When the first Real Housewives franchise premiered in 2006 on Bravo, chronicling the lives of wives and mothers in Orange County, no one expected that nearly 20 years later, it would birth the largest franchise in reality TV history. But it has, and its due to the cast of each franchise not being afraid to put it all out there. But for some cast members, reality TV has come at a major price.
Aside from divorces, viewers have watched friendships fall apart, and egos inflate to the point of Housewives ruining their own career opportunities. There have been too many scandals to count. But there are some that are hard to forget. Here's a list of the most controversial situations in Housewives history.
The White House crashers
There was only one season of Real Housewives of D.C. Despite such, one event carried the entire season. Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a Virginia couple cast on the show, was able to manage their way past multiple security points to hobnob with then-Vice President Biden and other government officials at a State Dinner at the White House. The moment was highly talked about at the reunion special.prevnext
"Bravo, Bravo, F–ing Bravo"
When Denise Richards joined RHOBH, viewers were excited to have a working actress on the show. It seemingly added some credibility to the beloved franchise. And Richards had some controversy in her background due to her contentious marriage to Charlie Sheen. Many were interested to see how she worked through such trauma. But it all came crashing down in her second season on the show.
Brandi Glanville claimed she had a sexual encounter with Richards, a threesome, and even claimed Richards' husband knew about it. Richards denied such, and when the cast pushed the issue, she broke the fourth wall with her iconic "Bravo, Bravo, f–ing Bravo" line as a warning that she wouldn't talk about it.
She eventually hit the entire cast with a cease and desist, and stopped filming. Richards quit the show and hasn't looked back since.prevnext
Salt Lake City's darling sentenced for fraud
Jen Shah made it clear that she was the staple of RHOSLC. She was polarizing, but her opulent lifestyle and how she afforded it puzzled her co-stars and viewers. As it turns out, she committed fraud to fund her Chanel wardrobe and million-dollar rental homes.
Shah was accused of being the ring leader of a telemarketing scheme that frauded elderly victims out of fake marketing services for their businesses. She claimed she was innocent, but weeks before her trial began, she changed her tune.
Shah was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison, 5 years probation, mental health treatment upon release, and restitution payments. She's scheduled to turn herself in on Feb. 17, 2023.prevnext
A 'RHOA' love affair causes gasps
Porsha Williams rose from the ashes after her NFL-playing ex-husband blindsided her with a divorce filing, kicked her out of their marital home, and forced her to start over on national television. She became the MVP of the show when she proved she could stand alone. Williams landed a gig on a nationally syndicated radio show and started several businesses.
By Season 11, her longtime dream of becoming a mother came true when she gave birth to her daughter, Pilar, with Dennis McKinnley. But the relationship fizzled after McKinnley admitted to cheating on her while she was pregnant. Williams bounced back two years later and announced her engagement. But the soon-to-be groom stunned fans.
She said "yes" to Simon Guobadia, the almost ex-husband of her former co-star, Falynn Pina. Williams insisted Guobadia's divorce had nothing to do with their relationship, but no one believed it. Either way, they wed in November 2022.prevnext
Michael Darby's alleged cheating fiascos and questions about his sexuality
The Australian-born businessman struck gold when he married a woman nearly 30 years his junior. But the marriage between Michael and Ashley Darby raised eyebrows in the streets of Potomac, and for its viewers. From the start, Michael proved to be handsy by grabbing the butts of anyone he could, even men, and it was caught on camera.
Rumors about him having hookups with strangers he met online ran rampant. A cameraman would sue him for federal sexual assault for groping his butt, but the case was dismissed.
Ashley stood beside him and eventually admitted that they had an open marriage at times. But after eight years of marriage, two children, and him admitting to stepping out on her during both pregnancies, she had enough.prevnext
Teresa Giudice "goes away"
Giudice was the breakout star of RHONJ, thanks to her infamous table flip in Season 1. The traditional Italian housewife focused her attention on raising her four beautiful daughters and dressing them in leopard cheetah print. She seemed ditsy on even her best day. This is why fans were shocked when an indictment for bankruptcy fraud was handed down.
She pleaded her innocence, alleging she was a dutiful wife who signed documents at her husband's request that unknowingly allowed him to commit a crime. But a judge wasn't buying it and sentenced her to 15 months in the slammer. She served 11, was released, and her then-husband Joe was sent away to serve his time. He was eventually deported to his native Italy.
The idea of jail was so touchy for Giudice that she freaked out anytime someone said the word. Instead, she preferred they use the phrase "going away."prev