The Truth About "Duck Dynasty"

While reality TV is well-known for twisting the truth, that doesn't stop audiences from devouring it. Fans of A&E's Duck Dynasty consider it one of the best reality TV shows ever, thanks in large part to the antics of the Roberston family. And viewers share a particular image of the Robertsons; the Louisiana clan portrays itself as "down home," "backwoods," even ignorant - and proud of it. The truth about the family is far more complex and quite different from their TV image, though.

Is Duck Dynasty fake? There are certainly a number of ways the Duck Dynasty family downplays their true identity and background. Several of the Robertsons hold college degrees, for instance. And then there's their physical appearance - those celebrated beards might have been grown especially for the cameras.

Whether you've seen every season of Duck Dynasty or you've never caught an episode, you'll likely agree the true stories about the Robertsons are way more interesting than what you see on their "reality" show.

  • They Don't Swear That Much

    They Don't Swear That Much
    Photo: A&E

    Patriarch Phil Robertson claims the Duck Dynasty producers demanded the cast not say the name "Jesus" during their prayers, and that "fake beeps" were added to the soundtrack to block out profanity cast members had uttered. Robertson insists no one ever used profanity, and says the showrunners engaged in "spiritual warfare" against the family.

  • They're Not As Grungy As They Look

    They're Not As Grungy As They Look
    Photo: A&E

    On camera, the Robertson men seem to take pride in showing up "late and dirty." And while Uncle Si might actually be pretty grungy, the other men scrub up on a regular basis.

    According to Willie Robertson, Jep Robertson is particularly meticulous about hygiene and beard care: "He’s got all these special lotions and perfumes that he puts on."

  • They've Had Family Troubles

    They've Had Family Troubles
    Photo: A&E

    The Robertsons claim to live their live based on their firmly held Christian principles, but that's not the whole story. In 2015, Alan Robertson, the eldest son of Phil and Kay and a preacher, published a tell-all book on the family. He revealed tales of abortion, drinking problems, and marital woes throughout the Robertson clan.

  • They Have Their Vices

    They Have Their Vices
    Photo: Duck Dynasty / A&E

    One of the cornerstones of the Robertson family's TV persona is that every family member is sober. The story goes that both Phil and his son Jep were ravaged by drug and alcohol addiction, up until they found God and were saved from their own desires. While there's no evidence to suggest the family has returned to the world of boozing and hard drugs, it's also true none of them can get through the day without a disgusting little pick-me-up. 

    Back in 2013, Fox News reported every member of the Robertson family chews tobacco whenever the cameras stop rolling. Phil Robertson told the news outlet, "in my humble opinion, to make sure they stay men, give them a little chewing tobacco from time to time." 

    While using nicotine isn't typically seen as breaking sobriety, users are unarguably hooked on the mild stimulant found in dip. And chewing tobacco carries its own set of risks. A&E actually cuts any and all scenes wherein the cast is actively seen dipping.