Best known for his hit USA Network reality show Chrisley Knows Best, real estate mogul and aspiring fashion icon Todd Chrisley has had a career of ups and downs. Despite his $45 million bankruptcy, and the dubious claims about his net worth, millions of viewers can’t stop watching his show.

Chrisley claims to have made 95% of his multimillion dollar fortune in real estate. Yet the Georgia native has been stubbornly vague about his specific investments. The business model of his now-defunct investment firm Chrisley Asset Management (CAM) reportedly relied on buying up foreclosed homes, then turning them around a profit. But since the 2008 housing market collapse, it’s unclear how the firm generated its income.

Key Takeaways

  • Todd Chrisley, the flashy patriarch and star of reality show hit Chrisley Knows Best, is known for his materialistic lifestyle and reckless spending.
  • He and his wife wore designer clothes, drove fancy cars, and lived in a 30,000-square-foot Atlanta home, with their children: Lindsie, Kyle, Chase, Savannah and Grayson.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

In the 2014 inaugural eight-episode season of Chrisley Knows Best, the flashy patriarch became known for his materialistic lifestyle and reckless spending. He and his wife wore designer clothes, drove fancy cars, and lived in a 30,000-square-foot Atlanta home with their children: Lindsie, Kyle, Chase, Savannah and Grayson. Chrisley was quick to point out that he shared the same gated community as singer Usher and Major League Baseball player Chipper Jones.

In one memorable episode, Chrisley threw his son’s laptop into the swimming pool, just to teach the boy a lesson. But Chrisley stresses that his show accurately portrays his family’s life. “We’re not trying to clean it up for you and I think that’s why our show has resonated with so many millions of viewers,” Chrisley said.

The show has since become a major staple for USA -- a network best known for scripted dramas like Suits and Mr. Robot. With more than 100 episodes across seven seasons, the show has been internationally sold to Australia, Canada, Asia and the U.K., and has led to spinoff series Growing Up Chrisley, featuring Chrisley kids Chase and Savannah road-tripping from Nashville to Los Angeles. 

Going Bust

Amid the shows rising popularity, Chrisley found himself embroiled in two major bankruptcy
cases. In addition to filing for personal bankruptcy in 2012, CAM filed for corporate bankruptcy in 2013.

Chrisley claimed to have a $100 in cash, $4.2 million in total assets and nearly $49 million of debt, but he contradicted himself on several occasions. On camera, he boasted about his massive clothing budget, but on paper he claimed that his clothes were worth only $650. This discrepancy set off red flags with court-appointed trustee Jason Pettie, who subsequently requested emails, receipts and other documents to determine if Chrisley was hiding assets. This investigation ultimately revealed that Julie Chrisley had received more than $700,000 in transfers from CAM. Furthermore, Julie a former beauty-pageant winner, had a personal net worth of roughly $3 million, money she has reportedly used to keep the family’s finances afloat.

Although the bankruptcy case was settled in 2015, Chrisley has reportedly yet to make all agreed-upon payments. Meanwhile, Chrisley moved his family from Georgia into a “more modest” $1.6 million home in Nashville, where there are no state income taxes.

Failed Expansion Efforts

USA Network has attempted to expand the Chrisley brand—thus far, unsuccessfully. The team experimented with a Chrisley Knows Best after-show patterned after the successful AMC’s series, The Talking Dead. They also attempted to catapult Chrisley into stardom as a late night host. But since neither project panned out, network execs are sticking solely to the main series and the one spinoff.

The show has touted several business efforts that have since fizzled out. In the first season, Chrisley’s dream of opening his own department store was a heavily featured storyline, but has yet to be mentioned following his bankruptcy proceedings. Separately, the official Facebook page of The Juice Bar, which the family reportedly owned, currently cites John and Vui Hunt as the official owners.

But Chrisley and his clan have celebrated some successes. In 2016, Chrisley released the country single “Infinite Love” with Sara Evans, which peaked at #39 on the Billboard charts. And in 2017, Savannah Chrisley launched a fashion line. Meanwhile, Julie, an avid cook and former food blogger, announced plans to launch her first restaurant with Todd in Nashville sometime in 2019.