6 scandals that rocked the Real Housewives Franchise

Jen Shah on RHOSLC
Jen Shah landed in hot water on RHOSLC. Pic credit: Bravo

The Real Housewives franchise has been around since 2006.

What started as a show about a group of women with The Real Housewives of Orange County blossomed into much more.

With 12 different shows throughout the franchise, there’s been no shortage of drama and scandals.

Some shows have benefited from controversies that have allowed more viewers to find the shows and get up to speed on what people are talking about.

With so many different entries, many of these scandals put the network and producers under a microscope.

Here are the six biggest scandals.

1. Kenya Moore’s alleged revenge porn against RHOA co-star

Kenya Moore on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Kenya’s Moore’s scandal led to her exit. Pic credit: Bravo

Kenya Moore is one of RHOA’s biggest stars, and with the show’s numbers dropping, it seems she wanted to bring some much-needed drama back into the narrative.

In June 2024, news broke that Moore had been suspended from the series for allegedly showing x-rated images of new castmate Brittany Eady during an event filmed for the series.

While we still don’t know what happened behind the scenes, reports later surfaced that Moore and producers had made the mutual decision for her leave the show.

Of course, this is a shocking turn of events for what was supposed to be a return to form for RHOA, but now, there’s a chance that Bravo won’t even air what happened, leading to bigger questions about why the network is covering up bad behavior.

Starting a season with Moore as a full-fledged cast member, only for her to disappear midway through filming, probably wouldn’t create the drama necessary for the show.

As a result, Bravo is likely to start from scratch and take the show in a different direction. As for Moore, she’s strongly suggested that the facts about the scenario have yet to come out.

We have to imagine she’s under contract with Bravo and the production company behind the show, meaning there may be a clause that forces her to remain tight-lipped for a pre-determined amount of time.

2. Jen Shah’s arrest and imprisonment on RHOSLC

Jen Shah on RHOSLC
Jen Shah is now in prison. Pic credit: Bravo

The second season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was upended when original star Jen Shah was arrested for her role in a long-running telemarketing scheme.

Details about her arrest had already leaked before the season airing, but the numbers soared because viewers wanted a front-row seat to her legal woes.

Shah was kept on the show for Season 3 and feigned innocence the entire season before changing her plea to guilty and seemingly alienating her friends forever.

In early 2023, Shah was convicted and sentenced to 6.5 years in prison, where she remains today.

The scandal put her on the outs with many of her castmates, but Heather Gay remained her fierce defender during Season 3, even though she later alleged her friend gave her a black eye.

3. Monica Garcia’s Reality Von Tease involvement on RHOSLC

Monica Garcia on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
Monica Garcia was a one-season wonder. Pic credit: Bravo

One season later, Shah’s former friend Monica Garcia joined the RHOSLC cast for Season 4 and was the main attraction.

Garcia made waves with the ladies with her commentary on situations, but she did find an in with them by the season’s end.

On the final cast trip to Bermuda, Heather Gay received a phone call that forever changed the series’ trajectory.

As the ladies went to dinner later that night, Gay turned the tables on Garcia, claiming that she had proof Garcia was part of a social media account that had been terrorizing the cast for years.

Despite initially claiming she had no part in the account, Garcia admitted that more than one person was involved.

While she had a chance to take accountability at the reunion, the mother-of-four opted to go on the offensive, leaving her castmates to believe they could no longer trust her.

4. Erika Jayne’s divorce from Tom Girardi on RHOBH

Erika Jayne on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Erika Jayne’s scandal almost cost her her place on the show. Pic credit: Bravo

Despite being one of Bravo’s strongest couples, Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi called it quits in 2020.

Shortly after, they were hit with a fraud lawsuit that accused them of embezzling settlement funds that were to be used for families of Lion Air Flight 610 victims.

It became a massive storyline on RHOBH as the ladies put Erika in the hot seat about the allegations.

While the very public drama was playing out, Hulu aired an ABC news special about the scandal titled The Housewife & the Hustler.

The special featured former Real Housewives and legal professionals diving into the drama.

In late 2021, Erika was sued for allegedly knowing that Tom’s firm had paid her expenses for at least 12 years.

Despite years of back-and-forth, Erika is mostly off the hook and has moved on from it on the show.

5. Denise Richards’ alleged affair with Brandi Glanville on RHOBH

Denise Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Denise Richards denied her part in this scandal. Pic credit: Bravo

Denise Richards had a great first season on RHOBH, but the drama during her second season led to her shocking exit from the show.

Brandi Glanville appeared on an episode of the show and told Kyle Richards and Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave that she had slept with Denise.

Denise continually denied the affair throughout the season, and there was plenty of back and forth between her and the women, both on and off the show, about it.

The drama was kickstarted again in late 2022 when Denise continued to deny the affair. Brandi was not impressed by her speaking about it and responded by claiming that they slept together one time but that it wasn’t enjoyable for her.

It was almost brought back up again in 2024 when Denise returned to RHOBH and immediately confronted Erika over the controversial season.

Denise has continually denied the affair.

6. Brooks Ayers’ cancer scam on RHOC

Vicki Gunvalson on The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Vicki Gunvalson landed in hot water. Pic credit: Bravo

Brooks Ayers was introduced as Vicki Gunvalson’s boyfriend on RHOC, and their relationship hit a major snag when he faked medical documents from a cancer hospital.

At the time, Gunvalson caught a lot of heat from her co-stars, who believed the original star had to have known about the scam.

In the end, Gunvalson and Ayers parted ways, with the latter later claiming that his then-love interest had no part in the scandal.

Initially, during a sit-down with Andy Cohen, Ayers hinted that Gunvalson could have been to blame for the questions surrounding his cancer because he felt she left parts out of stories.

Gunvalson later claimed to have lost $400,000 to her relationship. Gunvalson remained on the show for several years following the scandal, but nowadays, she pops in and out as and when the storylines require her input.

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