One of TikTok’s biggest families is now being destroyed by the very platform that made it famous.
Videos posted on TikTok over the past few weeks have sparked a media firestorm surrounding the family of Addison Rae Easterling, 21, who has become one of the internet’s most recognizable stars, boasting more than 88 million followers on the platform. The videos appear to show Monty Lopez, 46, Rae’s father, flirting with young women via FaceTime and touching a woman’s bottom at a bar. Lopez has not addressed the videos and has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Since then, every move by the family on social media has sparked new cycles of speculation, leading to more allegations against Lopez, including allegations of infidelity. Rae and her mother, Sheri Easterling, 42, unfollowed Lopez on Instagram. Easterling changed her Instagram bio to “single mom,” and released a statement that read, in part, “I’ll be fine. My greatest concern is – and always will be – my children and their fragile hearts and minds.”
Rae’s family is part of a new generation of influencers and stage parents who are capitalizing on their kids’ viral success. And while many of them follow the well-worn tropes of reality TV, the drama isn’t always entirely under their control. On TikTok, it can take on a life of its own.
Lopez has been trying to build on his daughter’s fame by starting his own agency to represent TikTok stars and Compares himself to Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family who negotiated many of her children’s business and media deals and trademarked the word “Momager.” But three people close to Lopez who spoke to NBC News said Lopez wasn’t responsible for Rae’s deals and opportunities and was trying to take advantage of her success.
“He just went off the rails and fame got to him,” said a person in Lopez’s professional network.
Celebrity families have become a mainstay of Hollywood and reality TV, with the most famous example being “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the longtime former E! series and an expansive media and business empire.
Social media has since merged the dynamics of reality TV and viral fame to produce even more outstanding cultural icons and non-stop entertainment centered around their lives — or at least what’s been portrayed of their lives online.
When Rae’s TikTok account catapulted her to stardom in late 2019, she moved to Los Angeles with her family. Rae, who dropped out of her freshman year at Louisiana State University to pursue stardom, has starred alongside her family on her YouTube channel and TikToks. Her family joined her in Addison Rae Goes Home, a 10-episode reality series produced by Snapchat. Social media content with this kind of reach can bring in millions of dollars in sponsorship and advertising revenue, and it’s estimated Rae made it over $8.5 million alone from TikTok in 2021.
As Rae’s star rose on TikTok and she expanded into music, films and modeling, the rest of her family also expanded her profile. Rae’s mother has a Spotify-produced podcast with her daughter, and both parents were signed alongside Rae to WME’s digital talent agency in 2020.
Rae and Easterling did not respond to requests for comment.
On social media, Lopez Easterling has played the role of a faithful husband, posting couple dances together on TikTok and complimenting her in posts. Until the alleged cheating scandal unfolded, Lopez and Easterling tagged each other, writing “husband” and “wife” in their bios (both removed those tags and terms from their bios in early July).
said Rae previously Her parents were divorced and dated off and on when she was young. They remarried in 2017, but updates to their social media profiles have since been picked up by tabloids and celebrity media sites, who have separated them again. Three people who know Lopez and spoke to NBC News said they also believed the couple had split based on what he told them. This speculation added to the media circus that had begun to surround the family in early July and was in stark contrast to the family picture portrayed on TikTok in front of millions of fans.
Young women have posted about Lopez’s advances towards them on social media, including Renée Ash, who told NBC News he misled them about his intentions to be her long-term partner and involve her in his professional business. NBC News has not confirmed these reports.
Ash, 25, said she broke up with Lopez in July after dating for five months. Speaking to NBC News, she shared over 150 screenshots of texts exchanged between her and Lopez during their relationship. The lyrics appear to show that Lopez has been courting Ash with promises of long-term engagement, as well as money and fame tied to Rae’s success.
“He would tell me how we’re going to start a family, the second his divorce is finalized we’re going to walk down the aisle,” Ash said. “We’re going to have babies, and if they’re boys it’s his name, and if they’re girls it’s my name.”
On July 5, Ash revealed her five-month relationship with Lopez through posts on her Instagram story. Ash shared photos on Instagram of her and Lopez as a couple at red carpet events, a trip to France and at influencer conference VidCon, where hundreds of influencers, reporters and industry insiders gathered. The texts revealed that Lopez asked Ash not to post anything online about their relationship.
In text messages, Lopez told Ash that he was speaking to a producer on Rae’s Snapchat show and that he was hoping he and Ash could star on the show as a couple. A person close to Lopez said he’s spoken out about his plans to “put them in history.” Lyrics show Lopez telling Ash, “The producer from our snap has been texting all morning,” and “Then we can get paid to walk around.”
Since Ash went public, millions of people have seen TikToks featuring photos of Ash with Lopez, her texts, and videos allegedly showing Lopez stalking young women. Gossip sites and even other influencers created content about the scandal. A WME representative said it no longer represents Lopez, but did not explain when the relationship with Lopez ended.
Both original videos were removed from TikTok but re-uploaded by other users and viewed millions of times. The same platform that supported the Rae family seamlessly switched to humble them.
In a podcast, YouTubers Jeff Wittek and Tana Mongeau talked about seeing Lopez at Hollywood parties without his daughter and banging it out for the cameras.
“I would hate if my parents were out here trying to be in all these paparazzi videos and have an influence,” Wittek said.
Bryce Hall, a TikTok star who dated Rae early in her career, responded to the TikToks about Lopez on his podcast with influencer Josh Richards. Hall performed a comedy impersonating Lopez, who introduced himself to women as “Addison Rae’s father.”
“I’m sure Addison and Addison’s mom are going through that,” Richards said. “It would just suck; I can’t even imagine having your dad all over the internet for that.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/addison-rae-dad-family-hollywood-monty-lopez-tiktok-rcna37635 TikTok brought Hollywood fame to Addison Rae’s family. Now she reveals her secrets.