Icons only! The Real Housewives of Orange County debuted in March of 2006 and started it all. The show was originally designed to give viewers a look at housewives “behind the gates.” We followed their families, friendships, businesses and marriages. Two years later, Real Housewives of New York debuted and multiples cities followed throughout the years. By creating Real Housewives, Bravo cemented their contribution in reality tv history.
Like most reality tv shows, the various franchises presented us with a few stars that stood out from the pack. Bethenny Frankel, one such star, explained who she thinks the best of the best is on a recent episode of her podcast, JustB. Bethenny said that if there was a “Mount Rushmore of Housewives” it would feature her, Lisa Vanderpump, Teresa Giudice and NeNe Leakes.
The Instagram account Bravohousewives shared a fun photo created by Bravobygays on their account. It depicts the women’s faces superimposed onto Mount Rushmore. The caption tells fans to sound off with their thoughts in the comments. One fan said, “I agree with her 100% on this.” But another thought differently, asking, “Yes BUT c’mon now… where’s THE OG #ogoftheoc.” Obviously, he is referring to Vicki Gunvalson. Yet another suggested a slight change and wrote, “Replace LVP with Kyle [Richards].”
So clearly not everyone agrees. But it is hard to argue the contributions of the housewives Bethenny listed. So let’s kick things off with the former RHONY turned business mogul. Bethenny appeared on seasons 1-3 on RHONY before leaving and starring in her own spin-off. The show, Bethenny Ever After, featured her wedding to Jason Hoppy and the birth of her daughter, Bryn Hoppy. We all know how her marriage turned out and she returned to RHONY for seasons 7-11. But Bethenny announced her exit again in 2019, seemingly for good this time.
During he time on the show, Bethenny was the blueprint for creating a successful business from her notoriety. She launched her line of low calorie alcoholic drinks named SkinnyGirl in 2009 and sold it two years later for a reported $100 million. Now she’s focused on her podcast and non-profit, BStrong, which has recently raised $100 million for refugees feeling the war in Ukraine. She is also got engaged to longtime boyfriend Paul Bernon. Bethenny’s most famous line: “Go to sleep!”
Lisa was an original cast member of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which debuted in October of 2010. Lisa and husband Ken Todd were known as the ultra wealthy couple who owned and ran multiple restaurants all over the world. One such restaurant, SUR, gave LVP her first spin-off, the now infamous Vanderpump Rules. Despite recent firings and scandals, the show just finished up season 9.
Back on RHOBH, LVP was chased off the show by her castmates in season 9 after she was accused of leaking yet another story to the press. She failed to appear at the reunion that year and her almost decade long run on RHOBH came to a close. Arguably, LVP’s most famous line was uttered by husband Ken: “Goodbye, Kyle!!”
Teresa is the face of Real Housewives of New Jersey. She first graced our screens when RHONJ debuted in May of 2009. Through the years, she gave birth to her youngest daughter, fought like cats and dogs with her family, went to jail, and got divorced. And she’s still standing strong. This season, she has found new love but is at odds with all of her castmates. They are accusing her now fiance, Luis “Louie” Ruelas, of being a walking red flag.
She’s given us one of the most famous moments in housewives history – flipping a table over during a cast dinner that went off the rails. Tre did it again when this season, throwing drinks and food on Margaret Josephs. While some think she have gone too far, fans argue that RHONJ couldn’t survive without feisty star. Tre’s most famous line was the simple flub: “Ingredientses.”
We are going to close out with NeNe. A now polarizing figure, NeNe was an OG on Real Housewives of Atlanta. The show debuted in October of 2008 and she quickly became a fan favorite. RHOA was an early pioneer, featuring wealthy Black women in Atlanta society. NeNe was the clear standout. With her hilarious one-liners, ruthless reads and unapologetic honesty, NeNe was made to be a housewife. But she left brief stint in Hollywood only to come back to the show 2 seasons later.
Unfortunately, NeNe didn’t reconnect with her castmates and found herself more and more isolated from filming with them. She also was preoccupied being a caretaker for Gregg Leakes, her beloved husband, who was battling cancer at the time. NeNe was also accused of attacking a cameraman during an episode where they tried to film in her closet against her wishes. While NeNe tried to claimed that producers “didn’t care one bit,” the damage was done. Not only with fans but allegedly Bravo. She ended her longtime run on RHOA at the end of season, closing her laptop during the virtual reunion and never looking back.
Since she left, Gregg lost his battle with cancer and NeNe’s relationship with Bravo and Andy Cohen deteriorated. Just recently, she filed a lawsuit against Andy and the network accusing them of ignoring her complaints of racism and forcing her out of the franchise. A sad end for a truly memorable housewife. NeNe’s most famous line: “Close your legs to married men!”
What a trip down memory lane. Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to give credit to these housewives for all the good times we had watching. It’s been a wild ride for sure.
TELL US – DO YOU AGREE WITH BETHENNY’S PICKS? WHO WOULD BE ON YOUR HOUSEWIVES MOUNT RUSHMORE? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LINES FROM THE WOMEN?
[Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo]