'Laguna Beach's' Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti spill season 1 salary: How much do reality stars make?

Stars of 'Jersey Shore' to the 'Housewives' have spoken out about their salaries

Since reality TV first started to air, the quantity — and quality of the shows — have increased with some series becoming so popular, they spawn spin-offs. 

Shows like 2004's "Laguna Beach" to Bravo's "The Real Housewives" and MTV's "Jersey Shore" have all sparked reboots or revivals over the years — not to mention they've launched some of its personalities into stardom. If they market themselves properly, in addition to the reality TV fame, the stars can become bonafide celebrities, gaining brand deals, sponsorships, book deals — and become a brand just by being themselves.

Here is a look at what some reality stars are paid, according to statements they’ve made in the past.


‘Laguna Beach’ - Kristin Cavallari

Kritin Cavallari, Talan Torriero, Stephen Colletti

Talan Torriero, Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti at a meet-and-greet event for fans of "Laguna Beach." They all made $2,500 for the first season of the show. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage for Kohl's / Getty Images)

Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti debuted "Back to the Beach" on Tuesday, a podcast during which they rewatch episodes of "Laguna Beach" and talk about it, giving fans behind the scenes facts no one knows.

The two co-stars dated in the early years of the show and got friendly again after Cavallari divorced her husband, Jay Cutler. They lost touch while she was married but reconnected recently and were even rumored to have kissed as part of that reconnection.

In the debut episode, Cavallari and Colletti revealed what their salaries were for the first season, saying it wasn’t a lot at first, but they renegotiated for the second season and were able to get more.

Cavallari remembered getting paid $2,500 for the first season, which was 11 episodes. Colletti, however, claimed it was less than that, saying, "I don't even think it was that much. I think it was $2,000. Lauren (Conrad) and I renegotiated for season two."

‘Jersey Shore' - Vinny Guadagnino

The cast of Jersey Shore

The cast of ‘Jersey Shore’ wasn't paid for the first season of the show, and only made money from working at the Shore Store. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Jersey Shore" took the reality TV world by storm when it premiered on MTV, and introduced many phrases into the cultural zeitgeist. While the first season was a big hit, it seems like the cast wasn’t paid anything for appearing in that season. 


"We did the first season for nothing, zero dollars, except whatever we made at the Shore Store. Me and Ronnie, the first week, we told production, ‘Listen, I think we have to leave. We don’t have any money.’ I’d just graduated college, I didn’t have a job," Guadagnino told Vulture in 2018.

"They started off at $10 an hour, then it went to $15, and then I think I gave them 20 bucks an hour at the very end," Danny Merk, owner of the Shore Store, said. "You live in a beach house for free and get 20 bucks an hour? It was great money!"

‘Real Housewives’ - Carole Radziwill 

Carole Radziwill

Carole Radziwill negotiated for a higher salary after it was made known to her that first time Housewives typically are paid $60,000. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Smash + Tess / Getty Images)

Carole Radziwill joined Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City" in its fifth season after half the cast was fired due to a forgettable fourth season. She was known to the public prior to joining the show for her work as a journalist and for her New York Times bestselling memoir "What Remains."

"The first season you don’t get paid really anything," she explained on the "Behind the Velvet Rope With David Yontef." "The first year everyone gets paid $60,000. I was like, ‘I’m not doing it for [$60,000]. I’ll do it for a hundred.’ They had blown up the show at that point and right. They’d fired like four people … I guess they were desperate."


She added that she and the rest of the cast were able to renegotiate to $150,000 for the second season, which is when she found out her fellow castmates Heather Thomson and Aviva Drescher agreed to the $60,000 offer.

‘Dance Moms’ - Abby Lee Miller

"Dance Moms" premiered on Lifetime in 2011 and launched the careers of many of its young cast members, including Maddie Ziegler, Jojo Siwa and Chloe Lukasiak.

In 2015, Abby Lee Miller, the controversial dance teacher and studio owner featured on the show, revealed the dancers on the show were paid $1,000 per episode during the first four seasons of the show and $2,000 for the fifth season. She also revealed she was paid $1,500 per episode.

It is unclear what the girls were paid for the remaining two seasons, but it can be assumed their salaries were higher since the popularity of the show grew, as did the girls’ star power, especially Maddie’s and Jojo’s.

‘90 Day Fiance’ - Danielle Jbali 

90 day fiancé panel

"90 Day Fiance" star Danielle Jbali said the cast gets paid $10,000 for the season, if they are featured in the entire season. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc. / Getty Images)

Danielle Jbali from TLC's "90 Day Fiancé" spoke with Domenick Nati while on "The Domenick Nati Show" and gave a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like to be on the show, including what the cast is paid.


"I would say it’s around $10,000 if you’re in all the episodes for the season," she explained. "When I first started in 2014, we got half of it upfront and half of it at the end of the season. They hold it so if you break your NDA you don’t get the rest of your money."

The NDA she signed nine months after the last episode she was in aired, so she is free to speak up.


"I’ve always had a job, even doing the show, I’ve always kept my job. I’ve never quit my job. I’ve always kept it because you can’t live off of not knowing if you’re gonna be filming again," she said. 

‘Teen Mom 2’ - Chelsea DeBoer 

Chelsea DeBoer and Cole DeBoer

DeBoer's ex-boyfriend revealed on Instagram that she made close to $300,000 for season 6 of "Teen Mom 2." (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Chelsea DeBoer started appearing on MTV's "Teen Mom 2" in the show’s first season and quickly became a fan-favorite cast member. Fans saw her struggle to get over her ex-boyfriend and baby daddy, Adam Lind, to finding love and getting married to her husband, Cole DeBoer.

While DeBoer never spoke publicly about her salary, Lind posted her earnings on Instagram.

"Last year it was 250,000 for the little princess," Adam claimed in an Instagram comment. "Chelsea’s contract will be up to 300,000 plus for new seasons."


He also revealed their daughter, Aubree, made $50,000 that season.