’90 Day Fiancé’: How Much Do the Couples Make Compared To the Stars of ‘Real Housewives’ and ‘Teen Mom’

Fans cannot seem to get enough of TLC’s popular reality show 90 Day Fiancé. The franchise has spawned multiple spin-offs — like 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days and 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After — and recently wrapped its 7th season. With finances becoming a recurring source of drama on the show, many fans are left wondering how much TLC pays the cast to appear in front of the cameras. The cast salaries for 90 Day Fiancé are not insignificant, but they pale in comparison to how much the stars of Bravo’s Real Housewives and MTV’s Teen Mom make per season.

90 Day Fiancé
Matt Sharp of ’90 Day Fiance’ franchise, Molly Hopkins, Paola Mayfield, and Russ Mayfield | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.

How does TLC cast people for ’90 Day Fiancé’

Series creators Kate Casey and Matt Sharp had a very difficult time getting a network to accept their vision for 90 Day Fiancé. After several rounds of rejections and an attempt to rebrand the show, the pair fell back on what they discovered researching the K-1 visa application.

Although the major networks still rejected the idea, Sharp pitched the project to a friend who was an executive at TLC. Sharp’s friend loved the idea and convinced the network to turn it into a reality series.

When it comes to picking the cast, TLC is very selective about who it invites onto the show. According to E! Online, Sharp explained how they only pick individuals who have already applied for a K-1 visa and are ready for the big commitment.

“These are people that are very much in the queue for a visa already,” Sharp shared, adding that they wanted the series to be as “raw” as possible. “We wanted to do something that didn’t just show one side of love. We wanted to do a show where…it’s not black and white.”

TLC also avoids pairing up the couples to generate more drama. Instead, they find couples who are already working on their visas and fully plan on exchanging vows within the allotted time they are given.

How much does the cast of ’90 Day Fiancé’ make?

Paying the cast of 90 Day Fiancé is a bit tricky. Because some of the stars are not citizens of the United States, TLC is not legally allowed to pay them. For that reason, only the Americans on the show are paid.

Once the Americans received money, it is up to them to divvy it out to their respective partners. In some cases, there is a strong chance that the foreign partner does not get paid (especially if the relationship falls apart).

According to Screen Rant, former 90 Day Fiancé star Nikki Copper revealed that TLC pays cast members $1,000 per installment. The stars also get a bonus of $2,500 for appearing in the tell-all.

Each season is made up of around 10 to 13 episodes. Taking the tell-all into account, a cast member on an average season makes around $18,000. The cast earns slightly less on the Before the 90 Days spin-off and slightly more for Happily Ever After.

Comparing salaries: ’90 Fiancé’ vs. ‘Real Housewives’

Making $18,000 a season for 90 Day Fiancé isn’t bad, especially considering how many of the stars make money in endorsements and on social media. But that salary is nothing compared to what the cast of Bravo’s Real Housewives pulls down in a given season.

Most cast members on the Real Housewives make at least six figures and a few of them make several million per year. Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes, for example, earns around $2.7 for every season.

All of the franchise’s top ten highest-paid cast members make over $700,000 per year, which is significantly more than what TLC pays 90 Day Fiancé stars.

What about ‘Teen Mom’?

Teen Mom is a little closer to 90 Day Fiancé, at least when it comes to salaries. Jenelle Evans, who appeared on Teen Mom 2, reportedly pulled down $300,000 per season, which is around the same as her co-star, Kailyn Lowry.


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On the lower end of things, Teen Mom 2 star Briana DeJesus made $20,000 in her first season of the show, which is around the same that TLC pays the cast of 90 Day Fiancé. That said, DeJesus likely made a lot more in subsequent seasons.

Fans can watch new episodes of 90 Day Fiancé Sunday nights on TLC.