and have a cynical attitude. That’s what turned me around.”

“My family taught me that God is gonna love you no matter what. They love me no matter what. They try really hard to be like Jesus. They have instilled that in me. I’ve done some pretty stupid things, and they love me no matter what. I know that God loves me no matter what, too.”

Watch Phil, Kay, Jep and Reed Robertson tell the wild tale of a broken family made whole again.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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