Dr. Phil’s Explicit and Controversial Guests Have Kept His Show Running for So Long

Mon May 09 2022

Dr. Phillip McGraw rose to fame as a conservative talk-show host, helping people across the USA get their heads on right. In some cases, though, it seems like Dr. Phil only wanted to stir the pot and create drama that his viewers won’t be able to forget for generations on end. It’s like he knows the secret sauce to make a show unlike any other.

While Dr. Phil might have had real therapist credentials once upon a time, those days are certainly behind him. Now, people come from near and far to have their biggest scandals and circumstances set straight by one of America’s biggest talk show hosts to date. The one question everyone still asks all these years later: did Dr. Phil fix problems, or just create them?

The Awkward Sibling-of-a-Murder-Victim Interview

Twenty years after the murder of his sister, six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, Burke Ramsey finally shared his piece. As far as the world knew, he was just another guy whose family had fallen victim to a major tragedy. However, the surviving Ramsey sibling was either posed to look guilty in his Dr. Phil appearance, or he was just walked right into it.

Dr. Phil stirs the pot, to put things simply. After a very brief moment in which Dr. Phil and his interviewee got comfortable talking about such a tough subject, the television personality quickly made his intentions clear by asking one crucial question. “How do you feel about the allegations that you killed your sister and your parents just covered it up with this crazy story?” This didn’t sit well, and after one suuuper uncomfortable interview, he actually sued Dr. Phil for defamation.

He Thinks He Wrote Taylor Swift’s Songs

Here’s one fan that took things too far. A man named Riley appeared on Dr. Phil’s show back in 2015 after the release of Taylor Swift’s hit single, “Shake It Off.” The man appeared on the show claiming that he worked alongside the Grammy-winning artist to write this song and several others, though she disputed those claims.

Little did Riley know, Dr. Phil is actually friends with the country-turned-pop star and her family. So, he took it upon himself to ask the star and her parents about their relationship with Riley, only for them to confirm that they have never seen or interacted with him. He’s either delusional, or simply wanted his 15-minutes of fame.

Teen Wannabe-Gangster Meets Real-Life Gang Member

Kids seem to always think they’ve got a firm grasp on reality. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case here, when a teenaged boy was brought onto Dr. Phil as an intervention. His parents knew that he just couldn’t move past it on his own and that he really needed to get scared straight.

Dr. Phil’s helper had something major to contribute to the 15-year-old wannabe. “I’ve been shot four times. By the time I was 25, I had [been] 13 years incarcerated. I was first arrested at nine years old. But when I walked outside my house, there was nothing but homies. When I walked back in my house, my father was a homie. When he was not in prison,” Joseph the former gangster said.

The Woman Who Faked Cancer

Meet Patricia, the woman who claimed she had cancer in order to gain financial help from the public. She appeared on her local news station, sharing with her community that she was suffering from stage 3 cancer. Well, that was just an act, and Patricia found herself having to deal with some major fallout after the fact.

Patricia was brought to the show by her daughter, who acknowledged just how far her mother had taken such a ridiculous lie. Patricia was so deep in her tale that she told the show she’d had brain cancer, 17 strokes, brain surgery, plates in her head, pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and two near-death experiences. However, medical records could only confirm that she’d had brain surgery at one point in time.

The Disturbed Sibling

We just can’t wrap our heads around all of these strange cases. When one very bizarre subject showed up to explain why he decided it was necessary to randomly murder their mother in cold blood, this sibling showed the same lack of remorse that his brother had when describing, casually, how he slaughtered their parent.

This little guy… someone needs to save him from himself. Really, he’s absolutely bizarre to be so comfortable going along with the way his sibling so senselessly took their mother’s life. He seemed like if his brother didn’t pull a stunt like that, it very well could have come from him. Why is that? Because weird behaviors run in families.

The Beverly Hills Teen Who Doesn’t Appreciate What She Has

Little-miss-rich-girl from the wealthy Los Angeles, California neighborhood of Beverly Hills was brought onto the show to do one thing and one thing only: to check her privilege. Let’s just say, things did not go how she intended, nor how the show producers intended, either. She was so used to the world being handed on a silver platter, she made demands on her time on the show.

Nicolette Gray came onto the show demanding that her $1,000-a-week allowance be raised to $2,500. She also required a G-wagon for her 16th birthday. She couldn’t be bothered by a Mercedes C Class instead and spent the whole show showcasing her entitlement. She even interrupted the host, making a pretty bold claim. “We’re talking about me here. This is my show.” 

Aneska Horrifies Her Family

Aneska is another child guest that was a bit beyond disturbed. She reportedly had incidents of violence both inside and outside of the home and had been reporting voices that were telling her to do everything that she did. She’d killed the family hamster, and had squeezed the life out of a bird because “voices were telling her to.”

Aneska would choke her siblings, chase family members around the house with knives, and set household linen items on fire to get a rise out of everyone. “Violence makes me feel comfortable,” she once shared. Her parents brought her onto the show to try and resolve some of her behavioral issues and let’s just say, Dr. Phil is far from a miracle worker.

Survivor Contestant Who Broke Down on the Show

Todd Herzog was a participant in Survivor. Years later, he found himself drowning in drug and alcohol substance abuse problems – the complete opposite of what one might expect from someone who had conditioned themselves for the show. His victory on Survivor was severely overshadowed by his behavior on Dr. Phil, years later.

Herzog was in really, really, really bad shape when he appeared on the talk show program. He was so intoxicated and incoherent, that had to be helped onto the stage. Herzog claimed that he wasn’t intoxicated at all before arriving at the studio, which makes us wonder: what on earth did Dr. Phil’s team do to him?

Sexy Vegan

He seemed to be a relatively average guy. That is, until he legally changed his name to Sexy Vegan and even tattooed it all across his face. Seriously, this guy must have lost his mind, which is exactly why Dr. Phil wanted to have him on the show. We can’t help but wonder, yet again, if Dr. Phil just exploited people with mental illnesses.

This man, who legally changed his name to Sexy Vegan, parades around carrying a full-length mirror as he dons a skimpy speedo on a daily basis. He’s compared himself to a Lamborghini (yes, a human-vehicle comparison like no other), and dubbed himself as “the beautiful vegan messiah.” Talk about crazy levels of confidence.

Cash Me Ousside, How Bow Dah?

“Why you leavin’ your car around someone who you know got a history of stealin’ cars?” Danielle Bregoli made multiple appearances on Dr. Phil after her mom needed some help giving her daughter a much-needed intervention. She was entitled to a point of no return, claiming that she could just steal her mom’s vehicle if she wanted to… even if she was just 13 years old.

Unlike many of the other guests on the program, Bregoli managed to turn her appearances on the talk show into a semi-successful rap career. She goes by her stage name, Bhad Bhabie, and has managed to have features with some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop music today, like Megan Thee Stallion.

The Girl Who Hired Hitmen Because Her Parents Didn’t Like Her Boyfriend

Meet Erin Caffey. This small-town Texan had her entire life turned around on a moment’s notice, but everything happened by her own volition. She was pulled out of her small-town middle school and given a strictly religious homeschooling education. When she was finally given an ounce of freedom to get a job at her local Sonic drive-thru, she met the man that would be the reason why she chose to throw everything away.

Caffey met her boyfriend at this job, and when her parents didn’t want them to spend so much time together and questioned her boyfriend’s character, the duo was not having it. As a result, she hired her boyfriend and two friends to murder her entire family and set their home ablaze. They carried out the plan while Caffey hid, and later, she’d learned that her father had survived after it all. They appeared on the show together, trying to make their peace.

He Didn’t Understand Why His Wife Didn’t Want Him Making Porn

Talk about the entitlement of a man who doesn’t want to give up on his hobbies! This Dr. Phil guest came onto the show to reveal a major secret to his wife, one that he initially thought he would “take to the grave.” Coming clean to his wife was a major step, but he shocked the crowd when sharing that he’d made tons of adult films.

He really wanted to get back into the pornography game, so he made his wife come onto the show to have that discussion. It’s not clear if he was just informing her or going full steam ahead without him, but nonetheless, he wanted to make some extra money. He had in turn reached out to an old industry contact in order to return.

Remorseless Mother Murderer

It turns out, Dr. Phil has an affinity for young family annihilators. When Zachary Davis was just a teenager, he murdered his mother with a sledgehammer. He said he just woke up and knew that it was what he had to do. No one seems to be able to grasp his reasoning… because there didn’t seem to be much of that.

Davis appeared on the show just two months before going to trial for brutalizing his mother. This goes down as one of the creepiest interviews of all time in our eyes, because this guy just shared the story of how he took his own mother’s life with such a lack of emotion. Honestly, we’re still entirely creeped out just thinking about it.

Survivor Michelle Knight Tells All

Michelle Knight isn’t a crazy guest herself, but her story sent shockwaves throughout the audience. Knight was one of three women who were abducted by the infamous Ariel Castro in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2002, Knight was abducted, repeatedly violated, and tortured by Castro, a school bus driver and local musician.

She fell into Castro’s captivity after someone she trusted, the father of one of her friends. She was looking to find something specific when he offered to take her to it, only for him to completely bail on what he had promised. She was held captive with Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, who had conceived, delivered and raised a baby in captivity as a result of his horrible treatment of her.

The Teacher Who Didn’t See the Issue at Hand

Tanya Ramirez was 29-years-old when she decided to engage in sexual relations with one of her Texas high school students. He was 17 and she truly felt that she had not done anything wrong! It wasn’t until she learned that the student, whom she had been flirting with for a month prior, secretly taped their encounter, that she saw a problem with her actions.

“I didn’t think it was legally wrong,” Ramirez stated. “I know, obviously, with my profession, I crossed a boundary with the contract that I signed, but legally, I didn’t think I would be classified as a felon, being charged with having sex with a consenting adult.” Needless to say, she wasn’t met with the best response from audience members.

The Unbeatable Sugar Baby Pairing

Talk about a dynamic duo. They may look like any other couple, but they’re far from it. These two are sugar babies, meaning that they date men just for their money. This doesn’t quite mean that they put out in the process, but they certainly milked these men for all they were worth. If they wanted it, they knew how to get it.

Rylee and her mother got into the business together. The two of them are a tag team, and they’ve even gone on dates together. Rylee is a “professional” while her mom identifies as a “rookie.” These two make their entire living from funds given to them by their sugar daddies. Let’s just say… that’s quite a unique way of making a living.

She Thought She Was Carrying Jesus in Her Womb

Let’s just say, this gal was all over the place. She started out by claiming that she was pregnant with Baby Jesus. She was only a teenager when she made claims that she was nine months pregnant with the world’s savior. She often referred to the baby as her savior, but it seems the only person she needed saving from was herself.

The show had called in for medical professionals to consult with the show. Every single pregnancy test taken by this teenager came back negative, and they even went as far as giving her an ultrasound on-screen, which still came back as no baby in her belly. She still didn’t let up and later returned to the show to claim she was Eminem’s daughter.

This Pastor Wanted to Have His Cake and Eat It Too

Pastor Thom came onto Dr. Phil’s show after becoming a polygamist. That’s actually not the biggest twist of all. Not only did he become a polygamist, but he impregnated his new second wife… at just 19 years old. His first wife apparently wanted a polyamorous relationship with her long-time husband.

The newest wife, Reba, was 19 years old and carrying his child. He had actually known her since she was a child herself. The situation was so unsettling that Dr. Phil felt the need to discuss just how uncomfortable the relationship made people feel. Dr. Phil told the three that their relationship may be working for them, but it certainly “creeps a lot of people out.”

Was She Really Tyler Perry’s Wife?

Meet Karla, the woman who was fully convinced that she was married to (or at least engaged) to Hollywood powerhouse, Tyler Perry. She appeared on Dr. Phil claiming that she was Tyler Perry’s wife, however, she was very much not connected to him in any way, shape, or form. She was just another crazed fan with no idea of what was real.

She claimed that she and Perry met over Instagram. He quickly proposed to her over the internet, but almost immediately after, asked her for $100,000. She was left broke as a result. Her own daughters knew it was a scam, but Karla was so deep into her delusion that she had even convinced herself that she was the father of Perry’s actual son.

The Original Catfish Victim

Meet Lois, who refused to admit that she was being scammed by her virtual boyfriend, a man who went by “Fred Adler.” She didn’t want to accept that she was just being swindled by the idea of a relationship with this fantasy character. She couldn’t endure the pain that would be inflicted upon her if she would just admit to the truth.

This woman needed a serious intervention. She was honestly convinced that “Fred Adler” was her soulmate, but just couldn’t accept that she was being scammed. As a result, Dr. Phil felt it was necessary to hire a life development coach to help her understand just how ridiculous she sounded. We’re still not sure if that knocked some sense into her.

She Was Only 75 Pounds During Her Interview

Dr. Phil began his career as a doctor of the mind and there’s no shock that he wanted to keep his career as such. He had one guest that was a mere 75 pounds at the time of her appearance. He wanted to break down the walls that led her to develop such an intense eating disorder. To make matters more extreme, she called herself “the best at being anorexic.”

The guest, a girl named Jordan, was convinced that everything she was doing to her body was worth it if it gave her the attention she so craved. She admitted to loving the looks she received. She loved the attention she got from looking like a human skeleton. Though it didn’t warrant positive attention, she felt that it was worth the danger she put herself in.

This Guy Weighed More Than 700 Pounds

There was one guest in particular that broke the scale this show measures guest issues with. This guest broke both the figurative and physical scale. Seriously, this guy’s life couldn’t have been easy to end up looking like this, especially since his massive weight gain came over time. He hadn’t looked at a scale in a whopping 5 years.

Dr. Phil’s staff had to bring an industrial scale onto the stage in order to be able to weigh this guy. After the show, he was sent to a weight loss program. There, he was able to drop 260 pounds. Unfortunately, though, he was not able to keep the weight off and gained some of it back. We can only hope that he’s healthy and doing alright now.

Does Dr. Phil Fix Problems, Or Just Create Them?

Dr. Phil brings people from across the country to confront some of their biggest demons, but some of these guests could argue that Dr. Phil really created issues where there wasn’t much of one. Specifically, when he’s dealing with people struggling with addiction, he brings up issues that are a little hard for some to bring back to the surface.

Though people will reach out from all corners of the earth trying to find their fifteen minutes of fame. While so many people reach out to Dr. Phil for legitimate help, they find themselves also having their dirty laundry aired on national TV. We can’t help but wonder; would these people have their problems sorted on their own, for better or for worse?