Tabloid show Dr. Phil has been on the air since 2002 and was recently renewed until 2023, so it’s showing no signs of slowing down. For almost two decades, Dr. Phil McGraw has used his experience as a clinical and forensic psychologist to intervene in the lives of the guests he interviews. Countless individuals, friends, and families have written into the show asking for Dr. Phil’s help with all sorts of problems. The doctor has helped children with behavioral problems, interviewed adults caught in love triangles, and even celebrities-turned-train-wrecks.
Needless to say, in all of Dr. Phil’s seasons, there have been countless stories that have stayed with viewers. This list features twenty of the top families that have been featured in episodes. From children with unruly spending problems to marriages that have gone through the wringer to individuals putting their loved ones through a rollercoaster ride, Dr. Phil has offered his advice and resources to many people. Not all of his guests take his help. But the ones that do often come back to the show to catch up on how they’ve been doing.
Keep reading to see what families have had the most memorable stories from the Dr. Phil show!
20 The Teen Who Thought She Was Pregnant With Jesus
Hayley was a young person whose family wrote into the show after she became convinced she was pregnant with Jesus - and that rapper Eminem was the father.
Despite multiple pregnancy tests and professionals telling her she was not pregnant, the teen remained positive that she was indeed nine months along. Dr. Phil even arranged an ultrasound for her, though it did little to help.
In the end, Hayley agreed to go to a treatment facility after Dr. Phil told the audience her mental health needed to be evaluated. The teen later re-appeared on the show for a follow-up and was able to admit there’d been no pregnancy (she blamed it on stomach gas). However, Dr. Phil pointed out that it was still concerning she was grieving the fake pregnancy as though she’d experienced a loss.
19 The Family Whose 12-Year-Old Heard Voices
Several years ago, Dr. Phil invited a family to take part in the show who said their 12-year-old was hearing voices. During the episode, the pre-teen, named Aneska, admitted to having outbursts since the age of three. She also said she regularly heard voices in her head telling her to harm her younger siblings.
“Sometimes I hear whispers and I can’t make out what they’re saying,” Aneska told Dr. Phil. “It’s [frightening] for me.”
She added that one of the voices, which she described as a soldier who passed in battle, said that she reminded him of his children. Ah!
18 The Man Who Said His Wife Was Plotting Against Him
In 2017, a man appeared on Dr. Phil claiming that his wife, Kelly, had been slipping him harmful substances for a year. The 30-year-old said he’d been experiencing strange symptoms for the past year that doctors were unable to explain, leading him to conclude his wife was spiking his food and drink with borax after he found the substance in her belongings.
His wife, however, vehemently denied his claims. Instead, Kelly said her husband has various medical issues that explain his problems. She said she had the borax because she’d been doing a DIY project. Kelly added that her husband has become increasingly paranoid and delusional, adding that he can act like a “monster.”
17 The 17-Year-Old Who Spent $7,000/ Month On Her Looks
Dr. Phil has featured several teenagers on his show who aren’t shy about how much of their parent’s money they spend, and 17-year-old Tamara has got to be the most memorable. After her friends and family wrote Dr. Phil to get help, the teenager admitted to the Doctor that she spends an average of $7,000 per month on her looks alone.
Tamara said she gets her hair and makeup done on a daily basis by a professional team who comes to her home. She even owns a Range Rover, despite not having a driver’s license. Dr. Phil criticized her mother for enabling her bad spending habits, pointing out her mother had no problem taking her on $10,000 shopping sprees.
16 The Nanny With A Double Life
Last year, a woman appeared on Dr. Phil recounting how she discovered her nanny, Ashleigh, had a double life. Not only had the family’s nanny lied about being pregnant to them, but she would also claim to be the mother of the little boy she was looking after. And the notable part was she saw nothing wrong with it!
The mother discovered her nanny was a fake when she once saw her adjusting the pillow underneath her shirt that was supposed to look like a baby bump.
After doing a search on social media, the mom found a profile her nanny created in which she posted photos of the little boy dressed as a girl, claiming it was her daughter. We have a feeling this family sticks to daycare only nowadays!
15 A Teen Mom Who Claimed Her Daughter Was Illegally Adopted
In 2016, Dr. Phil was thrown for a curveball when he had to deal with a woman, named Olivia, who claimed her daughter had been illegally adopted. Both she and her mother appeared on the show to argue why they believe the girl’s adoptive mother, Jillian, is an unfit parent.
Olivia said she gave birth at the age of 16-years old, and due to a troubled home life, felt pressured to place her baby for adoption. She said Jillian promised to keep her involved in the child’s life, but that hasn’t happened.
Jillian, on the other hand, said she doesn’t feel comfortable having Olivia in her daughter’s life as Olivia had been “stalking” them. She was also worried about what Olivia would say to the girl, which could be detrimental to her wellbeing.
14 The 61-Year-Old Pastor Whose 19-Year-Old GF Was Pregnant
Audience members definitely felt creeped out when Dr. Phil interview an untraditional family that was technically barely legal.
In 2015, 61-year-old Thom had no trouble admitting on live television that his 19-year-old girlfriend was pregnant. And the other details of the man's family situation only made things that much more complicated and confusing.
Thom himself was a pastor, who turned his life around after a history of crime. He admitted that he’d always been interested in the concept of polygamy and believed it was his “right” to have multiple women. The only person who didn’t seem okay with this arrangement was Dr. Phil.
13 The Mom Who Stole Her Daughter’s Identity
Last year, 20-year-old Taylor appeared on Dr. Phil claiming that her mother stole her identity on several occasions in order to open multiple credit cards. She said her mom had been doing it since she turned 18 and had opened as many as ten cards in the two years since. Taylor added that she’d filed multiple police reports against her mom.
Her mother, however, denied her daughter’s claim and said that she was aware of every time she opened a card in her name. She said she only did it to pay the utility bill in her daughter’s name so she could give proof of residence to her college. Dr. Phil of course wasn’t afraid to call out the problematic mother on her nonsense, saying that she can’t just pretend the evidence isn’t there.
12 The Teen Who Put Her Mom $25,000 In Debt
We don’t know if Dr. Phil ever had a guest as entitled as 19-year-old Cherylyn. The teenager’s mother wrote into the show after her daughter maxed out all seventeen of her mom’s credit card and subsequently put them $25,000 in debt.
When Dr. Phil tried to explain the seriousness of the situation to Cherylyn (aka the fact that she’d committed identify fraud), she said it wasn’t a crime since her mom had given told her what her social security number was.
When he asked her why she racked up all the debt, the teen coolly said: “Because I can.” When Dr. Phil then asked if she’d do things differently a second time around, Cherylyn sounded unsure as she replied, “Probably.”
11 The 12-Year-Old Who Was Ruined By Fortnite
Earlier this year, a distressed mother appeared on Dr. Phil asking for the doctor’s help with her 12-year old son, whom she said was obsessed with intense video games. As the episode went on, it became clear the pre-teen’s online behavior was anything but normal.
Not only would he play for up to 20 hours straight, but it would often make him aggressive and disrespectful. He’d gone as far as to lock his mother out of the house of one occasion and refused to let her back in until she brought him Starbucks (which she did). His mother revealed that her son’s favorite games included Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto.
However, not only did Dr. Phil call out the boy’s bad behavior, he also criticized his mother for enabling his behavior.
10 The Woman Who Was Happy To Lose Custody Of Her Kids
Many of the guests on Dr. Phil who’ve had their children removed from their care by the authorities are desperate to get them back. Back in 2016, a mother-of-three had no problem admitting that she was glad her children were taken by CPS.
Why? Because she said, “It’s a blessing having some freedom without my kids.” Amber said that, while her children were in custody, she was taking the time to do things she never got to do in her youth and that she was “enjoying” it. Among other things, Amber was also hoping to pursue a profession as a race car driver.
However, Dr. Phil pointed out that she was doing barely anything to get her kids back, including missing scheduled visitations. He said chances weren’t looking good for her unless she turned her act around soon.
9 The Mom Who Let Her 14-Year-Old Quit School
Audience members couldn’t believe their ears when Kaylie admitted she believes her 14-year-old daughter Gabrielle is “blossoming” under her supervision, despite allowing her to drop out of school. Kaylie says her parenting strategy is to allow her teenager do “whatever makes her happy.”
Her ex-husband wrote into the show to get help for his teen daughter, who was open for the camera about her behavior, including partying and disdain for authority. He criticized his ex for drinking and using substances alongside their daughter as well as for putting her on birth control at age 12. Kaylie said her ex-husband was too “square” and should get with the times. Yikes!
8 The Siblings Who Lived In “The House Of Horrors”
Back in 2015, a couple made headlines after it was revealed the extent to which they mistreated their six children, which led the media to dub their home the ‘house of horrors.’
Dr. Phil interviewed the couple’s eldest son, 18-year-old Ian, who revealed just how hellish life was like living with their parents. They said there was always a lock on the refrigerator, security cameras in the children’s room and kitchen, and they were often served moldy food.
There was also a multitude of other really bad problems. Ian went into detail about the things the parents were telling the kids to do, making it a terrible situation, indeed.
7 The Mom Dating The Man Who Had Caused Such Harm
Last year, a teenager wrote Dr. Phil asking him to intervene in her mother’s relationship. Why? Because her mom was dating the man who had been convicted of doing harm. Despite being found guilty of the crime, she says her mother did not hesitate in getting back to him after he got out of the slammer.
The teenager told Dr. Phil she wanted her mom to end the relationship and that her little sister should have supervised visits only. Her mother, on the other hand, said that the incident was all a mistake and he didn’t mean to cause any injury, despite Dr. Phil trying to convince her the facts said otherwise. She added her older daughter was just jealous that she had a new man in her life.
6 The Family Whose 9-Year-Old Was Out Of Control
In 2016, Dr. Phil featured a family who had a very out-of-control 9-year-old, whose parents said they were worried she was going to harm herself or someone in the family.
Personal video footage from the family showed Makenze doing everything from biting her parents to throwing furniture. She’d done everything from throwing scissors at a teacher to pushing her baby cousin’s crib over.
In the episode, it was revealed Makenze had seen five psychiatrists and three therapists since she was 5 years old. She’d also been on a slew of medications for conditions like ODD, ADHD, and Disruptive Mood Disorder, but nothing seemed to be helping in the long-term.
5 The Woman Who Said Her Dad Came Onto Her
During a 2018 episode, Dr. Phil featured a family whose daughter, Tia, claimed they were all out to get her. Specifically, she said they were on a mission to make her look crazy, whereas her family claimed they were only concerned by her erratic behavior.
Tia’s father and step-mother said their daughter was constantly making up lies about them, while she said they were refusing to own up to all the things they’ve put her through. Among many things, Tia said her father did not treat her appropriately and even hacked her social media.
Her father, however, says she’s the one who’s acted out-of-line with him when they’ve been around people, and that he’s never hurt her before.
4 The Parents Who Feared Their Teen’s Online BF
In 2016, a family with a very unique situation came on the Dr. Phil show. In the episode, a concerned mother and father said their teenage daughter had met a boy from Argentina online and they began virtually dating. She became convinced she was in love with him and wanted to move to live with him.
However, the parents told Dr. Phil they were concerned the boy was fake and was actually a predator trying to lure their daughter into a trap. In the end, Dr. Phil ends up setting up a Skype call between the family and the boy and his parents to prove that the online romance was, in fact, legitimate. We wonder if they ever got to meet each other in real life!
3 The Wife Who Wouldn’t Stop Spending
Last year, a man wrote into Dr. Phil asking for help addressing his wife’s spending problem. Despite the couple making a combined total of $90,000 per year, her out-of-control purchases put them more than $60,000 under in a few short years.
During the episode, the wife explained she mainly spent the money on clothing and accessories, boasting about how she owns 50 pairs of shoes and 100 dresses. Why did she claim to shop so much? During the episode, she literally said: “I blame him [her husband] for not giving me enough attention.” We have a feeling this is one couple Dr. Phil wasn’t able to save.
2 The 24-Year-Old Who Stole Thousands From Her Parents
It’s not only teenagers who give their parents grief. It turns out children can take a toll on their parents well into adulthood, just like this 24-year-old who admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from her parents… but didn’t see what the big deal was.
During her episode, Elizabeth’s parents said she’s opened up various credit cards in her parents' names after finding their social security numbers while snooping around the house. She also did the same to her disabled aunt, too. Even more, her parents added that Elizabeth would often take the money they gave her for college tuition and spent it at the mall, which probably explains why she didn’t graduate.
1 The Parents Who Reported Their Teen Missing After Kicking Her Out
Last year, troubled teen Madie told Dr. Phil that her parents only reported her missing to cover their own behinds after kicking her out of the house. After a huge argument with her parents, and them telling her to get out, Maddie said she moved in with a guy she met online and dropped out of school.
Her parents, Jim and Beth, say they didn’t hear from her for over two months, which prompted them to go to the authorities. Maddie contrarily said she was texting her parents almost every day. She added that her then-boyfriend began mistreating her and she began fearing for her life, and even though she says her parents knew the situation, they wouldn't let her come back home.
Sources: The Dr. Phil Show