The Real Housewives franchise has been alive and well since 2006 when Real Housewives of Orange County opened the gates. Back then we were innocent babes and didn’t know what the show was going to turn into. We definitely weren’t focused on OGs or who could potentially nab an orange in the next season.
But we were introduced to some legends and grew to love them. Maybe love is too strong a word for some of the ladies. Over the years other cities were brought into the mix and we eventually reached a point where the casts began changing.
Personalities developed into icons or were put on the chopping block to see how they performed in the next season. Some Real Housewives made the cut and some were told to pack their claws and go home. A few survivors are out there, bobbing in the water and not completely buried at sea. These are the few we like to call… The Demoted.
The Demoted are ladies who were part of a main cast but didn’t do very well with the fans. Or maybe there was an internal conflict with an OG who had some pull with Andy Cohen. The Demoted once appeared in the opening credits, but now find themselves in the dreaded “friend of” category.
Let’s look at a few Real Housewives who started out strong but weren’t strong enough to maintain a seat in a reunion chair.
Real Housewives Of Potomac / Charisse Jackson-Jordan
Charisse Jackson-Jordan started off on Real Housewives of Potomac’s main cast. Unfortunately for Charisse, filming began during a very turbulent time in her life. Cha-Cha was known for her philanthropy work and for hosting swanky charity parties. She also had a love of the finer things in life. But life had plans for Charisse and they didn’t include a longtime gig on RHOP. It also didn’t include a longtime marriage to husband Eddie Jordan.
Charisse’s former husband was a basketball star turned college coach and we didn’t see much of Eddie on the show. They didn’t live together and their bond suffered as a result. Her relationship was crumbling and Cha-Cha was forced to face personal and vulnerable issues with a camera following her around.
In 2017, Charisse told Bravo’s The Daily Dish, Eddie basically threatened to divorce her if she continued appearing on the show. “Like, I literally gave up my career twice because of his career,” she said. “We moved to California, then New Jersey, Maryland, Philly, then back to Maryland, and now I say a few words, and you’re going to say to me divorce if I do this? So it kind of put me in a different space of, ‘Now I really want to do this,’” she said. Charisse maintained her role for two seasons but was demoted to a friend prior to Season 3.
Real Housewives Of New York / Luann de Lesseps
The former Countess Luann de Lesseps is a Real Housewives of New York icon. In fact, Luann is a Bravo icon. She has never been one to run from a storyline unless it involved a pirate. Luann gave her soul to RHONY and fans have been fortunate to be on the receiving end of her multiple messes and successes.
But Season 6 of RHONY kind of caught up with Lu. She was demoted by Bravo to a friend, but viewers couldn’t make any sense of the drop in status. It was rumored Luann was in the middle of a contract dispute and things were not resolved before production began.
The funny thing is, Luann gave so much to that season, Bravo quickly saw the error of its ways and brought Lu back full-time ahead of Season 7. Since that time, Luann remained a full cast member until the show was cut from the roster in 2023. A rebooted version of RHONY will premier later this year. But don’t worry, you’ll see Luann again very soon.
Real Housewives Of Atlanta / Shereé Whitfield
Shereé Whitfield from Real Housewives of Atlanta is another product of the demoted success stories. This is another legend who was in the main cast of RHOA in its inaugural season. Oh, what a time we had!
Shereé left the show after Season 4 and the Bone Collector’s presence was missed. Fans learned she was to make a glorious comeback in Season 8. It was assumed she would fill the hole left behind with NeNe Leakes’ departure, but it wasn’t Shereé who took the peach. Production began and Shereé was filming, but she hadn’t yet received the stipulations to her contract. Unbeknownst to her, Shereé was cast in the friend role. At first, she felt betrayed but began to realize the luxury of spilling tea with no responsibility to clean up.
Shereé did such a wonderful job as a friend, Bravo bumped her back up to where she belonged for Seasons 9 and 10. After taking another break, Shereé has been in the main cast since Season 14.
Real Housewives Of New Jersey / Jackie Goldschneider
Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jackie Goldschneider has a unique situation. First, she holds value as one of the few members of the cast who don’t recoil in fear when Teresa Giudice enters the room. Second, Jackie was demoted, but you wouldn’t really know it. Jackie entered the lion’s den in Season 9 back in 2018 but was knocked down last year before Season 12.
In May 2022, Dolores Catania’s ex-husband Frank Catania was on a podcast and revealed Jackie’s new station in life. “I didn’t know for sure, [but] I went out to dinner the other night with Jackie and Evan [Goldschneider] and, yes, I heard. Yes, alright, she is a ‘friend of,” he said.
Jackie’s previous storyline concentrated on receiving proper medical care for her eating disorder. It’s believed she accepted the reduced role in an effort to focus on a change in priorities. In June 2022, she told Page Six, “I don’t know that my role is diminished, but if it is, you have to believe that the universe put you in that position to raise awareness about something, and then put you on a path to continue raising awareness.”
Real Housewives Of Orange County / Vicki Gunvalson
This was the demotion heard around the world. In fact, there are some solar systems in our Universe that have been pre-warned about the massive cries of anguish released from Earth in 2019. The wails of Victoria Gunvalson’s agony will reach uncharted territories in about 200 years. Vicki was the OG of Real Housewives of Orange County. One of the few remaining original cast members still whooping it up in RHOC’s 13th season.
Vicki was a survivor. She survived Slade Smiley. She survived Kelly Dodd. But in Season 10, she barely survived Brooks Ayers. The lies told by Brooks and co-signed by Vicki put a blight on her fan base that was hard to shake. After she repeatedly chose Brooks over her friends’ and family’s sage advice to stay clear, Vicki also participated in his cancer scheme.
Brooks went to great lengths to lie about having a disease that impacts so many people. Viewers were horrified when his deceit was discovered and watched as Vicki stood by her man. She never fully recovered from this unfortunate storyline that grew way out of her control. And the RHOC audience was loud about it.
She didn’t do a lot to redeem herself in the interim and by Season 14, rumors were floating around. Vicki wasn’t included in the official cast photos. When asked if she had been fired, she would use the popular “contract negotiations” line. But there was previous speculation Vicki was rude to the crew and sat so high on her horse no one could deal with the antics.
In 2019, Andy Cohen told Us Weekly, “If they become a turn-off to viewers, for whatever reason — they appear too fake, they’re not interesting, they’re not entertaining — [then they’re no longer a fit].” Vicki was no longer a fit and she has been included in a guest or friend capacity into the season that just wrapped. But it’s hard to say if she’ll ever get that elusive orange again.
TELL US- WHAT DEMOTED HOUSEWIFE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE BACK? WHICH DEMOTED HOUSEWIFE WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST? WHICH CURRENT HOUSEWIFE SHOULD BE DEMOTED?
[Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images]