’90 Day Fiancé’: The Weird Thing the Show Makes the Cast Do to Keep Things Authentic

 90 Day Fiancé and all of its iterations have become fan favorites on TLC. The storylines and the dramatic relationships are enough to keep fans coming back season after season. Because of the quick nature of some of the relationships, fans have wondered just how real the show is. There are a few rules that the show has in place to keep things as authentic as possible.

Deavan and Jihoon
’90 Day Fiancé’ stars Jihoon Lee and Deavan Clegg | TLC

The couples must be together before applying

The outrageous pairings of some of the couples has often left fans wondering if TLC had anything to do with matching these wildly different people. But according to former cast member, Ashley Martson, she didn’t even know about the show when she and her estranged husband Jay Smith were scouted.

“We were together way before the show ever was involved,” she said. “They became involved a week before Jay’s visa interview (His visa interview took 10 months from start to finish.) A casting agent messaged me on Facebook after I commented in an immigration chat room asking questions in regards to the interview process. I never heard of the show or applied.”

Executive producer Matt Sharp echoed similar sentiments when he spoke of the selection process on the Reality Life with Kate Casey podcast.

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“These are people that are very much in the queue for a visa already,” he said. “We always wanted this to be a super-authentic, warts and all, look at love in this amazing world, very raw, the producers we brought in…a lot of them came from the Teen Mom world,” Sharp said. “There’s an authenticity to that show, too. 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. There’s actually a debate on the couches of America. We’re not looking for villains or heroes; We’re looking for real people with interesting backgrounds and stories and potentially interesting situations.”

How does TLC keep things authentic?

One of the biggest stresses of being in a long-distance relationship is figuring out how and when you can see your partner. Taking several international flights a year gets expensive. Of course, TLC could potentially pay for the flights of their cast members but then that would remove one of the biggest real-life stressors of these sort of relationships.

In a vlog, The Other Way star Deavan Clegg revealed that TLC only pays for the casts flights to the Tell-All special at the end of the season, but makes them all pay for their own flights to see one another during filming.

When former castmember Nicole Nafziger recently went to visit her fiancé Azan Tefou in Morocco, she got stuck there due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s affect on flight prices.

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She argued with a fan on Instagram saying that she hadn’t come home yet because flights were two to three times more expensive than normal. She ended up staying in Morocco for months before finally being able to return home to her daughter May, which just further proves that TLC isn’t in the business of paying for current or past castmembers’ flights.