I AM Shauna Rae star Shauna Rae's stepfather Mark Schrankel filed for bankruptcy twice, as the family totaled $386K 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 an 8-year-old’s body.
However, Shauna’s on-screen obstacles in navigating her independence doesn’t appear to be the only set of problems the family faces.
The Sun can exclusively reveal Shauna’s stepfather, Mark Schrankel, filed for bankruptcy for the family twice and in total owed more than $386,000.
Mark filed for a chapter 7 bankruptcy back in 2012 and a chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2015.
Court documents reveal that in April 2012, Mark owed $204,643.58 to creditors.
The debt included a personal loan in the amount of $13,176 used for vacation expenses, clothing, food and gifts.
They racked up over $79,000 in credit card bills including to Capital One, Chase, CitiBank, Lowes, Home Depot, Target and more 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, though he had no income listed, and Patricia worked as a Lead Server at Nordstrom.
Their average monthly income was $1,187.58, while their average monthly expenses totaled $4,091.
Their four daughters ranged from ages 8 to 21 at the time.
The chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged in July 2012.
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By the family’s second bankruptcy filing in 2015, Mark owed $181,608.85 to creditors.
The debt included their Pennsylvania home with a judgement of $181,608.85.
The court papers claim the home went into foreclosure.
At this time, Mark worked as a "laborer," while his wife continued her job at Nordstrom.
The family’s average monthly income increased to $4,386.54 and their monthly expenses decreased to $3,096.67, however it was not enough to keep the family out of debt.
The chapter 13 bankruptcy case was closed in January 2016.
Now living in Long Island, New York and with the family’s daughters beginning to come of age and move out, there may be hope for the Schrankels.
The show has not yet made any indication that Shauna has a job, although TLC families on average make 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 that stunted her growth.
Shauna now stands at three-foot 10, the average height of an eight-year-old girl.
On I am Shauna Rae, she reveals the difficulties associated with her youthful appearance including finding it hard to date and going to bars, as everyone thinks she is a child.
In the trailer for the show, Shauna introduces herself saying: "If you were to look at me, you would think I'm just a normal little girl, doing normal little girl things with my fun, crazy 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."
The new show follows Shauna facing issues trying to do normal things that a 22-year-old woman does in everyday life.
We see Shauna get turned away from a bar when the bartender said "we don't allow kids," being asked how old she is when attempts to get a tattoo, and even being questioned about her age when she tries to sign up for a gym.
Shauna's mother, Patricia "Patty" Schrankel also speaks on the show about the heartbreaking time when 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 she went through chemotherapy, and how this affected her growth.
She said: "My pituitary gland was rendered almost dormant because of the chemotherapy. The doctor told me I was done growing. My bones were fused, and my height is 3 feet and 10 inches."
Shauna also goes on to reveal how her dating life is affected, explaining that she is single, and always tends to attract the wrong kind of guys.
"I attract creeps, a**holes, and idiots. It is scary to put myself out there, but you have to put some risk in to get happiness," Shauna stated.
The series shows her going on a blind date, with a guy who tells her he thought he was being "punked" when she introduced herself.
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 gets ready to leave the house, her stepdad Mark asked: "Who are you going to the brewery with? Who's driving? When are you gonna be back?"
Patty responded: "I don't know if I am 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 partaking in normal social events for people her age such as pole fitness and having social drinks with friends.
"People tell me I'm a fun drunk," Shauna smiled.
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