I AM Shauna Rae star’s stepfather Mark Schrankel has twice filed for bankruptcy as the family was $386,000 in debt years before the TLC show premiered.
I Am Shauna Rae premiered on TLC earlier this month and follows the life of Shauna, a 22-year-old woman stuck in the body of an 8-year-old child.
However, Shauna’s on-screen obstacles to navigating her independence don’t seem to be the only set of problems the family faces.
The Sun can exclusively reveal that Shauna’s father-in-law, Mark Schrankel, filed for bankruptcy with the family twice and owed more than $386,000 in total.
Mark filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2015.
Court documents reveal that in April 2012, Mark owed his creditors $204,643.58.
The debt included a personal loan in the amount of $13,176 used for vacation expenses, clothing, food and gifts.
They racked up more than $79,000 in credit card bills, including from Capital One, Chase, CitiBank, Lowes, Home Depot, Target and other creditors.
They owed $5,768 for their repossessed Toyota and $14,556 for their repossessed Ford, among other debts.
At the time, Mark’s job was listed as self-employed, although he had no income listed, and Patricia worked as a main server at Nordstrom.
Their average monthly income was $1,187.58, while their average monthly expenses totaled $4,091.
Their four daughters were between the ages of 8 and 21 at the time.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy was canceled in July 2012.
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When the family filed for bankruptcy in 2015, Mark owed $181,608.85 to creditors.
The debt included their Pennsylvania home with a judgment of $181,608.85.
Court documents claim that the house was seized.
At that time, Mark was working as a “labourer”, while his wife continued her work at Nordstrom.
The family’s average monthly income increased to $4,386.54 and their monthly expenses decreased to $3,096.67, but that was not enough to prevent the family from going into debt.
The Chapter 13 bankruptcy case was closed in January 2016.
Now living in Long Island, New York, and with the daughters of the family beginning to come of age and move out, there may be hope for the Schrankels.
The show hasn’t yet made any indication that Shauna has a job, though TLC Families earn an average of around $25,000 per episode to split among the members.
Shauna Rae developed a rare form of brain cancer when she was just six months old and underwent chemotherapy which stunted her growth.
Shauna is now 3-foot-10, the average height of an eight-year-old girl.
On I Am Shauna Rae, she reveals the struggles associated with her youthful appearance, including having trouble dating and going to bars because everyone thinks she’s a kid.
In the show’s trailer, Shauna introduces herself saying, “If you looked at me, you’d think I’m just a normal little girl, doing normal little girl things with my crazy fun family.”
She added: “But the truth is, I’m not a little girl. I’m a woman, a 22-year-old woman stuck in the body of an eight-year-old child.”
The new show follows Shauna dealing with issues trying to do normal things that a 22-year-old woman does in everyday life.
We see Shauna getting turned down for a bar when the bartender says “we don’t allow kids”, being asked how old she is when she tries to get a tattoo, and even being asked about her age when she is trying to enroll in a Gym.
Shauna’s mother, Patricia “Patty” Schrankel, also speaks on the show about the heartbreaking time her daughter had brain cancer as a baby.
She said: “Shauna was six months old when we found out she had brain cancer.
“I feel, I guess almost guilty, that she will have to go through this for the rest of her life, so all I can do is protect her.”
Shauna explains exactly what happened after undergoing chemotherapy and how it affected her growth.
She said: “My pituitary gland has become almost inactive from the chemotherapy. The doctor told me that I have stopped growing. My bones have fused together and my height is 3 feet 10 inches.”
Shauna also goes on to reveal how her love life is affected, explaining that she’s single and always tends to attract the wrong kind of guy.
“I attract creeps, assholes and idiots. It’s scary to put me out, but you have to take risks to be happy,” Shauna said.
The series shows her going on a blind date, with a guy who tells her he thought he was “punk” when she showed up.
Shauna says she is looking to become more independent from her family and wants to be seen as an adult.
“I can’t go anywhere without them asking questions,” Shauna remarked.
As she is about to leave home, her stepfather Mark asks her, “Who are you going to the brewery with? Who’s driving? When are you coming back?”
Patty replied, “I don’t know if I’m ready to let her go, but she needs to be let go.”
“I’m working on my independence,” Shauna said.
The show also shows the woman participating in normal social events for people her age, such as pole fitness and social drinks with friends.
“People tell me I’m a fun drunk,” Shauna smiles.