Tori attracted the attention of many when she became involved with Zach Roloff, who was born with a common form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, and whose family was featured in The Learning Channel’s “Little People Big World.” Her participation in the hugely successful television show, and engagement in social media, might have gained her a fan base, but she also had her share of online bashers who never failed to find fault in everything she said or did.
- 1 A little background on the show
- 2 About Tori’s husband, Zach
- 3 The love story of Tori and Zach
- 4 Tori in “Little People Big World”
A little background on the show
“Little People Big World” was about the Roloff family, and what made them interesting was that the parents, Matt and Amy had dwarfism, along with their son Zach, while the rest of their children, Zach’s twin brother Jeremy, Molly and Jacob were average-sized. In the past, the general population treated those with dwarfism differently, as they were often depicted negatively as freaks, or as the butt of a joke in some movies and shows. They were stared at, ridiculed and bullied because of how they looked. The average height of an adult dwarf is four feet, about 1.3meters, and some have disproportionate body sizes such as a large head, short limbs with an average-sized trunk, short fingers, and bowed legs.
The Roloffs were first featured in the documentary, “Little People Big Dreams,” which aired in 2005 on the Discovery Channel. As the TV program received a lot of attention, they were invited to star in a reality show on TLC that would chronicle their everyday life. Nothing like this had been done before, and they took this as a great opportunity to let others see them as regular people who just happened to be little. Matt made it clear at the start that they were not into ‘messaging’, and that they didn’t claim to represent all little people. He further said that the docuseries would not paint their lives as ‘overly rosy or overly focused on problems.’ They need not embellish their story, because their lives would be enough to capture the interest of viewers. With their condition, navigating the world built for people of average size automatically made even things in everyday life challenging for them.
The TV movie became its pilot episode, aired on 4 March 2006. For 23 seasons, viewers have seen how Matt and Amy raised their kids until how their family had grown, and then go through a divorce. As their popularity soared, the Roloff farm where they lived, had become a favorite destination in Oregon, not just for a chance to see them in person, but also to enjoy the attractions in the place, especially during pumpkin patch season. In 1990, the couple bought a 34-acre farm, and through the years, Matt was able to expand the property to over 100 acres, and transform much of it into a playground, especially designed for little people.
About Tori’s husband, Zach
Zachary Roloff was born on 10 May 1990, with achondroplasia, which causes the abnormal growth of the bones, resulting in having short stature. He was 15 when the family filmed the documentary, and it showed the big difference between him and his average-sized twin brother, as he struggled in dealing with the limitations caused by his condition. He was at a disadvantage while playing soccer, as it was difficult for him to keep up with other players. No teen would want to shop for clothes in the kids’ section like he had to. He also shared how he was laughed at or called nasty names by other people. Of note, the term ‘midget’ was offensive to them, and they would rather be called dwarf, little people, or better yet, just by their name.
The love story of Tori and Zach
Victoria Elizabeth Patton – or Tori as she was fondly called by those close to her – was born in 1991, in Portland, Oregon. Much of her life before joining “Little People Big World” wasn’t known to the public; she only attracted attention when she became part of Zach’s life. The two met at the Roloff farm when she worked there in 2010 during the pumpkin season.
Zach was hesitant to approach her as he was quite shy, and didn’t really think that she would go out with him. Tori had known from a co-worker that Zach was interested in her, or at least found her cute. Working in close proximity helped in making them comfortable around each other, and soon they were out on a date. Zach claimed to have never dated prior to Tori, but that didn’t seem to matter, as they both had a great time, especially since it lasted for five hours. Tori must be into him as well because they had been together since then. Zach credited Tori for bringing him out of his shell, and boosting his confidence. After three years of dating, Zach proposed to her in 2014, and they tied the knot on 25 July 2015.
On marrying Zach
Some wondered if Tori minded being married to a dwarf. She said, ‘I don’t love Zach because of how he looks (although he is quite handsome if I do say so myself) but rather what things weigh on his heart.’ Fans noticed that she never crouched down in her photos with Zach, and asked if it was intentional. Tori found it weird to do that and Zach was always telling her to just stand; besides, she said she wasn’t trying to be shorter, and he wasn’t trying to be taller.
She was aware that they made what she called a ‘unique pairing’ and that it was ‘terrifying,’ but she said, ‘the show has helped me realize I shouldn’t worry about what other people think.’ Her parents were supportive of her relationship with Zach – in fact, Tori claimed that they, especially her mom, loved him more than her.
On dwarfism, Tori said that God made them that way and He did not make mistakes. Also, God had shown her how to love in ways that she never thought were possible.
Tori in “Little People Big World”
On being a mom to little people
Tori knew when she married Zach that there was a 50/50 chance that they would have kids with dwarfism; when she was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child, the doctor told her that the baby had the same genetic condition as the father. She was a bit scared by this news because of the health issues associated with it, but luckily for her, she said that she had the best resources at hand. With so much love and support from the people around them, they could deal with whatever life threw their way. Zach knew exactly the difficulties that awaited his child, but he said that all that was needed was to encourage the child more, because what was easy for others would be challenging for him.
She said that one of the biggest misconceptions that people had about dwarfism was that it was a limitation. They could be whatever they wanted to be, because they were as capable as other kids, and Zach said that it was their job as parents to help them find a way to do it.
Their eldest, Jackson Kyle, was born in May 2017, they welcomed their daughter, Lilah Ray, in November 2019, and their youngest, Josiah Luke, was born in April 2022.
Suffered a miscarriage
She opened up about her miscarriage to the public as a form of healing for herself, as she felt that she needed to acknowledge the one that she lost. They were expecting their third baby and were heartbroken when it was discovered via ultrasound at eight weeks that they’d lost their baby two weeks prior. On 13 March 2021, she posted a photo on her Instagram of a cross-stitch of her, Zach, Lilah, Jackson, and Jesus with the baby she lost in His arms, and she captioned it with ‘I’ve honestly never felt loss like I did at that moment. I’ve never felt so sad, angry, and scared in a single moment.’ With her faith in God unwavering, she chose to be grateful for having two healthy children and a loving husband who had been her rock as she went through this painful part of their lives.
Tori and Zach endangered their child
The couple has been slammed time and again for bad parenting. Some incidents they shared on social media, or were shown on TV, had scared the viewers of how the two put their kids in danger, such as when they placed four-year-old Jackson on a tractor’s front bucket. Granted, the tractor wasn’t moving, but Zach was manning it, and the fans said that he could have accidentally pressed a button that would cause Jackson to fall and get hurt. One time, Jackson was seen holding a snake in his hand and was quite happy about it. Tory, on the other hand, was frightened when she saw it. Some had said that they shouldn’t have left him unattended, as the snake could have been poisonous.
Fans were also worried about Lilah’s safety, especially when she was seen holding a pair of scissors as she was walking around. They said that the two-year-old could have been hurt should she fall with it in her hand. In another incident, Tori placed Lilah on the kitchen counter and turned her back away from her daughter to do something else. Some felt uncomfortable watching it, as they feared that Lilah could fall from the counter.
As the couple was expecting their third baby, they decided to wean Lilah off her crib. As they were assembling her new bed, they left the scissors, screws, and metal rods lying around on the floor. Lilah was seen playing with them, and could have choked on the small parts, as kids her age were prone to putting anything in their mouths. Also, Jackson was holding the metal ladder and asking Lilah to reach for it. He could have poked her in the eye but fortunately didn’t. However, he accidentally hit her on the head with it, causing her to cry. Many were outraged when they watched the scene unfold.
Controversial stance on face masks
Fans who followed Tori on social media said that she mostly stayed away from topics that were political or controversial. However, in January 2022, she shared on her Instagram Story an article that Zach posted on his called “The Cult of the Masked Schoolchildren.” She went on to clarify that they were not anti-masks, but pro-choice. She believed that those who wanted to wear masks could do so without being judged for it, but also expected that those who chose not to wear one would be given the same courtesy.
Tori received flak from fans who said that pro-choice shouldn’t be applied when it comes to making it safe for everyone during the pandemic, as one’s action would affect another; it was all about limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants – it was said that some of those who were disappointed by her statements had unfollowed her on Instagram. With 1.8 million followers, it seemed that Tori wasn’t bothered by the negative reaction to her post. She even uploaded a video that mocked her fans who unfollowed her, and captioned it with ‘No it’s cool. You don’t have to tell me.’
Meanwhile, Zach’s brother Jacob posted a news article about the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, with the caption, ‘Get vaccinated and wear masks people. It’s not just a bad medical decision to not do so (although it mainly is) it’s also socially disrespectful and uncaring.’ He further wrote, ‘Not everyone can be so cavalier about long Covid.’
Feud with the in-laws
Many would think that the wives of twin brothers Zach and Jeremy would bond together. However, it could be said that the two were far from close, as fans put malice in their posts, and believed that the two were dissing each other. It was believed that Tori and Audrey had a longstanding feud that seemed to have stemmed from having different beliefs and opinions. Audrey and Jeremy held a conservative stance on most issues, while Tori and Zach had a more liberal take on them. Some said that arguments would be unavoidable when these women engaged in conversation, so it was better if they spent less time together.
"Little People, Big World" Stars Jeremy Roloff & Audrey Roloff on their New Book https://t.co/VVPrGc9sv7
— Audrey Roloff (@audreymirabella) April 10, 2019
Audrey said that since they lived far apart, the chances were slim that they could hang out often. In August 2022, many were surprised when both attended the birthday of a common friend, which seemed to prove that they were not avoiding each other.
Some believed that the twins weren’t close because if they were, they would make every effort for their wives and children to get to know each other better, and nurture the relationship between families. One thing that fans were sure of that caused a rift between the brothers, if there wasn’t one before, was that they both wanted to buy the same portion of the family farm.
The twins couldn’t afford their father’s asking price, despite the family discount that he supposedly gave them. Their father rejected their offers for the farm, and also said that the two couldn’t come to terms with the idea of a joint sale. Apart from the money issues, it appeared that Matt was making excuses not to sell the farm to Zach and Tori, as they weren’t good enough or didn’t have the right skills to run the farm, which they took exception to.
When two of his sons were interested in the same piece of property, Matt would be in a tough spot choosing one over the other. In Audrey’s Instagram Story, she said that since her husband was a kid, he had hoped to take over a portion of the farm, and that he was led to believe that it was possible. On the part of Zach and Tori, however, fans remembered in a past episode in season 16 of the TV series that the couple was unsure if they wanted to live on the farm. They were fine with visiting and helping out, but were quite content at that time living in their own house.
As the twins failed to acquire the farm, they later invested in other properties. Jeremy and Audrey bought a four-bedroom house on a four-acre lot, which cost them $1.5 million. It was near the Roloff farm where they had a great view of their favorite spot, the trestle. Zach and Tori moved to Battle Ground, Washington State, where they purchased a four-bedroom home on a two-acre lot, which cost $1 million. Matt later put 16 acres of the Roloff farm up for sale at $4 million.
Tori’s life had become an open book, whether it was through the reality TV series or her social media account. She had no qualms about answering questions from fans or sharing updates on her family, perhaps because she was aware that some people love to speculate on things that they were not privy to, or didn’t understand. She would rather be the one to tell what happened to avoid disinformation. The downside to being in the public eye was that viewers were quick to point out anything that they perceived to be wrong. It could be taxing to anyone who would always be on the receiving end of hate and criticism.
It’s a good thing that Tori has a great family, and that she never lacked support from her loved ones.