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16 of Bravo's most shocking scandals that left us breathless

16 of Bravo's most shocking scandals that left us breathless

Bravo's 15 most shocking scandals across the network

From The Real Housewives to Below Deck, to Millionaire Matchmaker, there is plenty of scandal to share around here.


Which scandal shook you the most?

Bravo's 15 most shocking scandals across the network


As much as we sort of (but not really) hate to admit it, we just love a good scandal. That's basically the whole point of reality TV in the first place, isn't it? Getting wrapped up in the lives and drama of others to help distract us from whatever's going on in ours. It's the reason we cling to media in the first place, but the addition of the drama being based in "reality" just adds its own certain appeal.

One network that serves drama the best is, hands down, Bravo. Home to The Real Housewives Franchise and its leader, Andy Cohen, the network has seen an incredible amount of fights, scandals, breakups, makeups, and everything in between over the years across its various shows.

Some of them are the juicy kind that we can't wait to unfold, while others veered into dark and even criminal territory and were not fun at all.

Although The Real Housewives is the most popular franchise on the network -- and admittedly, many of these scandals come from those prospective shows -- here are the 15 most shocking scandals and allegations the network has seen throughout its time in existence.

Tom and Erika Girardi fraud case

erika and tom girardi


The eleventh season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills focused a lot on the whirlwind allegations that attorney Tom Girardi, husband of star Erika Jayne from the show, stole money from his clients after winning their court cases. Did Erika know, or was she innocent? Was her "XXPEN$IVE" song an admission to her guilt? Does she even care about the victims? The court ultimately found her innocent, though some people continue to speculate. More is yet to come on this front as just this week Girardi was deemed competent to stand trial.

What's the deal with Heather Gay's black eye?

heather gay rhslc


My goodness, this one was exhausting! The third season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City held a major storyline revolving around a black eye sported by star Heather Gay. There have been more than a year's worth of rumors surrounding what happened, and it turns out the leading one was (allegedly) the truth. Gay finally admitted in the season 4 finale that fellow castmate Jen Shah -- who's serving a prison sentence we'll get to later -- was the culprit. Shah continues to deny she is responsible for the injury. "BRAVO, if I punched Heather in her eye, you guys would have footage to prove it," wrote Shah in an Instagram post . "It's clear the show can't live without me since I was brought up at the beginning, middle and end of season 4."

Jen Shah's prison sentence

jen shah rhslc


And on the topic of Ms. Shah and her prison sentence, let's talk about that for a minute. Shah was arrested during filming alongside one of her assistants, Stuart Smith, who were both charged and subsequently convicted of committing wire fraud and targeting the elderly. Shah was ultimately sentenced to serve 6 1/2 years behind bars on January 6, 2023. Seeing as how she's teaching yoga from jail, she seems to be doing a great job keeping busy.

Teresa Giudice's prison sentence

teresa and joe giudice


Jen Shah wasn't the first housewife to get arrested or imprisoned on the show. In 2014, The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in prison for engaging in bank, mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud over a 10-year period alongside her husband, Joe, who wound up serving 41 months. Teresa's popularity on the show had them halt filming during her sentence and resumed upon her freedom.


vanderpump rules cast


You didn't even have to watch or know Vanderpump Rules existed to hear all about the Scandoval storyline that rocked the show and seems to be seeping into the next season. In case you're unfamiliar, star Ariana Madix found out her boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, was cheating on her with her best friend, Rachel Leviss after being together for nine years. The show had already wrapped filming for the season when the news broke, and Bravo came back with the cameras hot to catch all of the drama unfold, and we couldn't be more grateful that they did.

Millionaire Matchmaker false pairings

patti stanger millionaire matchmaker


Miss Patti Stanger off of Millionaire Matchmaker has dealt with her fair share of haters who come at her for her old-school dating rules and brash manner. However, a Bustle report alleging that only two of her matches were actually authentic, which effectively dismissed any credibility the show had, considering the bulk of her clients supposedly came straight from LA Casting. Plus, Stanger previously admitting her clients would never actually come on the show didn't help her case, either.

Thomas Ravenel's sexual assault claims

thomas ravenel southern charm


Southern Charm's Thomas Ravenel, who served as an original member of the cast, came under scrutiny and was ultimately banned from the show's season 5 reunion and subsequently fired after allegations surfaced of him sexually assaulting his children's nanny, Dawn. Ravenel plead guilty to third degree assault and wound up paying Dawn around $125,000 to settle the lawsuit.

The Kandi Burruss rumor

the real housewives of atlanta


The ninth season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta saw a major scandal when Phaedra Parks wound up getting herself kicked off the show for allegedly starting a rumor that co-star, Kandi Burruss, and her husband, Todd Tucker, planned on drugging and kidnapping their fellow co-star Porsha Williams and taking her into a sex dungeon to do what they pleased with her. Williams repeated the allegations left and right throughout the season, despite Burruss's denials, and things only calmed down when Burruss allegedly threatened the network.

Below Deck's paternity test fiasco

dani soares and jean-luc cerza lanau


The Below Deck spinoff, Sailing Yacht, got a shock in its second season when star Dani Soares announced she was pregnant. There was much speculation that the father was her crew mate, Jean-Luc Cerza Lanau, but she initially kept the identity of the father under wraps until the reunion special, despite Lanau's request to take a paternity test. When Soares admitted she thought it was him, she took offense to his desire for a paternity test and the two have yet to reconcile.

The "Flipping Out" Feud

flipping out


Flipping Out lasted for more than a decade with friends Jenni Pulos and Jeff Lewis at the helm. However, in 2018, Lewis shocked everyone when he alleged that Pulos had reported him to Bravo for "abuse and victimization," claiming he created a hostile working environment. After a lengthy investigation, Lewis was ultimately cleared of any allegations. However, according to People, Pulos was stunned by the news, saying Lewis abruptly fired her after an "explosive lunch."

Michael Darby's sexual assault allegations

real housewives of potomac


Over in The Real Housewives of Potomac, the fourth season took quite the spin when star Ashley Darby's husband, Michael, was accused of groping and inappropriately touching one of the male crew members. He was also accused of cheating on Ashley with a woman in a hotel, but the latter didn't land him with felony assault and misdemeanor charges. Darby, of course, denied all allegations, and even though Ashley stuck by his side for a while, the two have since ultimately divorced.

The arrest of Luann de Lesseps

Ah, Countess Luann de Lesseps of The Real Housewives of New York City fame. She served as a fan favorite and one of the most memorable stars across the entire franchise and gave us a wide variety of scandalous moments throughout her run. One such scandal came between seasons 9 and 10, where she was arrested in Palm Beach after entering the wrong hotel room and refusing to leave. Oops. The fiasco led her to seek out help for her drinking problem, and she entered into rehab shortly before the season 10 reunion, which she missed because of it.


lisa vanderpump puppygate


Lisa Vanderpump dramatically exited the ninth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills following what has since simply become known as "Puppygate." The long story short of this feud comes down to co-star Dorit Kemsley adopting a dog from Vanderpump's rescue, Vanderpump Dogs. After things weren't working out with the dog at home, Kemsley allegedly took the dog to a kill shelter, which infuriated Vanderpump, who wished Kemsley would have returned the dog to her. The feud also ended the long-lasting friendship between Vanderpump and Kyle Richards, who claimed the entire thing was staged.

Nene Leakes Sues

nene leakes


For one hot second, former The Real Housewives of Atlanta original star Linnethia "NeNe" Leakes was suing Bravo and Andy Cohen alleging racist and hostile work environments following her departure from the show. In the suit, Leakes claimed the network both tolerated and encouraged racially insensitive behavior. Having been on the show at various times between 2008 and 2020, Leakes had a long list of grievances to air that acted as proof, but the lawsuit was ultimately dropped. Is it too much of a long shot to hope for her to return? Well, we're hoping anyway.

Kathy Hilton threatens the network

kathy hilton and kyle richards


The twelfth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills saw a major feud between Kyle Richards and her megastar sister, Kathy Hilton. It all started during a trip to Aspen, when Hilton got upset after Lisa Rinna ordered a shot of Kendall Jenner's 818 tequila instead of the Casa Del Sol tequila she invested in. Rinna then alleged Hilton had a fit that ultimately led to her leaving the show, and maintained that she wished the cameras had been there to capture it. Among the allegations, Rinna said Hilton made homophobic slurs, attacked Richards, and claimed she would "destroy" the network and the franchise. Neither Hilton nor Rinna have appeared on the network since.

Monica Garcia revealed as Reality Von Tease

monica Garcia

Courtesy of Bravo

The season four finale of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was truly one for the history books. Not only was there finally the aforementioned disclosure by Heather Gay that Jen was responsible (allegedly) for her black eye but another villian was revealed. According to Gay the online account that the women of the show feared most, Reality Von Tease, was being run by new cast member Monica Garcia (allegedly along with several other people ) all along. According to Gay that account was responsible for exposing videos of Shah mistreating employees, but also for airing out the rest of the cast's (alleged) dirty laundry. Gay also said that Garcia had used several different names to insinuate herself into their lives and eventually onto the cast of the show itself. It was a real Talented Mr. Ripley moment if true, and utterly shocking.

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.