Phil McGraw has hosted hundreds of troubled individuals and their families seeking professional help through his talk show, “Dr. Phil.”
His reputation as a tenured psychologist, author and compatriot of Oprah Winfrey preceded him as a qualified opinion in the rise of his program, but he’s received criticism for his questionable ethics, motives and credentials.
Despite his potential lack of morality and inability to provide effective service, there’s little debate that Dr. Phil’s guests can be an entertaining spectacle. Here are a few of the unforgettable ones.
1. Cash me outside
Does she really need an introduction? Danielle Bregoli first appeared on “Dr. Phil” in the appropriately titled episode: "I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime." Bregoli immediately became an internet sensation for the popular phrase “cash me outside, howbow that.” Bregoli maintained a tough attitude in her follow-up appearance a few months later, telling Dr. Phil, “you were nothing before I came on this show.” Bregoli also thanked him in that episode, for without him she would likely not have garnered her immense social media following. She has since launched a successful rap career under the name “Bhad Bahbie,” charting three songs to date. By accumulating multiple criminal charges and getting banned from Spirit airlines for life, she continues to live up to her “tough” persona.
2. My dad is Eminem and I’m pregnant with baby Jesus
Haley’s family brought her on “Dr. Phil” because she was a compulsive liar and delusional. After she didn’t back down on the claim that she was pregnant with baby Jesus in light of six negative urine tests and an ultrasound scan that showed “no indication of a pregnancy,” as the guest doctor said it, it was easy to see where her family was coming from. She eventually came to terms with reality during medical treatment, as seen in her follow-up episode, but she remained adamant on the other outlandish claim she made during her original segment that she shares ancestry with rapper Eminem. The idea was based off a photo taken of her as a toddler with someone who admittedly looks like Eminem. Her mother asserted Haley knew who her dad is (not Eminem), although Eminem actually has a daughter with the same name, but spelled “Hailie.”
3. I need at least a $2500 allowance per month
What would you do if your $5,000 allowance from your mother was reduced to $1,000 in a snap? Like 15-year-old Nicolette Gray, you’d probably call Dr. Phil and seek justice. Unfortunately for Gray, Dr. Phil sided with her mother, Nina, and introduced the concept of re-parenting. He even had the audacity to suggest Gray needed to get a job so she could, “make a contribution to society instead of taking from society.” Gray currently embraces her title as the “Beverly Hills Brat” and garnered a respectable following on YouTube, and both her and Nina amassed considerable Insta-fame. Less than a month after the “Dr. Phil” episode aired, Nicolette posted a video of her 16th birthday present: a G-Wagen. Wait, it gets better. Nearly a month after that, she replaced that G-Wagen with another G-Wagen, but this time she got the higher performance AMG model. A week later, she backed it into a pole and dented the spare tire cover. If you’re worried about how Nicolette, now 16 years old, could face legal trouble for driving without a license, don’t worry; she’s paying an adult to sit in her backseat while she drives.
4. Dr. Phil calls interview off during the show
Bailey was brought on the show because she sent hundreds of messages over Twitter proclaiming her love for Jasmine, who resides states away and who she’d never interacted with before. Despite conveying obvious and repetitive rejection to Bailey, her adoration, which she called “the love story of the century,” persisted through Jasmine’s Twitter activity. When Bailey said, “Y’all can laugh at me. It’s fine. I will be your spectacle,” Dr. Phil immediately shut it down. “I’m not into all this melodrama and you playing the victim,” Dr. Phil said. “I don’t want to be any part of that.” Although her apology implied she may have honestly needed the help, he wasn’t having any of it. The awkwardness finally ends when Jasmine confronts Bailey and tells her, to her face, that the love was never mutual.
5. Supplying the pot
There are some obscure laws out there. Ideally, letting your 14-year-old daughter have multiple sexual relationships and smoke pot with you every day should not be one of them. “Do you understand that that, by statute, is a crime?” Dr. Phil asked Kaylie, the excessively laissez-faire mother of Gabrielle. “OK,” Kaylie replied. “But I explained why I do it that way.” Dr. Phil lost his patience when Gabrielle reacted sarcastically to his concerns. Then Dr. Phil turned on CJ, the father, for letting Gabrielle stay with Kaylie even though he has full custody. Earlier in the episode, he said he let Gabrielle stay with Kaylie so she could see her mother was living in a poor environment and in turn want to stay at home. The medical of director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Dr. Charles Sophy, dropped the hammer accordingly as CJ’s good intentions failed catastrophically. .
6. Teacher sues high school student she had an affair with
High school teacher Tanya Ramirez was fully aware she’d get the ax in the event her sexual encounter with 17-year-old student Tristan was somehow broadcasted, but she was surprised when the police came knocking. “I didn’t think anything was legally wrong,” Ramirez told Dr. Phil, citing that Tristan was a consenting adult and that she was not a direct figure of authority to him in that she never taught him in the classroom. Ramirez even called the affair a “set-up” because Tristan surreptitiously recorded them in the act and shared the video without her consent. Ramirez was also distraught with Tristan’s mother, Kim, reaching out to the media and calling her a “sexual predator.” As a result, Ramirez sued Tristan for invasion of privacy and emotional distress and Kim for defamation. Unsurprisingly, her argument that consensual sex “should be included among rights of personal privacy that relate to the fundamental rights of marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education,” was overruled.
7. Oblivious man duped by online dating scam
Identity theft is no joke. Internet scams aren’t either. Dennis had little concern for either of these possibilities when he sent over $200,000 over the course of just under a year to Kimberly Escobar, who he’d met online and intended to marry through a dating site. The story “Kimberly” told Dennis is almost just as amusing as this unfortunate scam: she left her home in Chicago with her daughter, “Sandra,” to attend a business trip in South Africa, where they both ended up in the hospital after a “terrible car accident.” Once they were cleared from the hospital and finally headed home, Kimberly and Sandra were detained at the airport because their passports expired. Dennis got them out after sending the appropriate amount of cash demanded by authorities. Dennis continued to financially cover for Kimberly’s misfortunes when she and Sandra were detained again in both Istanbul and Amsterdam. Dennis alleged that immigration authorities were extorting him, but he soon realized he was bamboozled by a scammer when Dr. Phil brought on the woman Dennis thought was his fiancée.
8. I’m in love with Kip Moore
Jenna’s infatuation with country music star Kip Moore was no joke. “It was without a doubt after the second concert that I wanted to divorce my husband,” Jenna said in her reel. Despite no luck in reaching Moore’s camp through social media or 12-page letters, she remained determined. Two days after that concert, she filed a protection order in court for her and her kids, alleging her husband, Travis, was abusive. Travis denied those claims and admitted he still loved Jenna despite her being “delusional.” After Dr. Phil read Moore’s statement in which he cordially but clearly rejected her, Jenna acknowledged the slim chance of her ever igniting a passionate relationship with Moore, but she still defended her encounter with Moore. Like Jenna's overwhelmingly unlikely odds to marry Moore, the prospect of her reconciling with her husband may be off the table too, especially with her tattoo of Moore’s signature on her upper back of to symbolize his “kindness and passion” right below their shared daughter’s name.