Dr. Phil Sent Rivers McMillen to a Troubled Teen Treatment Facility — Where Is He Now?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 11 2023, Published 10:19 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Dr. Phil regularly had volatile teens and their families on his show.
  • Rivers McMillen was a memorable guest who refused to go to school and was abusive to his parents.
  • He wanted to stay home and play music but was sent off to a troubled teen facility.
  • As of 2020, Rivers has released some music on various social media platforms.
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Although Dr. Phil ended in 2023, the show's legacy lives on in various forms online. Most of the episodes revolved around a hostile teen and their exasperated parents. Oftentimes their last line of defense against a child they couldn't control or understand was appearing on the talk show to get help from the "aw shucks" unlicensed mental health professional. Dr. Phil's go-to advice was to send the distraught youth to a troubled teen facility.

If that sounds familiar, it's because celebrities like Paris Hilton have spoken out about their traumatizing experiences in the troubled teen industry. One of Dr. Phil's more memorable episodes revolved around the McMillens and their son Rivers, who refused to go to school because he wanted to pursue his passion for making music. Fights often involved Rivers being emotionally abusive towards his parents and at times, physically abusive as well. What happened to Rivers? Here's what we know.

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What happened to Rivers from Dr. Phil? He was a very volatile kid.

The Dr. Phil episode featuring Rivers and his family aired in October 2017. He was 15 years old at the time and was already deeply volatile. He was often violent towards his mother and father, particularly when he didn't get what he wanted. What usually triggered Rivers was a conversation about the fact that he wasn't in school. At the end of the day, Rivers said he wanted to be left alone in his bedroom because that's where the things that made him happy could be found.

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Those things were his musical instruments and gaming console, which he wasted hours on. His mother's attempts at parenting only enraged Rivers. He felt like she was nagging him all the time. "When it comes to getting mad, something happens and I'll just let it all out. I just explode on them. I know I shouldn't have done it but it just all builds up from the week," Rivers told Dr. Phil. As far as his father went, he wasn't safe from Rivers's anger but the bulk of it went to his mom.

Before going onto the show, Rivers was sent to a mental health facility a few times, but each time he was removed after about a week. When questioned by Dr. Phil about what went on in his head after these episodes, Rivers admitted that he didn't like hurting his mother's feelings but that it clearly felt out of his control. From the outside, it seemed as if Rivers had trouble regulating his own emotions.

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After the episode officially finished taping, a special post-show segment aired wherein Rivers was told he would be sent to Turn-Around Ranch, a troubled teen facility. He cried and begged his father to let him stay, promising he would change, but his parents were firm in their decision. They left the room and Rivers was escorted out by Turn-Around Ranch employees.

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Where is Rivers from 'Dr. Phil' now?

In October 2021, Rivers and his father returned to Dr. Phil to provide the briefest of updates. He and his dad walked on stage, arm-in-arm. His father thanked Dr. Phil for being the catalyst for change. Since the original episode four years earlier, Rivers sold his gaming console and put that money towards getting his GED. He also bought a really nice keyboard.

As of the time of this writing, Rivers has a YouTube Channel as well as an Instagram and TikTok. He has released music on all three platforms, although he hasn't added anything new since 2020.

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