In these trying times, it’s important to maintain normalcy in any way possible. Shower and get dressed every morning, or do an at-home workout. Or in my case, spend the majority of your time thinking about Real Housewives. Just because Bravo has suspended production on its shows doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on in the Bravo-sphere. There are lots of problematic coronavirus posts, but the most interesting development has to do with the Tres Amigas.
Of course, I’m referring to The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Tamra Judge, Vicki Gunvalson, and Shannon Beador, who have spent the last three seasons as a (mostly) inseparable trio of friends. Some people loved them, many people hated them, but they were a total package deal. Things were bound to change after Tamra and Vicki both announced their departures from RHOC earlier this year, and it looks like the Tres Amigas have officially cracked.
On Sunday, Tamra busted through the coronavirus noise on Instagram with a cryptic quote post that immediately raised some questions. The post says: “Fake friends are like shadows. They follow you in the sun but leave you in the dark.” Wow, that’s deep.
With her firing from RHOC, and her ex-husband’s ongoing battle with Stage 3 throat cancer, it’s no secret that Tamra’s life has been tumultuous lately, but the particular timing of this post was pretty openly shady. It came just hours after Shannon Beador posted a picture hanging out with fellow Housewife Kelly Dodd. Kelly hasn’t been on such good terms with the Tres Amigas recently (Vicki literally sued her), and Kelly and Shannon pretty clearly hated each other at the most recent reunion.
My, how the tables have turned. We’re not even supposed to be seeing people right now, and there Shannon and Kelly are, arms around each other with their respective significant others. In terms of the future of RHOC, this is a good sign, because with Vicki and Tamra leaving, she had to be friends with someone. But clearly her Tres Amigas colleagues aren’t thrilled that Shannon has reconnected with Kelly.
As of right now, both Tamra and Vicki have unfollowed Shannon on Instagram, which means it’s officially just the Dos Amigas now. For what it’s worth, Shannon still follows both of them, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I have a feeling that these friendships have been on the rocks since Vicki and Tamra found out they weren’t being asked back next season, because honestly, who wouldn’t be mad about that? So now they’re stuck at home without their Housewives paychecks, while Shannon is still making money, and hanging out with someone they both hate. Sure, it might be petty, but I can totally see how Shannon posting the photo with Kelly was the final straw for Vicki and Tamra.
It’ll be interesting to see how Shannon and Kelly finally patch up their differences—and if it lasts—but it’s unclear when that will happen. Production started last month for the landmark 15th season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, but depending on how the coronavirus pandemic pans out, we might have a little longer wait than usual. Production shut down last week due to health concerns, and currently all Bravo production is on hold until further notice. Other shows affected include The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Dallas, as well as Southern Charm‘s already-delayed seventh season. Luckily, the New York, Beverly Hills, and Potomac housewives’ upcoming seasons are finished, so at least there’s still something to look forward to.
Images: Bravo/Getty Images; tamrajudge, shannonbeador / Instagram
As any Bravo fan knows, it was major news earlier this year when Vicki Gunvalson, the ultimate OG of the Real Housewives franchise, was demoted to a recurring cast member after 13 seasons. This season has been up and down for her, with some episodes revolving around her, and others cutting her out completely. While she hasn’t been a consistent presence on camera during season 14, though, she’s still stirring up plenty of drama.
On last week’s episode of the show, all of the ladies came together to celebrate Vicki’s birthday. All of the ladies, that is, with the exception of Kelly Dodd. Kelly and Vicki have had issues for years, but their road has been especially bumpy this year. Kelly has repeatedly accused Vicki of spreading malicious rumors about her, including a particularly salacious one about a sex train. But earlier this season, it seemed like these two had finally made a breakthrough when they made up on a trip to Arizona. Yeah, that clearly didn’t last. When Kelly declined to attend Vicki’s birthday, she told Tamra that the only celebration of Vicki she’d attend is her funeral. Vicki obviously wasn’t thrilled when she found out about this comment, but there’s something coming up later this season that really set her off.
Last week, Vicki filed a lawsuit against Kelly Dodd, Bravo TV, and Evolution Media (RHOC’s production company), claiming that Kelly said things while filming the show that could damage her reputation and career. The suit alleges that, on a trip to Key West, Kelly Dodd made three damaging comments about Vicki’s life insurance business, and demands that the producers cut those comments from the upcoming episode.
In the trailer for the full season, we can hear Kelly call Vicki “a con woman,” and the other comments mentioned in the suit include an accusation of “prey on older people” and “engag in fraud.” Basically, it sounds like Kelly probably gets wasted in Key West, and throws out some accusations at Vicki, in her true messy queen way. I get why Vicki would have an issue with a fraud allegation, but this is really not that out of character for Kelly.
The best part about the lawsuit is that Vicki filed it anonymously, so she’s identified in the legal documents as “Jane Roe.” This is pretty hilarious, considering that, according to TMZ, the suit refers to Jane Roe as “a TV personality on ‘RHOC’ who is also a retirement planning specialist and prez of an insurance and financial services company.” Like…Vicki…that ain’t anonymous. There are literally only seven women on the show, and she’s the only one who runs an insurance company.
But earlier this week, it was reported that Vicki had dropped her lawsuit against Kelly and the producers. According to a People source, “She has spoken to the producers and has resolved the issues amicably,” which sounds like a nice way of saying that she realized this wasn’t going to end well for her if she went through with it. With her demotion this season, Vicki is already in a precarious position on the show, and suing the people who sign your paychecks probably isn’t the best way to get back in their good graces. Also, Vicki’s insurance business is not going to be crippled by one drunken accusation from Kelly Dodd, especially when Vicki has spent four seasons antagonizing Kelly.
There are still several weeks left in this season of RHOC, and I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting finish. Obviously, we have the Key West drama with Kelly and Vicki to look forward to, but that’s not it. This week, the show set up for a major showdown between on-and-off BFFs Shannon and Tamra, and everyone in the cast has really been bringing it this season. Bless these messy women.
Images: commentsbybravo / Instagram
I have been watching The Real Housewives since 2008, and a common criticism I hear, other than the fact that it’s trash reality television (what can I say, I’m a raccoon because I love garbage), is that for a show that’s supposed to be about housewives, many of the women are not actually married. And I think the show plays a part in that, but maybe not for the reason a lot of people think. Many Housewives have come onto the show with the seemingly “perfect life” and then two seasons in, they’re filing for divorce. As viewers, we have witnessed countless Housewives’ relationships fail, then watched as they begin to date someone new and then get the inevitable wedding special. Remember when Tamra got married to Eddie and there was a bicycle hanging above them? Ah, memories. I’ve noticed a pattern in my decade-plus watching this franchise, one I call the “Lily Pad Effect”. It is when women join the show, and the show serves as a stepping stone (or Lily Pad, if you will) to a better life for the women—which leads to the demise of their marriage.
Statistically the divorce rate in the United States is about 50%, but in The Real Housewives universe it feels like almost every marriage we see crumbles. That’s not actually true—there have been 115 Housewives (only including U.S. franchises). 78 joined the show married and of that 78, 30 of them have gotten divorced on the show or shortly after. That means roughly 38% of the married women who join The Real Housewives get divorced. When considering this percentage, you also have to take into account that two of the cities are still in their infancy (Potomac and Dallas), and Miami and DC are no longer airing.
So what exactly goes wrong in these marriages? Now, I don’t claim to know the inner workings of these relationships; I am strictly going off of what I have seen over a 10-year period. The one commonality is the dynamic in the relationship simply changes. More specifically, it becomes more equal, and that equality brings about the end of the marriage, even if it doesn’t directly cause it. A lot of the divorces follow the same pattern: because of the show, the Housewives are no longer as financially dependent on their husbands, they find confidence by doing something on their own, and they outgrow their relationship. It’s not a coincidence; it’s the Lily Pad Effect.
Tamra Judge from Real Housewives of Orange County joined the show while married to her now ex-husband Simon Barney. She seemed to be walking on eggshells when it came to pleasing him and making sure he was the dominant one in the relationship. Tamra was constantly being told to be more lady-like (whatever the hell that means) or told what she could and could not wear. Simon wanted his wife to be seen and not heard, and let me tell you, that is not Tamra. I think joining the show magnified their problems, and her newfound success gave her more confidence, thus making her more outspoken and him more resentful. The more she pulled away and became stronger, the more he tried to hang on, and at the end of season 5 it all came to a head in the back of limo when Simon told Tamra she isn’t with her kids enough and she screamed “F*CK YOU, I want a divorce”.
Another Housewife who I believe was helped by the show was Taylor Armstrong from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (seasons 1-3). Taylor had one of the darkest storylines we have ever seen. We met Taylor when she was married to Russell Armstrong, who was extremely unlikable from the first episode, and their relationship felt strained. They just didn’t seem to mesh. As the show progressed, we got to see the dark side of Russell: he was extremely controlling and began to isolate her from the group by threatening lawsuits against other cast members, most of whom knew what was going on behind the scenes.
Slowly the truth started to come out, when Taylor confided in a therapist on camera, showing the dark underbelly of their marriage. And when Camille Grammer came out and said on camera that Russell abuses Taylor, it was a shock. I remember watching it, and my heart just sinking for her. As viewers we knew things were going on behind the scenes but to hear it out loud and confront the issue head-on was a lot to process. At the finale she showed up to an event with a heavy side bang covering a black eye, and announced her divorce. Then, before the reunion taped, Taylor’s husband Russell committed suicide. Truly, I think joining RHOBH might have saved her life because it gave her the strength to leave her abusive marriage and held a mirror up to things she possibly wanted to ignore for the sake of their child.
Emily Simpson, a relative newcomer who is on her second season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, is married to Shane (or as Kelly Dodd calls him, “little dork”). She is an accomplished lawyer who passed the California bar on her first try and a notable party planner, all while balancing being a mom to three kids. So that’s why her relationship with Shane is so strange. She is already independent and successful, so I am convinced she joined the show knowing they had huge cracks in their relationship, and that being on camera would only amplify those cracks into craters. She of course defended him her first season, saying “oh you don’t understand him, he’s just sarcastic” or “it’s his sense of humor”…but no one is buying that. He kind of just seems like an asshole. This season, though, we are watching their relationship crumble right before our very eyes, and TBH she seems okay with it.
It’s too soon to know whether their relationship will hold up or end in divorce, but it definitely shows some of the telltale signs. Being around a group of strong-willed women, most of whom have gone through their own divorce journeys, might inspire Emily to take a deeper look at her own relationship. A sarcastic sense of humor is fine, but her husband skipping her birthday because he just doesn’t feel like it? That’s not what a healthy marriage looks like. And honestly, she deserves better. Most of these women do.
A lot of people think that being a Real Housewife is all starting catfights and getting drunk, and while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also really empowered a lot of its cast members. It’s kind of amazing what these shows can do for some of the women. Being on TV will either make or break your relationship, but sometimes when a relationship breaks, it’s for the better. Maybe the women don’t realize it in the moment, but divorce is the best thing to happen to them. Look at Shannon Beador—she is THRIVING. When she first came on the show, she almost seemed scared of her husband David, who is easily one of the worst Real Househusbands. She made a valiant effort to fix her relationship after he cheated her, but he really didn’t deserve her. Now she’s killing it with her line of frozen meals, she lost a bunch of weight, and she seems the happiest she’s been in six seasons. Basically, the divorce was exactly what she needed.
Also, being surrounded by other strong women really makes some of them see the light when it comes to their sh*tty relationships. All in all, I just love watching the women grow and really come into their own. Most of the women who get remarried while filming are with men who celebrate their independence and have major BDE. We love to see it.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (3)
I’m just gonna come out and say it. This season of Real Housewives of Orange County has blown balls (but not Lydia’s husband’s, though, because he “got them chopped off.” Just ask her or watch like, 4 minutes of an episode). I can’t care anymore about whether or not Vicki and Tamra will make up or whether or not Peggy is going to understand anything anyone is saying or whether or not Lydia is going to pray over someone. I just can’t. The highlight of the season was Shannon not being able to disengage from her Peloton which was hysterical but not exactly what I expect to top the list of moments on Real Housewives. So thankfully, right in time for Thanksgiving I might add, the reunion started last night. I mean, if Andy Cohen asking shady af questions to overdressed women on couches rehashing all the shit they talked about each other doesn’t top your list of things to be grateful for, I don’t know what does. Fuck the mashed potatoes. You have some soul searching to do. And to celebrate the genius that is these reunions, we’re ranking the ‘wives by the one who sucked the most last night to the one that sucked the least. Let’s get to it.
7. Peggy Sulahian
Peggy just sat there. Tbh, I don’t remember her saying a word other than the awkward “Hi, Andy” at the beginning. This is your first (and probs last) reunion, Peggy. Fucking say something.
6. Lydia McLaughlin
Could this girl be more annoying? She’s like the Taylor Swift of Bravo. Constantly being a petty brat and talking shit about people, but always claiming to be the nice girl victim. Fucking vom. From her defending calling Shannon a psychopath because it was “to her face” to her not being able to be around drag queens because there isn’t a verse about them in the Bible (wtf?), it’s gonna be a hard pass on Lydia from me. Also, the whole “game friggin’ on” line she threw at Meghan in an attempt to be a badass was an epic fail.
5. Vicki Gunvalson
Even though she looked like a total asshole all season long, Vicki was able to somewhat redeem herself by actually apologizing to Shannon for telling the world her husband beat her. But like, this is a reunion, not an episode of Barney & Friends. Where tf are the slanderous allegations and inaudible screaming? You’re the OG of the OC. Give the people what they want.
4. Kelly Dodd
I wish there was an award for most improved Housewife, because Kelly Dodd would win. I mean, last season Kelly was good for TV and all, but she was a fucking head case. You can’t call someone a cunt at the dinner table. You just can’t. But all that said, come reunion time I missed old Kelly. I need drama. I need name-calling. I need the outing of secrets we were never supposed to know, but now we know because you’re pissed someone was mean to you on the bus in Ireland. She talked about her divorce, and I’m super pumped to see single Kelly next season, but I just expected more from the resident BSCB housewife.
3. Meghan King Edmonds
Meghan takes a spot in the top three, because she’s the only one who remembered that this is a fucking Bravo reunion and not a time to bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles that everyone can eat and be happy. She came to play. Did she totally start a fight with Lydia about not liking psychics out of nowhere for no reason? She sure did. And guess what? I’m fucking here for it. Because this is the Real Housewives of Orange County. Fucking argue about something insignificant and stop crying.
2. Tamra Judge
First things first. Tamra looks fucking hot. How is she 50? Who is her plastic surgeon? If I exercise, will I look like her in 25 years? Tamra, please DM me the answers to these questions. Thanks. Tamra’s biggest moment of reunion was talking about the state of things with her daughter, which apparently isn’t going so well. It actually made me feel real feelings, which was weird, but I was also finishing my fourth glass of wine at that point so maybe that explains it. Even though her main segment was depressing af she gets a high ranking for a) looking awesome and b) calling Shannon out for being a buzzkill all season long. That’s what real friends do, people.
Also, for the record. This ^ is what reunions are supposed to look like.
1. Shannon Beador
Shannon was clearly the star of last night’s reunion because it’s the first time she publicly spoke about her divorce from David, and most of the women didn’t know, so it was a bombshell. Was it a little teary/sad for my personal taste? Yes. But she did exactly what she needed to do. She took total responsibility for everything bad she did all season but managed to blame it on her crumbling marriage with her shitty fuckboy husband. Now, not only did she get the sympathy of America, she also put herself in a position where none of the women can come for her without looking like total assholes who are picking on the sad fat girl. We played, my friend. She also gets bonus points for losing 25 pounds in time for the reunion. Mazel!
For the past few years, all of us RHOC fans have watched Shannon Beador try literally fucking everything to make it work with her fuckboy of a husband, David. She defended the shit out of him when he cheated on her, went to therapy, renewed her vows. I mean, you fucking name it. Well last week, coincidentally on the exact same day of the reunion taping, she released a statement saying that she and her husband are officially calling it quits, which is v sad, but can I also get a “FUCKING FINALLY” from the crowd? **Waits patiently** Okay cool. I think I heard it.
The problems first started when it came out that David, father of three and husband of one (just for the record), had an affair. And not like, “whoops I was drunk and fell and my penis just landed there” affair. Like, “a full-on relationship that lasted eight months” affair. Fucking asshole. Not that the former is necessarily better or okay, it just requires a lesser level of deception to carry out IMO. And while things got better for a minute, shit appeared to suck again this season and so Shannon is outty. Tbh, I can’t believe she made it this long. If my husband of 15 years cheated on me with some hoe down the street, there’s no way in hell we’re getting to year 17. Fuck that.
In the official statement, Shannon talks about how “heartbreaking” the whole thing is, which is fair I guess. But she also manages to get in an acceptable amount of shade saying, “I felt alone in my marriage. You can do what you can to keep your family together, but you have to have willing parties. You need two people to make a marriage work, and that just wasn’t happening in our relationship.” Aka I tried my best but David continued to be an asshole so now we’re dunzo. Or at least that’s how I took it. Idk.
So far, she’s def winning the breakup. For one, she’s gonna get to talk mega shit on him at the reunion, which I fully expect to elicit a drunken “you go girl” from at least half a million people across the country. Myself included, in case you were wondering. That also means no one can come for her at the reunion without looking like an insensitive asshole. But most importantly, she looks fucking amazing. Shannon gained a shit-ton of weight this season, but based on the picture she posted post-reunion, losing the deadweight of shitty husband has done her hella good. She’s hotter than me and I’m 25, so that’s just fucking great. Maybe I should started dating a fuckboy and then break up with him. Just throwing some ideas out there that don’t involve exercise.
Later this week—so like, tomorrow—Andy Cohen is heading out to OC to film the reunion for Real Housewives of Orange County. Normally, this makes me sad, because it means the season is almost over, but in this case, I’m stoked, because this year has truly sucked. I have no more fucks to give about whether or not Vicki and Tamra will be friends and whether or not Lydia will mention her husband’s balls again. I just can’t. I’m also happy about the end of this season, because it makes room for the real queens of Cali aka the Bev Hills wives. Fucking duh. Also, total side note, but where tf is the trailer for that, Andy?! It’s almost November, for fuck’s sake. But anyway, in honor of the upcoming finale in OC, we’ve ranked all of this season’s wives by betchiness. Tbh, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because all of these women are hella busted. But I did my due diligence.
7. Vicki Gunvalson
Tbh, Vicki probs falls at the bottom of the list for housewives across all cities of all time. There. I said it. BE BOLD! She cries about not having friends, she doesn’t own her shit when she’s a dick to people, she dated a dude who faked cancer, and, like, complained to a child about how mean the girls are to her at his parents’ anniversary party. You’re fucking 60. Who does that? She owns her own business, which is cool and all, but she never shuts up about it, because she secretly wishes she could shop and lunch and exercise all day and still be rich af like all her friends.
6. Shannon Beador
Poor Shannon… This has really not been her year. Her husband is back to being a little fuckboy, and she’s put on some weight, and while it’s super not betchy, literally every single person can relate. Who can say she’s never had a fuckboy treat her like shit and followed that pain up with a Papa John’s binge session? No one. Unless you’re a fucking liar. And while I feel for Shan, I really do, she’s got to stop complaining and fucking do something about it. Tell your loser husband to suck it and head to SoulCycle. Brb, making that my Twitter bio.
5. Lydia McLaughlin
In full disclosure, I think Lydia is the fucking worst. But as a non-biased professional journalist, even I have to admit she has some betchy qualities. She and her husband own a magazine, which is cool, and she has amazing mermaid hair, but that’s it. She’s a nice girl, which y’all know I can’t fucking stand, and she doesn’t like belly dancers or drag queens. Wtf is dis bish doing on a Bravo show? Like, isn’t there something on the Hallmark Channel you could audition for? Plus, anyone whose tagline is “If you can’t take my sparkle then stay off my rainbow” is not a betch.
4. Peggy Sulahian
I also can’t with Peggy. Her talking about sports cars all the time and shit… Like, no one fucking cares. But she and her fam appear to be really rich, and she’s really pretty and thin, which are all super betchy qualities, so she finds herself somewhere in the middle of the pack. Plus, there was that whole scandal where she apparently wouldn’t let her brother come to their dad’s funeral because he’s gay, which would make her a mega-bigot asshole, but now she’s come out saying that’s not true, and she loves the LBGTQ community and other shit I’m not sure if I believe, but innocent until proven guilty I suppose. I’m sure Andy will give her shit at the reunion about it either way.
3. Kelly Dodd
I feel like a bunch of y’all are gonna lose your shit at me over this, but this is my list, so IDGAF. Hear me out. Sure, she’s a BSCB who, like, calls people cunts in the middle of family-friendly restaurants. But she also calls people out on their shit, which I can appreciate. You act like a snobby bitch at a party? Prepare for your deepest secret to be outed on national television. You try and get her tequila wasted and make an ass of herself in Ireland? Prepare to die on a bus. Maybe y’all should all just stop being assholes. What a concept.
2. Meghan King Edmonds
Meghan is the only housewife on this show who is even remotely normal. Like, we could maybe hang out. Maybe. She’s not a total nice girl, but also doesn’t totally suck either, which is kinda of refreshing given the rest of the cast is like the meanest group of women alive. She’s married to a ex-pro athlete, and her kitchen island is #goals. Sorry, I’m in my mid-20s, and that kind of shit is important to me now. Sue me. She’s also really skinny even though she gave birth like 5 seconds ago, which is something I truly admire.
1. Tamra Judge
Last year, Tamra was getting ready for a fitness competition, meaning she was in the running for my least favorite person on Bravo. People who won’t shut up about diet and exercise are my legit archnemeses. But anyway, this season she’s still working out and shit, but she doesn’t talk about it that much, thank god. She’s friends with most everyone in the group, except Vicki of course, but the OG from the OC is practically begging to be in her good graces again, so Tamra is the new HBIC. Congrats, girl.