90 Day Fiance: False Things You Can Stop Believing About The Show

Since its debut in 2014, TLC's 90 Day Fiancé has become one of the network's most popular shows, generating big ratings and spawning numerous spinoffs. The premise is wholly unique, following an American engaged to a citizen of another country as they navigate both the U.S. immigration process and their own cross-cultural relationship.


According to TLC's description of the show, the foreign member of the couple comes to America via a special 90-day visa, the K-1 visa, that allows foreign fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens to visit. However, there's a catch: If the couples don't get married within that 90 days, the foreign visitor will be forced to return to his or her country of origin. The show documents that emotion-laced three-month period as the couples struggle to overcome various obstacles, ranging from language difficulties to cultural barriers to the Americans' often-dubious friends and family who suspect the foreigners aren't looking for love as much as they're looking for a green card. 

Despite the popularity of 90 Day Fiancé and its various spinoff series, there is still a lot of information about the show that people wrongly assume. Read on to find out about the many false things we can stop believing about this TLC hit.


90 Day Fiance stars make big bucks from the show

Given what we read about the massive salaries of television stars, it would make sense that TLC's 90 Day Fiancé personalities are well paid for being on the show. This, however, is not the case.

"90 Day Fiancé pays their cast members $1,000 to $1,500 per episode," a source told Radar Online, a far cry from, say, the $1 million per episode paid to Jennifer Aniston for her Apple TV+ series, The Morning Show (via Variety). According to the source, couples who go on to appear in the spinoff 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? do receive a slightly bigger payday, but it "doesn't go up much more." The couples' family members and friends who appear on the show, on the other hand, are paid significantly less. For them, claimed RadarOnline's source, one day of filming on the show results in a $250 paycheck.


While their reality TV fame may not be bringing them riches, some of the show's cast have taken other measures to bring in some cash. Star Danielle Jbali, for example, launched a GoFundMe fundraising effort that ultimately only raised $658.

90 Day Fiance is totally unscripted

Many viewers believe that so-called reality TV is entirely unscripted, but that isn't always the case. Producers will make suggestions, supposedly spontaneous scenes are sometimes reshot, and dialogue can even be fed to people who appear on the shows.


That appeared to be the case in a scene from Season 5 of 90 Day Fiancé involving David Toborowsky and his now-wife, Annie Suwan, when family friend Chris Thieneman asked Suwan if she would give him a "Thai massage." While the request was undeniably creepy, Thieneman and wife Nikki Cooper alleged the whole thing was bogus. 

"Yes, the awkward scene of Chris asking for a massage was SCRIPTED," Cooper wrote in a private Facebook conversation (via Reality Blurb). "The producer asked him to say it [and] Chris had to say it more than once because it didn't come off as natural. We were fed our lines while sitting at the table, which is why no one reacted. WE ALL KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT." She added, "I'm a very outspoken person you'd be a fool to think I just sat there and [allowed] my husband to disrespect me, Annie, and our marriage." 


The couples' meet-cute stories on 90 Day Fiance are totally true

The couples on 90 Day Fiancé came together in a variety of ways, meeting during a vacation or, in several cases, via online dating sites. 

In their casting tape for the show (via InTouch Weekly), Season 4's Jorge Nava and Anfisa Arkhipchenko stated that they met through Facebook. "He was liking my pictures, he was messaging me," Arkhipchenko explained. "First, it was annoying. I didn't pay much attention because I get quite a lot of messages like that. I think he told me that he loved me like in a week after we started talking online."


In 2017, however, YouTube personality and comedian Stevie Ryan, who has since passed away, issued a tweet claiming that the two reality TV stars didn't actually meet on Facebook like they'd said, claiming instead that they'd met on "a cam girl site." Offering evidence, Ryan's tweet also included a photo of a naked woman appearing to be Arkhipchenko on an adult website. Starcasm followed up on the claim, pointing out that a simple Google search for Arkhipchenko's name and a particular adult site led to the discovery of a 51-minute video featuring revealing footage that "was uploaded by an account using Anfisa's first and last name."

The show was always intended to be titled 90 Day Fiance

Now that 90 Day Fiancé has become a massive hit for TLC, unleashing several spinoff series in the wake of its success, some viewers might be surprised to learn that the show almost had a very different title. In an interview with Kate Casey's Reality Life podcast, series producer Matt Sharp revealed the original title of 90 Day Fiancé was "something like International Love, and that was not the title because that's a terrible title ... and we brought around the show." Sharp continued, "We went around town to all the different networks ... all of the female networks looked at the pitch and thought it felt too male, and all the male networks thought it felt too female."


According to Sharp, he and his fellow producers then began revamping the show to make it skew more toward male viewers, and they cooked up the new title of Bachelor Wars: Russia. When that didn't work, Sharp then learned about the K-1 visa process and the 90-day time limit, ultimately coming up with the concept and title for 90 Day Fiancé. "Thank you television format gods!" Sharp joked.

90 Day Fiance stars have never appeared on TV before

Given that 90 Day Fiancé chronicles the romantic journeys of American singles and their international loves, it would be natural to assume that the people featured on the show have no prior experience in front of the camera. While that's the case with most of the show's couples, there are at least two participants who had already appeared on reality shows. 


Molly Hopkins, whose tumultuous and ultimately failed relationship with fiancé Luis Mendez played out during 90 Day Fiancé's fifth season, had previously starred alongside her business partner Cynthia Decker on Lifetime's Double Divas. According to Lifetime's synopsis, "the one-of-a-kind docuseries offers an eye-opening peek into the world of intimate apparel at Cynthia's and Molly's renowned Atlanta boutique LiviRae Lingerie, where the motto is: 'No bust too big or small. We fit them all!'"

Meanwhile, Starcasm did some digging and discovered that 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days' Darcey Silva had appeared on an episode of Million Dollar Matchmaker. Her appearance was a short one, however. Silva was briefly seen being interviewed by the show's titular matchmaker Patti Stanger, but wasn't selected to date that episode's millionaire bachelor.


Foreign cast members are paid to be on 90 Day Fiance

While the American members of the 90 Day Fiancé cast are paid (albeit not much), this is not the case for their foreign fiancés or fiancées.

In fact, Luis Mendez (who married and then divorced Molly Hopkins on the show) revealed in a now-deleted Instagram post (via Insider) that he wasn't paid a dime during his time on the series. "They [TLC] only use the immigrant people ... they dont [sic] pay to us in the first 90 days and they destroy our lives with bad fame." He added, "I don't [receive] any money only the American people."


Producer of 90 Day Fiancé Matt Sharp confirmed that the foreign participants on the show aren't paid, and he revealed the simple reason why: Since they're visiting the U.S. on a 90-day K-1 visa, they don't yet have work permits. Speaking with the Reality Life with Kate Casey podcast, Sharp declared that it would be "illegal to pay someone" who's not legally permitted to work in the U.S. "They would have to have a green card, which they do not," he explained.

Couples on 90 Day Fiance rarely stay together

There's no denying that the most memorable couples to emerge from TLC's 90 Day Fiancé are the ones whose relationships imploded. When asked to recall the couples who made an impression, fans of the show will no doubt point to Molly Hopkins and Luis Mendez, whose relationship crashed and burned in full view of the cameras, and Danielle and Mohamed Jbali, whose angry battles and her relentless efforts to get him deported made for compelling television and marked them as one of the worst 90 Day Fiancé couples. Given all that drama, it shouldn't be surprising that those types of relationships are the ones that tend to receive the most attention.


However, the 90 Day Fiancé couples that have split up are in the minority. In fact, far more have gone on to get married and stay wed.

"Our batting average on this show is that out of every 25 couples on 90 Day Fiancé, we've only had three divorces," series producer Matt Sharp bragged during an appearance at the 2018 Television Critics Association press tour, as reported by Deadline. "That's less than 10 percent and the current U.S. [divorce] rate is over 40 percent. It's one of the reasons why people love this show, it's so unexpected."

90 Day Fiance is done churning out spinoffs

The success of 90 Day Fiancé has led TLC to go back to the same well again... and again and again. It all began when the network announced plans for a spinoff, 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?, following the couples' lives after the end of the 90-day K-1 period. This was followed by four more spinoffs: 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, which debuted in 2017; 90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk, which arrived in 2019; 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, debuting in June 2019; and The Family Chantel, premiering in August 2019, following the turbulent family life of Pedro and Chantel Jimeno and their battling families.


One might assume that five spinoffs is more than enough — but one would be wrong. In December 2019, TLC unveiled 90 Day Fiancé: Just Landed on its TLC Go streaming app

Described by the network press release as "an early holiday gift to fans," 90 Day Fiancé: Just Landed follows "three couples right before the foreign-born partner arrives into the U.S. and immediately after touchdown, documenting their first 24 hours together."

Then, in early April 2020, TLC announced yet another 90 Day Fiancé show, as reported by Variety90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined.

90 Day Fiance only focuses on heterosexual couples

Throughout six seasons of 90 Day Fiancé and its myriad spinoffs, a same-sex couple has never been featured. However, the fourth season of season of 90 Day FiancéBefore the 90 Days is changing that. A trailer for the season introduced fiancées Stephanie and Erika. 


According to TLC's announcement for the season, Stephanie is described as "a social media influencer" who met Erika — "a spunky Australian photographer" — online, where the pair have developed an intense relationship. But one big problem looms: Erika hasn't yet come out to her family, who have no clue about her sexual orientation. Stephanie is also in a conundrum as she tries to figure out the best way to tell them that she's planning to visit Australia in order to be with the love of her life. 

There's one more complication, and it's a doozy. Stephanie also has "a rare bone marrow disorder" and is only allowed to travel if she receives clearance from her doctors. "Stephanie is risking her health to meet the woman of her dreams," declares TLC, "but is Erika only in love with her online persona or with the real Stephanie?"


90 Day Fiance couples who didn't make it no longer want to be filmed

Imagine being a woman engaged to a foreigner 20 years your junior who was allegedly only interested in you as a means to enter the country and obtain a green card. Then imagine the whole humiliating thing taking place in front of TV cameras and broadcast on television. 


While being used in such a cold manner in front of millions of viewers might make some people want to retreat, that's not the case with 90 Day Fiancé's Molly Hopkins, who revealed why she allowed the show to document her subsequent divorce — and why she'd do it all over again. 

Appearing at a 2018 TLC presentation at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, as reported by The Wrap, Hopkins was asked if she'd be open to sponsoring another foreign beau on a 90-day K-1 visa. "Whether it was someone from another country or someone from the United States, I think I would, for sure," she said. She added, "Everyone wants love, everyone wants to find someone. I have a great business, I love my kids, but do I want someone to spend the rest of this journey with? Absolutely."


90 Day Fiance helps participants navigate the K-1 process

The process of immigrating to the U.S. via a 90-day K-1 visa can be complicated, and viewers might presume that producers on the show take care of all that bureaucratic red tape on behalf of the show's participants so they can focus on delivering drama to viewers.


That, however, isn't the case, with one of the show's producers revealing that the couples selected have already managed to get themselves through the complexities. "We're not involved in the immigration process. We find couples for the show that are already in the process," 90 Day Fiancé exec producer Matt Sharp explained at the summer 2018 edition of the Television Critics Association press tour, as reported by E! News. "It's an authentic process. These are couples who are in love and going through this process."

Sharp also insisted that all the couples on 90 Day Fiancé had met well before being cast on the show and that faux couples are not created for the purposes of reality TV. "We don't put people together," Sharp insisted. "Everyone we feature on the show, they found themselves organically."


90 Day Fiance cast members are always of legal age when they meet

Evelyn Cormier and David Vázquez Zermeño are one of 90 Day Fiancé's success stories, as they eventually got married and Cormier went on to showcase her phenomenal singing voice as a finalist on American Idol. While the couple's age gap (Zermeño is about eight years older than his bride) is hardly enough to raise eyebrows on a show where it's not unusual for one partner to be much older than the other, a closer look at the timeline of their relationship has raised some red flags.


According to Starcasm, flirty social media exchanges between the then-future spouses were discovered, and screenshots preserved, dating back to late 2014. She would have reportedly just turned 15 years old at the time, while Zermeño was 24. In an episode that aired in 2017, Cormier is seen discussing her desire to get married with a friend, who felt she was rushing into things considering the couple hadn't even celebrated their first anniversary yet, which would likely lead viewers to presume that the pair met in 2016. The social media screenshots shared by Starcasm, however, would indicate their relationship extends back a couple years earlier.

Events depicted in promos actually take place on 90 Day Fiance

In Season 4, 90 Day Fiancé introduced Matt Ryan and his Ukrainian fiancée Alla Fedoruk. Ryan was a thrice-divorced single father, while Fedoruk had a young son from a previous relationship.

Ahead of the fourth season, a sneak-peek trailer promised big drama for the couple, with one scene featuring Fedoruk hurling a wooden chair off a second-story deck, crashing to the ground right in front of her fiancé. "Please, please stop," implores Ryan, while Fedoruk yells down at him, "Now I'm happy!" Viewers who watched the ensuing season unfold, however, never did witness that scene or the events leading up to it, causing them to wonder what all the chair-throwing was about.


Fedoruk cleared up the mystery when she answered a fan's question about the chair during a Facebook Q&A, as reported by InTouch Weekly. According to Fedoruk, she threw the chair because producers told her to throw it. "TLC made me do that," she explained. "So they used it to promote the show but never came up with the story for it. There was no story for that."

Women on 90 Day Fiance can sit however they want during confessional interviews

Perceptive viewers of 90 Day Fiancé have noticed all sorts of quirks about the show and its assorted spinoffs, yet one thing that has continued to baffle viewers is the very specific way that the show's female participants often sit during the confessional interviews. As InTouch Weekly has pointed out, there are numerous examples of women in the show seated in an awkward manner, with their legs elevated in order to bring their knees up to chest level.


According to Anfisa Arkhipchenko, who first appeared in the show's fourth season, that particular seating position is far from random. In fact, she has claimed that women sit that way at the request of producers — and she would actually prefer not to sit like that.

"May I ask why you always sit with your legs elevated during interviews?" a fan asked in a comment on Arkhipchenko's Instagram page, with InTouch Weekly providing a screenshot of the exchange. "Because producers make all women on the show sit like this if you haven't noticed," she responded candidly. "I hate it. So uncomfortable. Somebody please tell TLC that you don't like it!"