There are few cushier jobs in the world than starring on a long-running reality show.
Sure, you have to put your personal life out there for public consumption, but these days, most folks do that for free on social media every day.
So other than sharing your private struggles with the world, not a whole lot is required of you other than doing what you would normally do, but in front of a camera crew.
And that's doubly true in the Teen Mom franchise, where the cast literally runs the show.
These moms -- who are well past their teen years, of course -- enjoy close friendships with their producers.
It's been rumored that they have considerable control over what sort of content makes it onto the show.
Watching how the seasons play out, it's not hard to guess why people think this.
That's how we wind up with season-long storylines about Kailyn Lowry's remodeling projects.
Of course, the best part about starring on a long-running, formerly-popular series is the money.
Some reality gigs will only bring you fleeting fame and a lot of shame. This one can make you rich.
Teen Mom ratings have been declining for years.
Despite that, the cast still gets raises every season.
Which means the ones who have been with the show from the start are earning an astonishing salary these days.
At this point, we'd like to advise folks who are prone to intense feelings of jealousy to stop reading.
The amount these women get paid might ruin your weekend.
It might even wreck your whole year.
As with most reality shows, the moms of Teen Mom weren't earning much in the early days, but now they're absolutely raking it in.
"For those docu-ensembles, especially if they’re nobodies, per episode it ranges from low-end, like $1,500 an episode, to $3,000 at the high end,” an insider recently told Business Insider (via In Touch), adding:
"After three years of success, it can go up to $7,000 to $10,000 an episode. After that, you start moving into the Kardashian level.”
Now, that doesn't mean the ladies are Kardashian-level wealthy, as none of them were born rich.
And none of them have parlayed their fame into business ventures as lucrative as Kim's Skims shapewear line, or Kylie's cosmetics brand.
Sorry, but selling some books and a line of hair products do not make you a beauty mogul.
Most of the moms try to keep their salaries on the down-low.
A few have flat-out lied, claiming to earn far less than they're actually paid:
“I wouldn’t really say that [I’ve made a million dollars],” Jenelle Evans said in a 2015 radio interview.
“I would say a little bit over maybe half [a million]? I’m not really allowed to discuss it.”
Evans had already been with the franchise for nearly five years at that point, so she would have earned well over halr a million dollars.
Here's how we know:
In March of 2016, Chelsea Houska's first baby daddy, Adam Lind, stated that she made a cool quarter mil for the show's previous season.
This claim was later corroborated by a source who spoke with The Ashley's Reality Roundup.
“Chelsea’s contract will be up to 300k plus for new seasons," said a production insider.
Chelsea quit the show in 2019, but she and husband Cole De Boer were both pulling in the same amount for several years, and insiders say they've been careful with their money.
Those salaries seems to be roughly consistent across the series that make up the Teen Mom franchise.
For example, Teen Mom OG star Amber Portwood was forced to disclose her salary in court.
This was of course after she was arrested for assaulting Andrew Glennon.
Amber managed to escape real consequences, but some interesting data came to light.
It was revealed that in 2019, she had signed two six-month contracts with MTV for $140,000 each.
Signing bonuses and other incentives reportedly brought her to well over $300,000 in earnings.
And of course, like all of the moms, Amber has several other revenue streams available to her, including sponsored content deals, which can earn her low five-figure checks for a single Instagram post.
Needless to say, it's a pretty sweet gig, especially for couples like Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra who have two sizable MTV salaries pouring into their household.
“Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra have enough money to buy both of their mom’s cars, and Tyler paid for his sister to get a boob job,” a source recently told Star magazine.
With those hefty paychecks and very light workloads, the moms must be thrilled with their jobs, right?
Well, not necessarily.
At this point, just about every cast member has bitten the hand that feeds them over some perceived slight.
Several stars have tweeted about unflattering editing, and Maci Bookout went on a diatribe about the rough life of a reality star in her recent memoir, writing:
“Reality TV can make you very famous, but you basically get the s–t end of the deal:
"Everyone knows your name and talks about you, but there’s no red carpet prestige or glamorous piles of money.
"Once you become a so-called reality TV star, people immediately think you’re a high-end celebrity and you travel the world and have a mansion.
"And so much money and all these other things they associate with having your face on television.
"The fact is, my real life isn’t that much different from what it would have been without MTV."
"I still live in Chattanooga and go to Wal-Mart and buy bread and milk.”
Thrifty shopping doesn't mean that you're not rich.
Sounds like someone should remind Maci that the amount of money left in your account after you buy milk and bread is a major factor in determining one's quality life!