Believe it or not, LuAnn de Lesseps’s drunken Christmastime arrest is far from the first scandal to hit Bravo news waves. While kicking a police officer and escaping from locked handcuffs might seem severe, it pales in comparison to the old-school scandals featured across Real Housewives franchises since the first show premiered in 2006.
When discussing Yolanda Hadid’s new beau, a quiet and private businessman, The Morning Breath recalled other Beverly Hills wives who found eternal love after excruciating loss. Or, more importantly, the wives who have suffered through unbearable scandals on television.
Hadid, of course, split with famed music producer David Foster during her Lyme disease battle, while fellow castmates Taylor Armstrong and Camille Grammer went through scandals amid the end of their respective marriages.
Camille Grammer’s situation was the less tragic. Her husband, Frasier king Kelsey Grammer, abandoned his wife and the mother of his two children for 29-year-old Kayte Walsh in 2010. The end of their marriage played out on Season 1 of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Kelsey’s lack of parental obligation continues to play out on the show seven years later. Camille Grammer is now happily engaged to lawyer David C. Meyer, and her admittedly embarrassing relationship betrayal is far behind her.
Just one year after Grammer’s marriage woes, Taylor Armstrong’s husband committed suicide as Season 2 wrapped filming in August 2011. NBC and Bravo grappled with whether Season 2 should air just weeks later. After intense editing and cast discussions, the show did air, with Russell appearing throughout the season.
As Claudia remembers, Armstrong’s desperate plea with Lisa Vanderpump at a tea party that season lives in infamy. “If you can’t be my friend, then please don’t be my enemy,” begged Armstrong when discussing the alleged domestic abuse at the hands of Armstrong’s husband.
Years after intense abuse was at the heart of a storyline for Armstrong, the mom of one is now married to her lawyer, John Bluher. The two live in Colorado — far from the haunting demons that remain in the Hills of Beverly, where Russell Armstrong was found dead.
Beverly Hills definitely paved the way for all future scandals, but let’s not forget the scandal that literally rocked the nation. Real Housewives of D.C. lasted only one season, but the show gave viewers everything they could’ve asked for when Michaele Salahi and her husband (now ex), Tareq, allegedly snuck into the White House during a 2009 state dinner honoring India’s prime minister. Literally caught on camera, the Salahis were recorded getting ready for dinner, “losing” the invitation, and even entering the dinner.
Whether the Secret Service eventually sequestered this footage as evidence is unknown. But during the reunion, when Andy Cohen asked why the Salahis didn’t actually sit down at dinner to eat, they insisted it was because they didn’t like what was being served. Huh?
The Salahis didn’t stop there. Two years later, Michaele Salahi literally went missing, which led to husband Tareq taking to the internet to claim she had been kidnapped. Skeptical of another publicity stunt, fans were wary of believing the ransacking allegation. Lo and behold, Michaele had actually run off with Journey frontman Neal Schon, and the two were eventually married, in 2013. Their wedding was broadcast live and for $14.95 on pay-per-view. That’s not a joke.
Finally, Teresa Giudice. Probably a favorite scandal, the yogi mother of four served 11 months of a 15-month prison sentence for tax and wire fraud in 2015, at the same prison Martha Stewart called home. Upon her release, husband Joe Giudice was sent to Fort Dix to complete a 41-month prison sentence and possible deportation back to Italy.
Without question, Teresa’s return home from prison and Joe’s departure were all caught by Bravo cameras and made for what be the scandal of all scandals.
“We’ll never get TV like that ever again,” says Claudia about those early Housewives days. The stay-at-home-moms-turned-celebrities have entered a new dawn of reality television, where scandals take on a whole new meaning. More often than not, a meme or two can soften the blow of a ratchet mugshot.
“It happened at a time when Real Housewives was huge, but not what it is today,” agrees Jackie.
By the way, Hulu is your saving grace when it comes to rewatching old episodes and refamiliarizing yourself with scandals past and present.