It’s been six years since the final season of Desperate Housewives wrapped up, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about the ladies of Wisteria Lane. We aren’t over the rollercoaster romances we saw, the crimes we observed being committed in the dark, and the friendships that formed and broke (and formed again) across the eight seasons of the juicy dramedy.
There was quite enough drama that took place on the show, but that doesn’t mean the set was completely peaceful by comparison. Instead, plenty went on behind the scenes that many fans still don’t know about—the friendships created on set rivaled those we saw in the show, and the alleged feuds were just as hostile. Certain characters were almost written off, while others were secretly based on real people, and others filmed scenes that were too edgy to make it to air, all under our noses.
Through interviews and revelations from the stars of the show—Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, James Denton and Dana Delany, to name a few—we’ve come to discover a lot about what really went down on the set of DH. Read on to find out what your favorite housewives got up to when the cameras stopped rolling.
15 Bree Is Actually Based On Marc Cherry's Mother
The character of Bree Van de Kamp is iconic for her pristine home, inspiring cooking skills, severe rules, and no-nonsense attitude. She is one of the show’s leading ladies who experiences the most character growth from series beginning to end, starting out a neurotic housewife, becoming a businesswoman and celebrity, and finally a politician. All of this makes her one of the most fascinating characters on Wisteria Lane, so it will probably excite true fans to know that she’s based on a real person: Marc Cherry’s mother. That’s right—somewhere out there, there’s a real Bree walking around!
The whole concept of the show was inspired by Cherry’s mother and the way that she felt “desperate” during her time living in the suburbs.
He’d built up a $100 thousand debt to her when the show started, and its huge success allowed him to pay her back.
14 Not All The Injuries In The Show Were Fake
Over the course of the show, there are a fair few injuries to keep up with. Major tragedies, including a supermarket incident instigated by scorned housewife Caroline Bigsby, a tornado arriving on Wisteria Lane, a fire breaking out at Mr. Shilling’s club and a plane crash, mean that Fairview Memorial Hospital is basically always full. But interestingly enough, there were also a number of injuries that occurred during filming.
One of the most notable examples is when the street’s resident klutz, Susan Mayer, stumbles into a wedding cake. While acting this out, Teri Hatcher actually broke two ribs in real life but decided to keep her chin up and continue filming. At one point, an exploding lightbulb seriously injured Hatcher’s eye. Eva Longoria twisted her foot on one occasion and, on another, had to be taken to hospital after getting bumped on the head by a prop.
13 Certain Racy Scenes Were Filmed But Didn't Make It To The Air
Being that the show had a PG-13 rating, the producers just weren’t able to include all the scenes that they wanted to. The writers even included several scenes that they thought would deepen the characters and intensify the story, but in the end, they were just deemed too inappropriate. Oh, well!
The most prominent example is a scene that was filmed between Mike Delfino and Katherine Mayfair, played by James Denton and Dana Delany respectively.
In an interview, Denton claimed that the two had such chemistry that their love scenes were a lot of fun to shoot, and there was nothing awkward at all about some of the intimate acts they had to do in Season Five, which didn’t end up making it to air.
12 Some Members Of The DH Clan Think Their Show Inspired The Real Housewives Franchise
You don’t have to look too hard to see the similarities between DH and the Real Housewives franchise that premiered just after. Sure, DH might be a little more intense, but both shows are filled with drama, feuds, and friendships. And according to Dana Delany, Marc Cherry should be acknowledged for inspiring RH.
“Desperate Housewives started that whole industry which is all over the world now,” she explained in an interview. “What cracks me up is the way the people dress and look because that is kind of what we did on our show! It was very colorful you know and a lot of big hair and [being] very conscious of your makeup and your figure and high heels.” That certainly describes both the women on Wisteria Lane and the Real Housewives of the world.
11 Nicollette Sheridan Sued Marc Cherry When Her Character Was Written Off
Though there is always tension between Edie Britt and the other housewives, in real life, Nicollette Sheridan had a good relationship with the other actresses. However, things turned sour in 2010 when the star sued creator Marc Cherry for wrongful termination of her contract after Edie was written off in Season Five and also for allegedly hurting her on set.
In response, Cherry claimed that he was only showing her how to act out a scene with her on-screen husband when he hurt her, and he also claimed that she wasn’t easy to work with, alleging that she once referred to Teri Hatcher as “the meanest woman in the world.”
After three weeks, the judge declared a mistrial.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this case is that the other four housewives publicly supported Cherry rather than Sheridan.
10 Lynette And Tom Had Each Other's Backs, On And Off The Screen
Perhaps the series’ most consistent couple is the Scavos, made up of the soft and lovable Tom and tough and independent Lynette. Just like every other marriage on the lane, they have their share of troubles, ranging from love children with other people to manipulated careers to financial stress and flirting. And even though they split up briefly, they remain the one couple that fans believed would stay together forever.
Good news for fans: this relationship has so much chemistry because, in real life, Felicity Huffman and Dough Savant truly care for each other. There might not be anything romantic there, but they do share a deep respect. Huffman even admitted that in the final season, she offered to pay part of Savant’s salary so he wouldn’t make less money.
9 Most Evidence Suggests That There Was A Feud On Wisteria Lane
For years, rumors have circulated that there was a major feud on set between Teri Hatcher and the other central actresses, allegedly ignited after Hatcher was seen as the true star of the show following Season One. While nothing has been officially confirmed, there is enough evidence to assume that something did go down behind the scenes.
It was reported after a Vanity Fair photoshoot in 2005 that Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross threatened to walk off the set if Hatcher was allowed to stand in the center of the shoot.
Then at the end of filming, a parting gift was given to the crew from the main actresses, signed “Eva, Marcia, Felicity and Vanessa (Williams, who joined in later seasons).” Hatcher was clearly not included in the gift, and when asked about it later, chose not to go into too much detail.
8 Tensions Ran So High That Susan Was Almost Written Off In Season Five
It was later reported that tensions were running so high around Season Five that Susan Mayer, sometimes thought of as the biggest star of the show, was nearly written off. Her storyline is pretty intense that season: she and Mike have separated after a car accident that took two lives left them feeling so guilty that it ate up their marriage. Dave Williams arrives on the lane looking for revenge (it was his wife and child in the car), and really, Cherry could have written it so that Dave got his wish by taking out his revenge on Susan.
But luckily for Susan fans, that never happened! Susan stays on the show for all eight seasons and ends up being the first of the main women to move off the lane following the loss of Mike in the last season.
7 Religion Stopped Neal McDonough From Filming All His Scenes
Played by Neal McDonough, Dave Williams first appears on the lane as Edie’s husband in Season Five. He’s secretly on a mission to take his rage out on Mike and Susan, who he feels were responsible for the loss of his wife and daughter following a tragic car accident. Now, since he’s married to Edie, who is the most physically and emotionally adventurous of the women, you would expect one or two love scenes to be filmed between these two.
But because of McDonough’s religious beliefs, this couldn’t happen.
A devout Catholic, the actor wouldn’t film any bedroom scenes with his on-screen wife that involved more than sleeping or talking in bed. Interestingly, in McDonough’s later works (namely, the primetime soap Scoundrels), he also refused to do any bedroom scenes, which got him fired.
6 James Denton Was Actually Happy When Mike Was Written Off
Spoiler alert: one of the most tragic events to occur on the show is the loss of Mike Delfino, which takes place in the last season. Particularly for fans who really thought Mike and Susan were finally going to get the happy ending together that they both deserved, this was utterly devastating to watch.
It wasn’t sad for everyone, though. James Denton was actually happy with the way things turned out. “I said I think it would be great to go out with, I don’t want to say with a bang, but with a good send off, because Tom and Carlos just faded away and Mike got to have this big, really great […] scene with a great montage of his life flashing before his eyes,” Denton admitted in an interview after the show finished. “And also the producer had to pay me anyway so it worked out great for me…”
5 Some Of The Actors Were Exactly Like Their Characters
It’s comforting for fans to know that there really are people who inspired these characters alive out there in the world. But what might be even more pleasing to know is that some of the actors and actresses playing these roles truly identified with their characters.
James Denton, in particular, believes that he and Mike are basically the same guy, save a few vices and crimes!
“You know [Mike] was a real blue-collar guy with a dog and a pick-up truck and that’s me exactly,” he revealed.
“He’s kind of a handyman guy, who knows if he was even a plumber or not, we don’t know, but I do all that stuff myself.”
So there you go—there really is a Mike Delfino out there to lust over!
4 Eva Longoria Leaned On Her Wisteria Lane Neighbors When There Was Drama In Her Own Life
Though some of the show’s actresses experienced feuds and tension, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman were reportedly as close as their characters appeared to be. In 2010, Longoria turned to that support given by her family on Wisteria Lane when her marriage to basketballer Tony Parker dissolved.
Writer for People magazine and insider Charlotte Triggs revealed that in particular, Huffman was there for Longoria when she really needed a friend. “Felicity is someone that she was leaning on, especially after her divorce from Tony,” she explained. “Felicity was really supportive of her and really helped her through a hard time.” Triggs also revealed that Cross served as like a therapist for the women and let them vent to her whenever they felt like it.
3 The Raging Parties Weren't Just Limited To The Set
Quite a few parties also take place on the lane before the series comes to a close, none short of drama. Some of the most memorable are Bree’s wedding to Orson, which is interrupted by detectives who question her new husband, and Gabby’s wedding to Victor, which she spends rekindling her romance with Carlos. There’s also Karen McCluskey’s surprise birthday, where she approaches Dave with a bat, and of course the famous charade parties, where Lynette teaches everyone how it’s done.
In real life, the cast enjoyed many parties while filming the show.
According to Dana Delany, the best parties were always held by Marc Cherry himself.
“[Marc] is a great entertainer. He has crazy, good parties at his house!” And reportedly, Felicity Huffman is just as good a charades player as Lynette is.
2 James Denton Really Did Make Teri Hatcher Blush In The Bushes
No true fan of Mike and Susan can forget their many awkward Season One encounters, one of which takes place in the bushes outside Susan’s house. Klutzy Susan manages to lock herself out of her own house without any clothes and then falls into the bushes, only to be found by the man she’s interested in—what a nightmare. And according to James Denton, it wasn’t just Susan who was flattered by Mike’s observations about her body, but Hatcher too.
The actor revealed that after he said something along the lines of, “I did take a peek and for what’s worth, WOW,” Hatcher, actually blushed. It’s no secret that these two really did have great chemistry behind the scenes, which is what made their relationship so powerful.
1 Bree And Katherine Could Have Ended Up Together
After she arrives on the lane in Season Four, Katherine soon forms a strong friendship with Bree, and the two eventually go into business together. They understand each other’s tendencies toward keeping a clean house and successful kitchen, and both harbor pain that they help each other through. According to Dana Delany, the two became so close that they should have just ended up together.
“I really thought that Bree and Katherine should be together. I really did,” she confessed.
“I felt like they were two sides of the same coin and there was a lot of shipping going on about those two and I think it would [have] worked.”
In the end, the writers decided not to bring Bree and Katherine intimately close together, but to have them travel down completely different paths. But they certainly would have made an interesting (and totally passive-aggressive!) couple.
References: firstforwomen.com, vh1.com, dailymail.co.uk, ew.com, beamly.com, abcnews.go.com, nicki swift.com, irishexaminer.com