The Real Housewives of Orange County is an American reality television series on Bravo that debuted on March 21, 2006, and is set in Orange County, California. It is the first The Real Housewives program in the franchise. The series is a voyeuristic look into the wealthy lives of these housewives, as they shop, get plastic surgery, gossip, fight and live lavishly. The financial crisis, the beginning of which coincided almost exactly with the first season's broadcast, has since trimmed the housewives' lifestyles with job losses, evictions, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, and marital stress--all recorded in progressive seasons of the show.
The series emerged as The Real Housewives on April 26, 2005, when Bravo announced their programming slate for the 2005-2006 season. It would later be announced with the current title, The Real Housewives of Orange County, on January 5, 2006, with Kimberly Bryant, Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough and Lauri Waring as the five original housewives. Created by Orange County producer and Coto de Caza ("Coto") resident Scott Dunlop, the series was initially set primarily in the gated community of Coto, following the lavish livestyles of five "housewives" and their families who resided within Coto mansions, with the exception of one housewife (Lauri Waring), who lived in a Ladera Ranch townhouse. The first season was produced by Dunlop Entertainment and Kaufman Films with Scott Dunlop, Kevin Kaufman, Dave Rupel and Patrick Moses serving as executive producers.
Kimberly Bryant was replaced by Tammy Knickerbocker in the second season. Bravo announced on March 28, 2007, that casting was taking place for the third season. The third season premiere date was released on October 9, 2007, with Tamra Barney introduced into the cast. Quinn Fry also joined the season during the sixth episode of the third season. Barney and Fry were discovered by producers during the casting call. With the introduction of Barney, Fry and Waring's move to San Juan Capistrano, the scope of the show widened its narrow focus that used to emphasize the privilege and exclusivity of living in gated Coto de Caza to purport the general luxury and materialism of living in the Orange County environment.
Bravo announced the series' fourth season renewal with the return of three original housewives, Gunvalson, Keough, Peterson (Waring, after her marriage to George Peterson at the end of Season 3), and Season 3 housewife Barney. A new housewife, Gretchen Rossi, replaces Season 2 housewife Knickerbocker and Season 3 housewife Fry, both of whom did not return. To compensate for the mid-season departure of Peterson, another new housewife, Lynne Curtin, joined the cast.
In June 2009, Bravo announced the renewal of the show for a fifth season with the entire season four cast returning. During this season a sixth housewife, Newport Beach resident Alexis Bellino was added to the cast to replace Keough, who departed mid-season, leaving Gunvalson as the only remaining original cast member. The series was renewed for a sixth season, with new housewife Peggy Tanous replacing Lynne Curtin. It was also announced that Fernanda Rocha, a personal trainer who co-owns the Art of Fitness & Day Spa, had signed on to appear on several episodes during season six. On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, The Real Housewives of Orange County was renewed for the seventh season with new housewife Heather Dubrow.
Alexis Bellino announced on September 24, 2012 that she would not be returning to the show for its eighth season in order to 'focus on family and other opportunities'. However, in October 2012, Alexis was spotted filming scenes for the show and is still a main cast member. Production for season eight started in Fall 2012. All housewives of season seven returned along with new housewife Lydia McLaughlin. On November 19, 2012, Vicki Gunvalson posted a picture on her official Facebook page of the ladies getting ready for a bachelorette weekend for Tamra Barney which was being filmed for season eight. Included in the picture were Gunvalson, Barney, Rossi, Dubrow, and new Housewife, Mclaughlin. Noticeably absent from the picture was Alexis Bellino, who was not invited on the vacation. Lauri Peterson has returned in a recurring role. The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered its eighth season on April 1, 2013.
Bravo celebrated the series' 100th episode milestone by airing a two hour special that depicted The Real Housewives phenomenon and how the series impacted the lives of the housewives and their families who have been on the show. Bravo also aired the first 100 episodes starting ten days before the June 24, 2013, air date of the special.
It was announced on September 24, 2013 by E! that Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino will not be returning for the series' ninth season. Cast member Tamra Judge announced that the upcoming season began production on October 23, 2013. Lydia McLaughlin announced her exit from the series on November 4, 2013. Shannon Beador was announced as a new addition to the cast on November 29, 2013, via fellow cast member Tamra Barney's Instagram post. In December 2013, Elizabeth Rovsek was revealed as the second new housewife for season nine. Danielle Gregorio is the third new cast member.
(Season 1 - present)
Born March 27, 1962, Vicki Gunvalson has a family that includes her ex-husband, Donn, and the two children from her first marriage, Michael and Briana Wolfsmith. She works as an independent insurance agent. Gunvalson herself admits to having control issues. By Season 3, Gunvalson and her husband are empty nesters and purchase a smaller home in Coto with the goal to downsize and simplify their lives. However, they still reside in their large residence and Gunvalson eventually sells the smaller home. Gunvalson appears to have expanded her business to include business associates in Bellevue, Washington and Atlanta, Georgia, with her son eventually joining her business. Her daughter Briana has a cancer scare, as documented in the series, but eventually recovers. In October 2010, it was reported that Vicki and Donn were divorcing. In April 2011, on the Bravo series Watch What Happens Live, Vicki confirmed that divorce proceedings were ongoing. She is the sole original housewife from the first season, which lead to Andy Cohen giving Gunvalson the title of "The OG of the OC".
Gunvalson's daughter gave birth to her first grandchild on September 28, 2012. Troy William Culberson is the son of Briana Wolfsmith-Culberson and her husband Ryan Culberson. The Culberson's are expecting their second child, which is another boy.
(Season 3 - present)
Tamra Judge (formerly known as Barney), born September 2, 1967, joined the cast in Season 3 through a casting call. She lived in Ladera Ranch with her second husband of 10 years, Simon Barney. Judge became a real estate agent in Coto de Caza and Ladera Ranch to achieve a sense of "value" in her family dynamic. However, she made it clear that her job did not provide her family with its primary financial support and that her husband was her family's primary breadwinner. Her family includes three children by Simon: Sidney, Spencer, and Sophia. Judge also had an older son, Ryan Vieth, from her first marriage. On January 7, 2010, after production was completed on the fifth season, Simon filed for divorce claiming Tamra was "verbally abusive and committed acts of disloyalty and infidelity."
Judge confirmed on May 22, 2013, that she received her own wedding spinoff. The three-part series entitled Tamra's OC Wedding debuted on September 2, 2013, and showcased Tamra's June 15, 2013, wedding to Eddie Judge Tamra and Eddie's wedding ceremony was held on June 15, 2013.
Status: Married to Eddie Judge
(Season 7 - present)
Heather Dubrow /dʉˈbroʊ/ joined the cast in season 7 as a stay-at-home mom, married to Newport Beach plastic surgeon, Terry Dubrow. In season 8, Dubrow filmed guest spots on Hot in Cleveland and Malibu Country. Heather and Terry have four children: twins Nicholas and Maximilia, Katarina, and Collette. Dubrow and her family lived in the community of Pelican Hill, however, sold their mansion for $16,450,000. They are in the process of building a new home in the guard-gated Crystal Cove community, located in Newport Coast, Newport Beach.
Status: Married to Terry Dubrow
(Season 9 - present)
Shannon Beador is married to David Beador, who is the owner of Beador Construction Company, Inc. The couple have three children together, which includes a set of twins.
(Season 9 - present)
Elizabeth Rovsek is a former model and was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in 2002. Rovsek is married to Christian Alexander Rovsek, with whom she shares two sons, Kingston and Preston. Rovsek also owns a business that sells designer swimsuits, named Sun Kitten Swimwear. Rovsek graduated from University of Kentucky with a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising.
(Season 9 - present)
Danielle Gregorio is a party planner and a mother of three children. Gregorio is married to Joe Gregorio.
Kimberly Bryant is a stay-at-home mom. Bryant's sole season on the series focuses on her decision to surgically enhance her physical appearance after moving to Coto; her husband Scott asked her to get breast augmentation surgery. At the end of Season 1, Bryant said her family's departure from the show to Chicago was catalyzed by her medical history of melanoma. Bryant makes cameo appearances in season 3 at Lauri Waring's bridal shower and in season 4 when Gunvalson and Keough reunite with her during their trip to Chicago to visit family. She also attends a season 4 end-of-summer party.
Jo De La Rosa:
(Seasons 1 - 2)
Jo De La Rosa was born in Lima, Peru and emigrated with her parents to Tustin, California at the age of three. In 1994, her parents won the California Lottery and moved the family to Mission Viejo. There she attended Mission Viejo High School where she was active in drama, cheer, and student body. She graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in English and Comparative Literature. She then started a career in the title insurance industry where she met Slade Smiley, who served as her entrance into the Coto lifestyle.
In Season 1, De La Rosa lived with Slade in his house behind the Coto gates. Included in her Coto family were his two sons from two different relationships, Gavin and Grayson. Slade is an executive in the title insurance industry and provided De La Rosa with the money and prestige of living the Coto lifestyle. He gave her a Mercedes sedan and a luxurious home and wanted De La Rosa, in turn, to be the conventional stay-at-home wife and mother. In De La Rosa's words, "Slade is pretty much keeping me." Despite having all of her financial needs taken care of, she still had trouble adjusting to the traditional housewife role.
In Season 2, De La Rosa decided to move out of Coto to take a position as the title representative for her company's Beverly Hills territory. As a result, Slade ended their romantic relationship during a session with a relationship therapist, but becomes her unofficial "guide" on contract or business issues as she pursues a singing career. Another change to her Coto life during this season was that Slade's younger son, Grayson, did not appear to live with De La Rosa and Slade.
De La Rosa was not included as a Season 3 cast member as she has moved to Los Angeles with a record contract from Immergent Records in tow. However, she makes cameo appearances at Keough's backyard cocktail party on the season 3 finale episode and the post-season 3 reunion episode. She also appears in the season 4 finale, along with several housewives from seasons past.
De La Rosa and Slade were a part of a spinoff on a dating reality show following her pursuit of love and a music career in Los Angeles. On July 12, 2008, their series entitled, Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, premiered on Bravo. Before the spin-off premiered, Bravo aired a one episode special titled, Jo and Slade: The Break Up, on June 30, 2008, that recapped De La Rosa and Slade's romantic history and previewed their forthcoming series.
De La Rosa released her first album, titled "Unscripted," in August 2008.
In Season 4, Rossi appears as an extra in De La Rosa's first music video with Slade as the video's producer. De La Rosa's website once hinted at a sophomore album, but she has since confirmed that she is working steadily in the digital media industry.
(Seasons 1 - 4: Main, Season 8: Recurring)
In Season 1, Lauri Peterson was a multiple-divorced single mother who lived in a house with maid service in the neighboring Dove Canyon with her ex-husband, but in the aftermath of her divorce, she had to downsize to a smaller townhouse outside the gates in Ladera Ranch. Her family included children Ashley, Josh and Sophie. To make ends meet, she worked in Gunvalson's home insurance office, however by Season 2, after forming a relationship with a rich land developer, Waring appears to have a less active role in Gunvalson's insurance company and by Season 3, Waring never appears working with Gunvalson or in the insurance business. Her daughter Ashley moved back home to escape the difficulties of paying her own bills and her son Josh spent time in juvenile detention.
During Season 2, Peterson became engaged on Lake Como to a wealthy real estate and land developer, George Peterson. Season 2 focused on Peterson's relationship with George and the financial improvements to her lifestyle that this upwardly mobile relationship provides her and her children. Waring identifies herself as a Republican and attends a Republican Party fundraiser as part of George's social obligations.
By Season 3, Peterson, Ashley and Sophie have moved in with George into his home in San Juan Capistrano. She is shown planning her expensive third wedding and riding horses at George's ranch. After leaving rehab, Josh moved into Peterson's Ladera Ranch townhouse with Ashley, however, Waring/Peterson purports that Josh broke a number of "house rules" and evicted him. After leaving his mother's townhouse, Josh moved in with George's ex-wife, Gina. Despite the appearance of numerous children from George's former marriage and Waring/Peterson's repeated commentary about their "modern Brady Bunch family" in Season 2, only one daughter, McKenzie, appears to live with George and Peterson during Season 3. The Season 3 finale included a psychotherapy session attended by Peterson and Josh where they achieved resolution in their conflicted mother-son relationship. Josh ends up being included in his mother's lavish wedding ceremony as his grandmother's escort down the aisle.
In Season 4, Peterson makes a brief appearance with the other housewives. Gunvalson commented that Peterson used to be a close friend but not since she married George and says that, "It's sad". As the season progresses, it is apparent that Peterson interacts very sporadically with the other housewives saying that her focus and attention is with George and her family. December 9, 2008, marked the departure of Peterson from the show to focus her attention on her family and their difficulties, specifically citing Josh's spiral into heroin addiction. Prior to the start of Season 4, in June 2008, Josh was charged with two felony counts of possession and intent to sell. He would later be arrested on April 23, 2010, and charged with battery on a spouse or significant other and false imprisonment.
Peterson came back to the series during season 8 as a recurring housewife and has since dropped Waring from her name.
(Seasons 1 - 5)
Jeana Keough /ˈkiːoʊ/ (born September 18, 1955) is a former Playboy Playmate of the Month (November 1980, under the name Jeana Tomasino) and actress (featured in the 1981 film History of the World, Part 1 and in the 1982 movie Beach Girls) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeana was also featured in ZZ Top's video's. In Season 3, she legally separated from her second husband, Matt Keough, with whom she has three children: Shane, Kara, and Colton. Matt is a former major league pitcher for the Oakland A's and several other major league teams.
Keough often described her experience as a mother as tough and her children are often seen battling with one another over the usual sibling rivalries and the not so usual sibling rivalries, such as who has the newer BMW. Kara talks on-air about her family dynamic by saying, "We show our love by buying each other things." During both Seasons 1 and 2, Keough explained that Matt was often out of town on business which left her as the primary parent and disciplinarian to her three children, which resulted in a very hectic household. Part of this absence can be attributed to Matt's serving time in jail for a drunk driving accident in which he hit a bicyclist. Season 2 continued to document Keough's marital struggle and one of her closing statements is, "We have four houses; he Matt can choose one."
In Season 3, Keough's Coto family has gotten smaller as she and Matt have legally separated, and Colton is the only child living consistently at home. Shane plays minor league baseball out of state and Kara (a former child actor) prepares to attend UC Berkeley in Northern California. In prior seasons, Colton was depicted as the reasonable, obedient, down-to-earth child with Keough describing him as her "golden child". However, this season shows Colton defying his mother, Coto HOA rules, and traffic laws; with Keough now saying that she doesn't trust Colton alone and she really wants to keep a closer eye on him.
In the opening scenes of Season 4, Keough and Matt still live in the same house with Keough explaining that she takes in all types of people into her house, so "why wouldn't she let the father of her children live in her home?" Despite their close living quarters, Keough asserts that she and Matt are definitely separated and she has just redecorated her master bedroom as a show of her independence. With Shane and Kara living in different cities, Colton remains the only child living with her and Keough relies on family friend "Uncle Richie" to act as a father figure for him (such as helping Colton get ready for prom). With the downturn of the real estate market, and California particularly hard hit, a portion of Keough's Season 4 storyline depicts how the market lows and the recession has affected Keough's occupation as a high-end realtor. The extreme real estate downturn in Orange County since 2005 has severely impacted the Keoughs' financial position. Jeana and Matt lost the residences which they bought for their children during the boom, but averted the loss of their home in March 2010.
The third episode of Season 5 was Keough's last appearance as a regular on the show, although she has made later cameo appearances.
Keough returned to Bravo in September 2010 on the fitness series Thintervention with Jackie Warner as a weight-loss client.
Fry joined the cast mid-Season 3 on December 11, 2007, by answering a casting call advertisement in a local newspaper. She was born in 1955 in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where her father was stationed in the military. Married twice before and now single, she lives in San Clemente, California. She has two children, one from each of her marriages: Shannon (31 at the time, a Eureka resident) and Colin. Colin lives with Fry and attended San Clemente High School as a senior at the time. She is portrayed as a "cougar" as she is casually seeing a 26-year-old named Jared and she comments that "I love having a younger man in my life." However, a liaison with a golf pro in his forties, named Billy, is the relationship that Fry more seriously pursues. The other housewives meet her for the first time at a Mission Viejo restaurant where they immediately ask Fry a number of personal questions, such as, her age (52 at the time) and the name of her plastic surgeon. At this meet-and-greet, she calls the other housewives "catty" in response to their derisive comments after being introduced to Jared. For example, Barney comments in her camera confessional about Fry dating Jared that "I think if you're super hot like Demi Moore you can get away with it, but that's not the case."
The series chronicles her search for a committed relationship that will lead to marriage. She struggles to balance her self-purported "sensual" side with her religious conviction that she is meant to be married. She describes her most recent relationship with a man that she lived with for three years as a waste of time because he was simply not interested in being married. At the end of Season 3, Fry breaks up with Billy because he could not even call her his girlfriend let alone marry her.
Fry leaves the cast after the end of Season 3, but attends a party Keough gives during the premiere episode of Season 4. She keeps in touch with Keough, calling her the "glue that keeps the housewives together" and describes her as the "peacekeeper." At Keough's invitation, Fry plans to attend a "Housewives" function to reunite with Gunvalson, Keough, and Knickerbocker. However, she describes Waring as a "fake" and classifies Barney similarly, stating that they smile when the cameras are on but are completely different when she sees them on the street. She makes a party appearance in Season 5.
(Seasons 2 - 3)
Tammy Knickerbocker, joined the cast as a 46-year-old single mother of three in Season 2 at the recommendation of her close friend of over 15 years and then-housewife Jeana Keough. Knickerbocker's family includes her two daughters from her first marriage, Megan and Lindsey, as well as a young son named Ryley from a recently ended relationship. Her first marriage to Lou (who died of a heart attack at age 67 on April 24, 2007) ended when he had an affair with his assistant and their lucrative business went bankrupt. Her lifestyle has been "reduced" from being married and owning one of the largest houses in Coto de Caza to being single and renting a $1.3 million house in the community while her permanent Coto home undergoes renovations because of severe water damage.
Another twist to her storyline is that Ryley's father, Duff, works in Coto as Gunvalson's home office manager. Knickerbocker and Duff attempt to balance their "friends with benefits" relationship with raising their young son. In the end, however, Duff and Knickerbocker decide to end any romantic relationship. Duff swears off the "crazy women of Coto de Caucasian" and Knickerbocker introduces the new man in her life to the other Housewives at Gunvalson's splashy end-of-summer barbecue party.
Although Knickerbocker left the series at the end of Season 3, she makes a cameo appearance at the end of Season 4, when she attended a party with current and selected former housewives, and another appearance for a Bunco party hosted by Tamra Barney.
(Seasons 4 - 5)
On December 16, 2008, the Capistrano Beach resident Curtin, joined the cast in the fourth episode of Season 4 to replace Lauri Waring Peterson. She has been married to Frank Curtin for 18 years and is a stay-at-home mom for her two teenage daughters, Raquel and Alexa. Her role as a stay-at-home mom and accompanying interpretation of appropriate parenting style is her storyline in Season 4.
While her younger daughter, Alexa, stays at home, Raquel prefers (in her words) to "party with her friends as often as she can" throughout Orange County. She is shown eating out in Laguna Beach restaurants ordering alcoholic beverages and smuggling bottled alcohol into a bowling alley to surreptitiously drink with her fellow underage friends in the bathroom. Compounding her image as a "problem child" (as Curtin teasingly labels her eldest), Raquel discloses to Keough that she graduated from a high school program called Access at Horizons, which Keough explains is designed to cope with children with disciplinary problems.
The other Housewives label her and Frank as "so laid back," with Barney and Gunvalson implying that they both use marijuana to achieve that level of calmness. Barney, Gunvalson, and Keough observe that the Curtins differ so greatly from the rest of the Housewives and their spouses because of their "purposes".
Lynne Curtin appeared as a guest on Season 2, Episode 3, of Top Chef Masters. On August 6, 2010, Curtin has announced on her official Facebook page that she will not be returning to the show: "Rumor has it that I will not be returning for Season 6, That rumor is true! Further rumor has it we will be back somewhere else on our own show! Hmmmm! Watch what happens; Life is so unpredictable! Enjoy!".
In May 2012, former co-star Tamra Barney stated that Lynne and Frank have, since leaving the show, filed for divorce.
Curtin makes an appearance during Season 6.
(Seasons 4 - 8)
Gretchen Rossi joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County in Season 4. Gretchen grew up in La Cresenta, California, and has a degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies and Child Development. Rossi has a make-up line and handbag collection. Rossi has dated Jo's ex-fiancé Slade Smiley for several years, with Rossi proposing to Smiley in season 8. She is pursuing options to become pregnant with Slade.
Gretchen has a singing career and was featured on the show making her professional singing debut performing with the Pussycat Dolls at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas.
Status: Engaged to Slade Smiley
(Seasons 5 - 8)
Alexis Bellino joined the cast during Season 5, as a stay-at-home mom. Originally from the small town of Hannibal, Missouri, she now lives in San Juan Capistrano with her husband, Jim Bellino. Alexis and Jim have three children, James, twins Melania and Mackenna.
In September 2012, Us Weekly reported that Alexis had quit the show and would not be returning for season 8. Bellino released a statement to People Magazine stating that she will not be returning to the show's eighth season "in order to focus on family and other opportunities". However, in October 2012, Alexis was spotted filming scenes for season 8 and was included in the cast.
Status: Married to Jim Bellino
Peggy Tanous /ˈtænoʊs/, is a former model and stay-at-home mom. Peggy is a close friend to Alexis, but as the season plays out, the relationship hits a rocky patch. Peggy jumps into the middle of a friendship with Tamra, because they are both involved with younger men, and Vicki because Peggy believes strongly in astrology and Vicki is an Aries, which is the same as Peggy. During the season, Peggy gets breast implant replacement surgery because it's healthier and as she says, she wants to look "damn good in a bathing suit!". Peggy also reinvigorates her former modeling/hosting career, but there is more to Peggy than just good looks as she opens up about an emotional secret.
Lydia McLaughlin joined the cast in Season 8. She is the granddaughter of Canadian media mogul Geoff Stirling, founder of NTV, the first 24-hour television station in Canada. Lydia and her husband Doug live in Dana Point with their two sons, Stirling and Maverick. McLaughlin announced on November 4, 2013, that she will not be returning for the ninth season.
Status: Married to Doug McLaughlin
Jo De LaRosa
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