Debuting all the way back in 2006, The Real Housewives of Orange County started out a “reality” show franchise that has gone on to spread all over the world. In fact, as of this writing, there have been 9 different versions The Real Housewives series based in America and another 8 around the world. Amazingly enough, there are several other shows in this franchise as 18 different spin-offs have been made so far and there is no telling which Real Housewife will get a show of their own next.
An absolute juggernaut of a series, a lot of people don’t pay that much attention to The Real Housewives world and despite the respect they are due, producers may be really happy that is the case. After all, there are elements of these shows that are far from legitimate upon further scrutiny. With that in mind, it is time to look at this list of 10 things that are totally fake about The Real Housewives and 10 things that actually are real.
In order for something to be up for possible inclusion on this list, it first and foremost has to relate to an element of The Real Housewives in one way or another. On top of that, it either has to be a lot more real than a lot of viewers may realize or have an aspect to it that is totally put on. It should be noted that we do not have any relationships with the people involved in the show so when it comes to the real side of the list, we have relied on public information
20 The Housewives Have Tight Relationships With Producers
With so many Real Housewives series on the air in any given year, it is safe to say that the people behind the scenes have figured out the quickest route to creating compelling television. Given that the franchise’s specific brand of entertainment is all about excess, drama, and wealth, making sure that Real Housewives’ stars play into those elements has been key to the show’s success. As revealed during a Reddit AMA hosted by a former “reality” TV show producer, each of the housewives is assigned their own story producer that helps get the best out of them. An extremely close relationship, the Housewives turn to these people when they have an issue with anything, especially things related to the show.
19 Vicki Gunvalson’s Actually Knew About Her Daughter’s Marriage
One of the most momentous events that can happen in anyone’s life, walking down the aisle is a big deal for the couple but ideally, it also means the world to their parents as well. For that reason, it makes all the sense in the world for a mother to be supremely disappointed and downright sad to learn that their daughter had eloped. Seemingly put into that position, The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Vicki Gunvalson at one point in the show seemed to be very upset about how her daughter tied the knot. However, text messages Vicki sent to her partner during that time period revealed that she was well aware of her daughter’s marital status prior to being filmed seeming to be so upset.
18 The Stars Really Can Behave Like Divas
An entry that may not surprise many fans, if you watch any of the Real Housewives shows then you probably already think that at least the majority of the franchise’s stars can be divas. However, if you are reading this list then you already realize that things are not always how they seem to be when it comes to this series. With that in mind, it still needs to be said, working with all of the Real Housewives can be extremely difficult at times due to their demands. Only one example of that, despite the fact that all of the stars signed up to be a part of the show and know what that entails, at times they refuse to film scenes together.
17 Producers Antagonize The Stars In Order To Induce Fights
The previous entry made it clear that sometimes The Real Housewives’ producers have to deal with headaches but this one shows that the opposite is true as well. Interested in one thing above all else, there is no reason to think that this franchise’s producers have bad intentions but it is certain that they are hired to make the show great. When you add that together with the fact that one of the biggest things that the Real Housewives franchise is known for is the fights, it makes sense that producers do what they can to encourage arguments. As a part of that effort, they are said to ask specific questions intended to create fights among the cast.
16 The Housewives Aren’t Allowed To Sue One Another
As anyone that has tuned into a single episode of a Real Housewives series or paid attention to the stars’ social media accounts can attest, the ladies don’t get along a decent percentage of the time. For the most part limited to words, occasionally these arguments can move beyond that realm but in the grand scheme of things they don’t tend to be overly serious. However, if the stars of the show opted to take their fights into courtrooms, that would not only up the ante but also make producing the shows way too difficult. Fortunately for franchise producers, they had the forethought to write into their star’s contracts that they can’t sue one another.
15 Loads Of Planning Go Into "Spontaneous" Occasions
Sometimes shown interacting in one another’s homes or at gala events, the Real Housewives also get together at more laid back locales to either have lunch or a few drinks. Presented as spontaneous get-togethers, in pretty much every way it seems like these spur of the moments gatherings are relaxed, except for any drama that can pop up of course. Despite how things come across, however, in reality, these moments are far from relaxed. This is the case for a number of reasons, including the Housewives’ always busy schedules, getting permission from restaurant owners, and the crew’s need to set up in advance.
14 Starring In The Real Housewives Changes Lives In Many Ways
In our current day and age, there are a lot of people that covet fame so completely that if they were given the chance to attain it that is all that would matter to them. If the stars of The Real Housewives had tunnel vision and focused on that alone then they must be surprised how completely starring in this series has changed their lives. After all, some stars have been offered incredible opportunities, big paycheques to continue starring on TV, and several other positive things. On the other hand, former Housewives become best-known for their more dramatic moments and oftentimes that is not a good thing once viewers begin responding to them.
13 Entire Storylines Are Faked
As we touched on earlier in this list, when someone agrees to star in one of the many Real Housewives series they are assigned a story producer who constantly works with them. An extremely important relationship, the producer is not only the person that the Housewife tells if they are too ill to take part in filming or something like that. Instead, the story producer also does exactly what it sounds like they are supposed to. For instance, the show made a whole storyline out of Tamara Judge rudely choosing not to attend a part. However, she and her husband revealed on Facebook that Tamara was at home taking care of her sick daughter and her absence was played up for the show’s benefit.
12 Many Of The Ladies Really Do Grow To Dislike Each Other
When most people envision what it would be like to be a “reality” TV show star it seems wonderful. For that reason, it seems likely that the stars of The Real Housewives franchise probably thought about the fame, money, and glamour that will come with their new job. However, when you agree to be a part of this series you are voluntarily walking into a pressure cooker that can change the way that you look at just about everything. The only people that can also understand what that means, you’d think the Housewives would become great friends. That certainly is the case some of the time but there are many instances of the show’s stars growing to greatly dislike one another too.
11 Brooke Ayers Seems To Have Fabricated Something Serious
The kind of accusation that should never be taken lightly, asserting that someone has faked a serious illness without evidence has to be one of the most reckless things anyone could do. However, when it comes to claims that Brooke Ayers, an ex of The Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson, fabricated a cancer diagnosis appear to be entirely accurate. This is the case because the cancer center that Brooke had claimed treated him made the surprising decision to speak out and tell the world that wasn’t the case. That fact was enough for John Hill, a Bravo TV producer to say "I wouldn't be surprised if [Ayers' cancer diagnosis is] fake…" even though Brooke’s supposed illness had been brought up on the show.
10 NeNe Leakes Really Regretted An Unfortunate Joke
An integral skill for anyone that appears in a comedy club, when a heckler spouts off it takes a deft hand to ensure that everything you are doing isn’t derailed. Unfortunately for NeNe Leakes, in 2017 she responded to a heckler by making a joke about someone forcing themself on the audience member which was a huge mistake. A supposed joke that was not received well by anyone, the resulting controversy was touched on during an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta but the fallout was severe for her. First off, she had been hired to host Fashion Police and a concert tour but was fired from both of those jobs and for a while, NeNe worried she would also lose her Real Housewives gig.
9 Many Stars Are Not As Rich As They Seem
Based on the core concept of this “reality” TV franchise, you would think that the one qualification that every Real Housewives cast member would have to meet is a high level of wealth. While the show makes it abundantly clear that at the very least the ladies live like that is the case, it turns out that reporting has proven that some of them are far from well off. Two examples of things not being as rosy as they seem, Sonja Morgan and Jacqueline Laurita actually went broke. A financial mechanism that exists for a reason, many people have done the same thing but you wouldn’t think any of the Real Housewives would go broke.
8 That Really Did Happen To Teresa Giudice
While the previous entry touched on three Real Housewives that felt serious repercussions due to financial problems, all of their issues pale in comparison to what happened with Teresa Giudice. Put on trial alongside her husband for lying to the IRS, not filing taxes for 8 years, and defrauding banks, all of their misdeeds clearly were designed to enrich themselves. Once law enforcement was onto them, however, they likely wished they’d been on the up and up from the beginning since the couple pleads guilty to 41 counts of fraud. A very serious situation, Teresa ended up spending nearly a year in federal prison which was all too real for her.
7 The Castmates Plan Some of the Drama Together
Obviously one of the biggest calling cards of the Real Housewives franchise, a lot of the time it is the arguments that go on in between the cast members that result in the show’s best moments. As we touched on earlier in this list, that often results in producers doing what they can to create the drama that results in these moments. On top of that, as NeNe Leakes proved on a now deleted social media post, sometimes the stars of the show conspire together to create fights in between themselves. Posted in the wake of a Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion spat with Cynthia Bailey, NeNe showed the world text messages of the two ladies planning the insults they would trade.
6 No Matter How They Come Across, Some Stars Love Being Part of the Show
A part of human nature, no matter how good we have it in a situation people are bound to find something to complain about. With that in mind, it makes all the sense in the world that many of the Real Housewives stars say negative things about some aspects of being part of the series. Despite that, most of them stay stick around as long as they can and even some of those that no longer are a part of the series wish they could be again. A perfect example of that, despite outright saying that the Real Housewives of New York City made her look like a “psycho”, Aviva Drescher also said she “do it all again to support her family”.
5 The Housewives Are Able to Request Changes
Presented as an unbiased account of how the Real Housewives act, when you factor in how bad the stars of this franchise often look that seems entirely believable. However, in January 2018 Lisa Vanderpump spoke to the New York Times and revealed that the ladies actually have more pull over how they are portrayed than you may think. Obviously, they could simply refuse to do things that make them look bad but that may result in them being boring enough to lose their job. Instead, according to Lisa, the Housewives can request edits and supposedly she is the only star of her show that hasn’t done that.
4 NeNe Leakes Really Allowed Her Tax Issues to Get Out of Control
Absolutely in the argument when it comes to discussions of which of the Real Housewives is the most famous, NeNe Leakes has a massive fan base and looks to have a long career in front of her. As a result, as long as she doesn’t mess things up with another off-color joke, she has the potential to overcome any financial hole she winds up in. That is an extremely important thing since she managed to accumulate $830,000 in tax debt to the state of Georgia. In danger of losing her property and assets at the time, NeNe paid off $700,000 of her debt which was a huge chunk of the problem.
3 They Shoot Some Scenes Several Times
The kind of thing that many fans of “reality” TV want to pretend doesn’t happen, the idea that any of the Real Housewives shows shoots the same scene more than once is mind blowing. In some ways a betrayal of the entire concept of this genre of television, you aren’t likely to hear any of the people involved with “reality” shows opening talking about reshooting scenes. However, in 2013 Radar Online got their hands on photos of the cast of Real Housewives of New York filming a staged scene more than once. Also caught on camera doing as they were told by the show’s crew, an eyewitness described the shoot as “like something you would see on the set of a movie or scripted television show”.
2 The Housewives Have a lot of Contractual Obligations
From the outside looking in, when any of the Real Housewives sign their contracts to be a part of the franchise it seems like they simply are agreeing to have their personal lives filmed. However, there is a lot more to it than that. For instance, not only can producers film them, even in places where people normally have a “reasonable expectation of privacy”, but they also can record any of their phone calls. On top of that, the Housewives give producers a great deal of control over their physical appearance, including things like their hair color and fashion choices.
1 Teresa Giudice Admitted Under Oath that the Show Has Scripted Elements
As we previously touched on in this list, Teresa and Joe Giudice ended up standing trial for fraud and both of them ended up accepting prison sentences for their admitted crimes. Considering that famous people don’t go to prison all that often, you would think that would be the juiciest thing to come out of the lengthy trial. However, in court documents, the couple under the pain of perjury claimed: “the image is little more than a carefully crafted fiction, engineered by Bravo TV through scripted lines and clever editing”. Asked about that statement on Watch What Happens Live, Teresa somewhat walked her statement back but we take what she said under oath a lot more seriously.
References: nickiswift.com, eonline.com, cheatsheet.com, intouchweekly.com, screenrant.com