Rachel Bradshaw didn't necessarily want to become a reality TV star.
In fact, as the daughter of Terry Bradshaw revealed on the Feb. 8 episode of Get Real with Caroline Hobby, she was "absolutely horrified" when E!'s docuseries The Bradshaw Bunch—which follows the legendary quarterback, television-broadcast icon, actor and championship quarter horse breeder and his family as they juggle fame and farm life—started to take shape.
At the time, Rachel was trying to adjust to "a normal life" following the tragic death of her husband Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas, and had moved home to Texas from Nashville, adamant to abandon the singing career she had been pursuing for years.
"Then my dad gets a call, and he says, 'Hey girls, Tammy, do y'all wanna do Family Feud?'" the 33-year-old recalled on the podcast. "My immediate thing is, 'I don't want to be on TV. I don't want to do anything in the entertainment world. Screw it. I'm not going back.'"
However, Terry said something along the lines of, "Rachel, it's Celebrity Family Feud. It's not like I'm asking you to star in a movie," and she came around to the idea.
Rachel explained that Terry's former Better Late Than Never producer Jason Ehrlich pitched the series, and soon, they were filming a pilot.
"A few months go by, we film the pilot, still thinking, 'This is E! Network...we're not cool enough,'" she recalled. "We all just kind of brushed it to the side. Then a few months after that, we get the show...All of a sudden everyone's worlds are completely turned upside down."
This is when Rachel came to terms with what she had signed up for: "I always thought it would be so fun to do a reality show but that was the old Rachel. That was the Rachel that wanted to be a signer and wanted to be famous. At the time, I wanted it all but it wasn't genuine. Like, to say you want to be famous...the old me just had the wrong version of success. And so now I'm so healthy and I'm healed and I'm like, 'Oh no, I'm not going back there.'"
She continued, "Yet, little did I know that this TV show that I was having nightmares about every night, because I knew I was going to have to talk about my real life and I was going to have to talk about, 'Yeah, I've been married...' I will give Jason this, he's one of the best producers of all time. We had, like, therapy sessions in our green screen interviews."
Filming was, as Rachel described, cathartic—but what made her really appreciate The Bradshaw Bunch was fans' reactions.
"People fall in love with real people so I didn't want to be some bruised and battered Debby Downer on the show, but I've been through some stuff and why not talk about it and help others?" Rachel shared. "My God, I'd bawl my eyes out reading some of my Instagram messages that are just like, 'Thank you so much.'"
Now, Rachel sees the E! series as "God's way of saying, 'Hey, this is what you are meant to do.'"
"You are a singer and you can write music," she continued. "You also can finally really fall in love because you know who you are and you can have a camera in your face and talk about the deepest darkest things in the world and help other people. And it's like, 'Woah.' I did not know this was ever gonna be a possibility for me. So it's really funny how that works."