Talla-fornication | 

Tallafornia exploded on our screens ten years ago - but where are they now?

We find out where the stars of the TV3 reality show ended up...
The cast of TV3's Tallafornia

The cast of TV3's Tallafornia

Marc O'Neill

Marc O'Neill

Dave Behan and his girlfriend Leanne Moore, plus Jay Abbey

Dave Behan and his girlfriend Leanne Moore, plus Jay Abbey

Tallafornia cast members Cormac Branagan and Marc O'Neill

Tallafornia cast members Cormac Branagan and Marc O'Neill

Kelly Donegan

Kelly Donegan

Nikita Murray - Tallafornia

Nikita Murray - Tallafornia

Natalie Geraghty - tallafornia

Natalie Geraghty - tallafornia

Cormac Branagan

Cormac Branagan

Eugene Masterson

TEN years ago this month the first series of reality show Tallafornia hit our TV screens and made household names of the young people who took part.

Ireland's answer to Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore ran for 22 shows on TV3 and was meant to be focused on the Dublin suburb of Tallaght but was filmed at locations in nearby Citywest and in Santa Ponsa in Majorca.

A decade later, two of the cast members have become fathers while others work in a range of industries, including banking, marketing, pharmaceutical, fitness and taxiing.

The Sunday World can today lift the lid for the first time on the cashpile the cast made during their two-year run on the hit programme.

Tallafornia cast

Tallafornia cast

"For the first series we each got two or three grand and the second one was five grand," Jay Abbey (40) tells us. "Not mad money. But then you have to weigh it up, you're getting paid to have fun.

"At the time myself and guys were getting seven or eight hundred an hour."

Jay was a shop-fitter, working on building sites and also a part-time stripper back then.

He now owns four gyms in the 'Go' chain, in Greystones, Limerick and Ashbourne with fellow former Tallafornia star Dave Behan.

Originally from Tallaght, Jay now lives in Greystones with girlfriend of six years, Martha.

Jay admits times were very different when the show first aired a decade ago.

"If the show had been around during social media, I think it would have been a completely different experience for everyone," he reflects. "Facebook was only in its infancy and Twitter was only starting, while there was no Instagram or Tik Tok.

"Back then club appearances were a big thing and when we were doing personal appearances they were chaotic.

"I remember you'd be doing club appearances and there'd be hundreds of people queuing up to meet you, it was just ridiculous."

Although Jay did not find romance in the house, he had his fair share of fun, having been a stripper for 10 years before the show.

Dave Behan and his girlfriend Leanne Moore, plus Jay Abbey

Dave Behan and his girlfriend Leanne Moore, plus Jay Abbey

He still loves the gym and that's how he ended up on the show.

"I still train, because this is my hobby and gave me the love of the gym industry," he says.

Jay's main highlight was hanging out with the gang in a luxury villa in Majorca.

"To spend eight weeks in the sun and get paid for it!" he says. "I think that mansion was €1.8 million. Something like €10,000 a month to rent that."

He has lost contact with a few of the cast.

"Time flies by and I wouldn't regret anything. You should never regret the choices you make and everything happens for a reason."

Tallaght native Phil Penny has now settled down with his girlfriend Laura and son Cameron, and works in administration as well as doing online personal-training courses.

Phil Penny and Cormac Brannagan

Phil Penny and Cormac Brannagan

"It is hard to believe it was 2011 that I was approached in the gym, I was training with Cormac (Branagan), and the producer came up and said 'lads we are looking for a couple of young lads to do a reality show similar to Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore, that type of reality show, would you be interested?'

"When you are a 24- or 25-year-old lad you are going to jump on that. How quickly has time gone by. Now I am in my mid-30s. I've learned a lot about myself in the last few years and I'm glad I've left that kind of life behind."

Phil (36) had some romance with Nikita Murray in the house, but there was no sex in the house among any of the cast.

"They told us the Irish cameras weren't ready for that type of thing, I didn't anyway," he stresses. "There was too many cameras around. You'd be too self-conscious just in case it was aired and your family watching."

He confirms the reaction was "absolutely insane" from fans.

"When it first aired in 2012, we became, what they told us in TV3, mini celebrities. We would get approached in shopping centres and asked for pictures and asked about episodes. It was a crazy few years."

Phil appeared twice on First Dates before his current relationship and would love a Tallafornia reunion special.

So what about the rest of the cast?

Natalie Geraghty

Natalie was considered the Oprah of the house and famously said "he's not crying, chicken" while trying to comfort Kelly after a row with Dave.

Natalie Geraghty - tallafornia

Natalie Geraghty - tallafornia

She had some romance with Marc O'Neill in the second series of Tallafornia and dated him for several months after the show. Natalie is now a principal account executive with a major marketing software and sales firm while her relationship status is unknown.

Nikita Murray

Nikita was linked with both Phil Penny and Cormac Branagan when she was in Tallafornia and after she left the show she claimed she regretted taking part in it.

Nikita Murray - Tallafornia

Nikita Murray - Tallafornia

Having tried her hand at TV, Nikita is now a customer relations officer with a major bank. Her relationship status is unknown but she says she's into nature loving, herbal tea drinking and is a bookworm.

Marc O'Neill

A former soldier from Ballymun, O'Neill was introduced to viewers at the house in Santa Ponsa emerging fully naked from a pool. He got a degree in chemistry and molecular biology and now works with a major pharmaceutical company.

Marc O'Neill

Marc O'Neill

But he also showed off his idiotic tendencies by downing a full bottle of Captain Morgan's Rum followed by a can of Guinness during the 'Neknomination' craze in 2014.

He has since appeared in Big Brother and was runner-up in the recent celebrity version of Ultimate Hell Week, while he's currently in a long term relationship with his girlfriend.

Dave Behan

Blessington native Dave once told Kelly Donegan "you're dead to me" but ended up going out with her for two years after love blossomed between the pair on the show.

Phil Penny

Phil Penny

Known for his beefy physique, he and Phil Penny started up a chain of gyms. He married singer Leanne Moore in July 2019 and late last year she gave birth to their daughter Alex.

Cormac Branagan

The 'Corminator' had a brief romance with Nikita, but then became her arch enemy, and he is currently single.

Cormac Branagan

Cormac Branagan

He tried his hand at an online merchandising company and works as a taxi driver, although he was seriously injured in a 'life-changing' crash a couple of years ago.

Kelly Donegan

Kelly and Dave clicked in series one and their two-year romance continued in Majorca before fizzling out several months later.

Kelly Donegan

Kelly Donegan

The Tallaght native tried her hand at bodybuilding and is now a personal trainer and nutritionist. She is currently saving for a house with her long-term boyfriend.


Today's Headlines

More TV

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices