While Dr. Phil has vacillated between being a reputable source of information and a not-so reliable source (i.e. his polarizing takes on the coronavirus), one thing has remained true: People pay attention to the man, whether they’re buying what he’s selling or not. He’s always garnered attention and stirred up controversy.
Dr. Phil has made celebrities cry, including Real Housewives alum Kim Richards and Lindsay Lohan’s mother Dina. He is, in essence, the person responsible for unleashing the “cash me outside” girl on the world. Some of his talk show guests even claimed that he had “ruined” their lives. Ouch! He’s even been accused of mistreating his own staff members.
This TV host is just a lightning rod for controversy — even his stage name doesn’t make much sense. From deciding to drop his last name to questionable use of the term “doctor,” the man who is known for dissecting other people’s lives is actually a pretty fascinating guy himself.
Dr. Phil is no longer a licensed doctor
Obviously, “Dr. Phil” is no one’s given name. In fact, the pop-culture fixture’s birth name is Phillip Calvin McGraw, which has been confirmed by Biography and it’s also the author name on his book. He added that “Dr.” to his moniker late on in life, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of North Texas.
However, he’s no longer a licensed psychologist, since his Texas license was reportedly retired in 2006, per TMZ. He also never had a license to practice in California, which is where his show Dr. Phil is taped. In 2008, TMZ obtained a copy of a complaint against Dr. Phil, which was filed with the California Board of Psychology. While he had been taping his syndicated talk show for many years, the complaint stemmed from his hospital visit with Britney Spears in 2008 in the midst of her infamously public troubled times.
As far as the rest of his stage name goes, he hasn’t (seriously) addressed dropping his last name for his public persona. However, he did jokingly acknowledge it in a fake PSA called “Doctors Without Last Names” for a 2016 episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Who needs a last name when you have a popular talk show anyway? “Dr. Phil” has become such a recognizable name that some people didn’t even realize he’s Jordan McGraw’s father when the singer emerged on the music scene.
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