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Leaving Reality TV For Real Life

Sara Evans quitting "Dancing with the Stars" has drummed up a whole lot of talk this week, much of it stemming from the reason she's leaving the reality show.

In case you've been living under a rock, she quit the hit show and filed for divorce from her husband, Craig Schelske, on the same day. She alleges that her husband cheated and abused her.

In a teary farewell on last night's show, Evans said that she realized that she needed to be at home with her children, and not on the dance floor. The matters on the home front were "personal, traumatic and hard for my children," she said.

She's not the first person to quit a reality show mid-season, nor will she be the last. Other reality stars have caused big stinks with their departures from the spotlight on hit shows such as "Survivor" and "American Idol."

Sue Hawk, originally a contestant from the first season of "Survivor," returned for "Survivor: All-Stars" in 2004 and apparently got more than she bargained for.

During an immunity challenge, a bare-naked Richard Hatch (he had a thing for being naked and for not paying taxes, apparently) rubbed her the wrong way, literally. She was so enraged by the incident — she claimed she was harassed — that she removed herself from the game in order to be with her husband.

Jenna Morasca, another "All-Stars" contestant, also left that season — but for more heart wrenching reasons. The Pittsburgh native felt "a vibe" that her mother, Carla, needed her — she was battling cancer at the time — and so Jenna left production of the CBS show to be by her side. Her mother died from the disease eight days later.

"American Idol" contestant Mario Vazquez had a sudden departure from the singing competition. Back in 2005, he was considered a frontrunner for the idol crown, but suddenly announced that he was leaving for personal reasons.

2"My gut and intuition told me it wasn't time to do this," Vazquez told The Associated Press at the time. "I had to focus on some personal areas in my life with the little bit of privacy that I have."

Right away, rumors about his departure began circulating: the loudest being that he didn't want to sign the restrictive "American Idol" contract.

In an interview with The Canadian Press last month, he said that several record labels approached his management team while he was on the show and that he didn't want to have to pass on any potentially fruitful opportunities. If he had stayed on and was booted from the show, the same contract restrictions apply, he said. He wanted to be a free sprit.

It was a smart move. He landed a recording contract with Arista Records and on Sept. 26 his self-titled album debuted to good reviews.

"I wanted something edgier, grittier ... This is a fun album with everything I've been introduced to musically: R&B, hip hop, reggaeton, boleros," he told The Canadian Press.

Fortunately for him, leaving the spotlight may pay off in the long run. But it doesn't for everyone.

Does the name Cassandra Whitehead ring any bells? Probably not, unless you are a huge fan of "America's Next Top Model."

The Houston native butted heads with Tyra Banks during the fifth cycle of the show over the length of her hair.

Tyra wanted to cut the beauty queens hair short — real short. Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby" short. But Whitehead wasn't having it. She was the first contestant to leave the modeling competition of her own volition and she's not been heard from since.

Whatever is going on in Sara Evan's life right now, fans of the reality show will certainly remember her name. And the tabloids will be sure to keep us enthralled with updates on the successful country singer's messy divorce proceedings.
By Amy Bonawitz