When you think of scandalous reality stars, TLC’s roster of actors is likely to be the first to come mind. The Duggars, Shannons, and Valestros definitely have their share of problems... but so do the ladies of Bravo.
When you think of the Housewives of the various Real Housewives series, you probably think of wine, plastic surgery, lots of catty drama, and the occasional divorce or affair rumor. However, there’s a whole lot more to these reality TV divas than what first meets the eye.
Over the years, the increasingly widespread cast of the hit reality TV series has faced all manner of issues-- both personal and legal. Some have endured stints of rehab, while others have been in and out of jail... and these just the scandals that the network was unable to bury.
Their super strict contract guidelines are intended to keep most controversies under wraps, but some skeletons refuse to stay in the closet.
Try as they might these 15 Dark Secrets About The Real Housewives were bound to come out eventually.
15 Some Of The Ladies Have Ties To The Mob
Maybe these ladies are used to bugs and wiretapping, as there are reports that a few cast members have ties to the Mafia.
When Teresa Giudice’s husband, Joe, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for fraud, he adapted quickly... by making some powerful criminal friends. An anonymous source told RadarOnline that Giudice was “being taken care of” by fellow inmates-- and we’re not talking the cement shoes treatment here, either. The alleged mob members were said to be protecting Teresa’s husband during his prison stint.
That all sounds pretty dangerous, but it actually turned out really well for Giudice. He had originally been thrown in solitary confinement for showing up to begin his sentence totally plastered. However, he ended up turning things around and had five months removed from his sentence.
14 Tamra Has Been Accused Of Child Abuse
Sadly, the children involved with the Housewives cast seem to be unable to catch a break. Tamra Judge’s daughter dropped a bombshell of an accusation against her estranged mother when she accused the reality TV star of being both emotionally abusive earlier this year.
Though, Judge had made efforts to reconcile with her daughter, Sidney Barney accused her mother of neglecting three of her children and accused her of using her children as pawns for publicity during her divorce.
Barney claimed that Judge had publicly shared private photos of her daughter after promising not to, and that the reality of the divorce had been distorted to make Judge look more sympathetic in the media. Barney did participate in a few reconciliatory meetings, but she made it clear that it was her father who had put her up to patching things up with her mother.
13 Their Contracts Destroy All Sense Of Privacy
Reality stars are already inviting cameras and fans into every aspect of their lives, but the Housewives’ contracts go way, way beyond that.
They are held to strict standards that oversee their entire being from good physical appearance to strong mental health. Though we’re not sure how exactly a studio could dictate that, but they sure try.
This is just a hint at the crazy standards that the Housewives have to live up to. Not only are they not allowed to let their physical appearance slip, in many cases they are also told exactly how they need to present themselves to the world. Hair color and fashion sense-- everything is up to the studio’s discretion. However, it gets worse still.
When they sign on the dotted line, the Housewives give the studio the right to record them at all times. On the phone, in their homes, and in places where people normally have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Nothing is off limits and all of it could turn up on the show if the producers so choose.
12 Teresa Was Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Fraud
Joe may have the prison sentence (and the powerful connections) but Teresa herself was found guilty on the exact same fraud charges as her husband.
Joe and Teresa were accused of fudging the numbers of their income while applying for loans. They weren’t straight out lying, but they were jumping the gun. The show hadn’t aired yet.
However, that’s still super illegal. Making things worse, as their finances began to skyrocket (thanks to the show’s success) they filed for bankruptcy in an effort to hide their assets.
Teresa’s jail time stint won’t be quite as prolific as her husband’s (he was also charged with tax evasion) but she will still spend a good 15 months in prison. Thankfully, officials found it in the best interests of the couple’s children for each parent to serve their sentence one after the other, preventing the children from having to watch both parents end up in jail at the same time.
11 Phaedra's Husband Was Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Bank Fraud
Phaedra's husband was involved in-- you guessed it-- fraud and had an even longer prison sentence than Teresa and her husband. If you thought 41 months seemed like a lifetime, Apollo Nida’s eight-year prison sentence must feel like actual purgatory. Nida was found guilty for cashing stolen checks and laundering an astonishing $2 million.
Phaedra Parks was not found to be wrapped up in her husband’s wrongdoings... and she really let him know how she felt about the scandal. Parks didn’t even bother to show up to Nida’s sentencing, so he got revenge by going clubbing the night before his sentence officially began.
With all that drama you might assume the couple’s relationship was on the rocks-- and Nida would have to agree with you. Shortly before his prison stint began, Nida was asked by a radio host whether or not his marriage would weather his legal troubles, the answer was a resounding "not likely."
10 Sheree Might Have Had A Secret Husband In Prison
The Housewives are obviously no stranger to high profile court cases, but Sheree Whitfield still felt compelled to keep her jailbird husband a secret from the fans.
It would appear that Whitfield wasn’t too worried about the moral implications of her onscreen image as a single divorcee. Gotta keep up that “real” appearance. This makes a whole lot of sense, considering the ladies’ ultra strict contracts.
Before the marriage allegations, it was rumored that Whitfield had been secretly dating and was then engaged to prison inmate, Tyrone Gilliams Jr., who was previously seen on Real Housewives Of Atlanta when Whitfield and NeNe Leakes battled over a business venture involving Gilliams as a promoter. Whitfield’s representatives also denied the secret nuptials. However, this is one rumor that just won’t quit.
What were Gilliams charges? Fraud, of course.
9 NeNe Had Massive Tax Debt
With the onslaught of fraud charges constantly plaguing the Housewives cast, it’s kind of admirable that NeNe Leakes refrained from criminal activity when she found herself facing a seemingly insurmountable mountain of tax debt.
In 2016, Leakes was accused of owing the Georgia state government nearly $830,000 in taxes and faced losing her property and assets to the IRS as a result.
Earlier this year, Leakes whittled down her debt with a massive payment that brought her outstanding balance down to $95, 232.95. That may seem like a staggering amount of debt, but it’s a difference of nearly $700,000.
Unfortunately, Leakes decided not to renew her Real Housewives of Atlanta contract, so she may have to wait a bit longer before she finally pays off her debts in full.
8 Kim Was Charged With Battery Of An Officer
Clearly, the Housewives cast has a lot of experience with the law, but that didn’t stop Kim Richards from getting into super hot water when she was busted for public intoxication in 2015.
What could have resulted in Richards simply being removed from the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge-- staff had called in a report that the Housewife had been upsetting and badgering guests-- resulted in assault on an officer and an actual private person's arrest.
The hotel staff had attempted to get Richards to leave quietly, but she refused and locked herself in a restroom, prompting the staff to perform the citizen’s arrest. When the real officers showed up to take Richards into custody she kicked one of them, adding another charge to her rap sheet.
7 Lauri’s Son Was Charged With Attempted Murder
Fraud and public drunkenness are bad, but the charges against Lauri Peterson’s son, Joshua Waring, take things to a whole new level.
In 2016, the reality TV star’s son was charged with attempted murder after shooting a man in the torso, but that’s only half of the story. After the incident, Waring fled, leading officers on a chase and forcing them to bring out helicopters in an attempt to find him.
Waring had been previously linked to drug addiction, and neighbors reported that the he and his wife fought violently and often. His new legal troubles prompted his mother to step in and rescue her granddaughter Kennedy. Peterson adopted the young girl in an attempt to give her a more stable home life.
6 Kim Got Caught Shoplifting At Target
Fraud, attempted murder, fraud, child abuse, fraud-- clearly the Housewives cast has their issues. Kim Richards’s shoplifting charge might sound innocuous compared to the rest of these incidents, but it’s just another item on a long list of legal troubles surrounding this turbulent cast.
Richards was caught attempting to make off with $600 worth of products from a Van Nuys Target in 2015. Her second arrest took place only four months after her assault charge.
There is one silver lining to come out of Richards’s troubles, however: her arrests led her to sign up for rehab where she attempted to kick her alcoholism. Her efforts have appeared to pay off to a small degree.
Earlier this year, co-star Lisa Rinna accused Richards of being only “mostly sober” rather than completely off the booze. However, that’s still an improvement over the addiction issues that plagued Richards during her time on the show.
5 Tiffany Came Dangerously Close To Addiction
The Housewives seem all seem to struggle with their past demons even as they find fame. However, Tiffany Hendra has used her celebrity status to move on with her life, and hopes that she can be an inspiration to others to do the same.
The reality TV star has openly admitted her struggle with addiction in the past and credits a “come to Jesus” moment with her newfound sobriety. Hendra maintained that she was never actually addicted to Vicodin and alcohol, but it was definitely coming close to that.
Hendra spoke up about her eye-opening moment, saying that she felt as if she were dying and finally decided to turn to God to see her through her darkest moments.
She remained humble about her struggles, noting that many people have gone through similar issues and more will follow. Her bravery and openness about her past led to fans reaching out to support her through her struggles, a gesture she greatly appreciates.
4 NeNe Made An Inappropriate Joke And Could Have Been Fired
NeNe Leakes doesn’t take kindly to hecklers. When an audience member gave her guff at a comedy club in last month, she let them have it. Leakes made an ill-advised joke about sexual assault and immediately regretted her actions.
She was dropped from both her Xscape tour and her Fashion Police gig, leaving her in fear of potentially being fired from The Real Housewives of Atlanta as well.
An anonymous source revealed Leakes’s emotional turmoil over her actions, saying that she had had a breakdown over the fallout and took full responsibility for her mistakes.
Unfortunately for Leakes, her Real Housewives of Atlanta persona has been less than popular, landing her on many fans' most-hated lists. However, she’s hoping that just parlays into continued employment on the reality TV series.
3 Brooks Ayers Made Up His Cancer Diagnosis
Clearly, the ladies (and men) of the Housewives series are plagued with financial and addiction troubles. However, Brooks Ayers may take the bad taste cake. Despite his gig as a reality TV star, he faked his cancer diagnosis.
Ayers spent over a full season hyping up his alleged non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and even produced fake hospital bills to drum up sympathy. However, the hospital refused to be a part of the charade and sold Ayers out by denying that he had ever attended their establishment.
The fake bills weren’t Ayers only attempt to legitimize his claims, though. His ex, Vicki Gunvalson, claimed to have once picked him up from the hospital.
Ayers has maintained the entire time that his diagnosis was real, but the statement from the hospital definitely threw his claims into deep doubt.
2 The Housewives Had To Agree Not To Sue Each Other
If you haven’t guessed, the Housewives series is prone to drama-- whether it be legal or simply bad blood between the stars. However, those ironclad contracts make it clear that the studio wants to retain complete control over their stars’ images and press.
So how do you keep the catfights at bay while simultaneously doing everything in your power to cause a major collision? Forbid your actors from taking any kind of legal action, of course.
When Aviva Drescher spread rumors that Carole Radziwill had hired a ghostwriter for her book What Remains, she was livid and swore that the rumors were unfounded.
After Drescher continued to dredge Radziwill’s family and career through the muck, the housewife admittedly got a little carried away while trying to defend herself. Fans took note, with many recommending that she sue Drescher for the damage to her reputation.
However, suing was never an option. The network includes a clause forbidding the actresses from taking legal action against other when they enter into a working relationship with the series. In order to take Drescher to task for her actions, Radziwill would have had to break her contract with Bravo, putting her career in jeopardy.
1 Tiffany Was An Adult Model
Tiffany Hendra’s scandalous past doesn’t end with her addictions, she once modeled for nude photos. Hendra’s past as a nude model was leaked in the press shortly before her debut on Real Housewives of Dallas, prompting scandal and a flood of internet searches before the show ever aired. This might lead some actresses to worry, but Hendra stood her ground and embraced her past.
Hendra posed for the photos over a decade before her reality TV debut, and she still refused to hide from her past mistakes. Her biography clearly stated her turbulent past, making this a key presence in her storyline.
The show followed Hendra’s efforts to settle into a more subdued lifestyle and reconnect with a long-lost friend. She also dove headfirst into charity work, further proving her dedication to a new way of life.
Can you think of any other dark secrets about the Real Housewives? Let us know in the comments!