I love my job. As executive vice president of original programming and development at Bravo, I oversee the production of every episode of every single one of our shows. And as the host of Watch What Happens: Live and the Housewives reunion shows, I get to speak to the casts directly and ask them the questions we’re all dying to know the answers to. The Housewives are real women with real problems, real highs and lows—people might think they’re acting or playing to the camera, but they’re truly not. They’re just like you. It just so happens that their hair is blonder and their boobs are bigger than most. Underneath the makeup and bling are people women relate to—you like them or love them or hate them or laugh or cry with them or roll your eyes. My front-row seat to the Bravo drama has taught me a lot about the psychology of women (and men!). So I’m here to share what I’ve gleaned about life, friendships and love from those Housewives, little dogs and opinionated matchmakers. Enjoy!
“I want it all. I want success. I want love. I want my marriage perfect. And it’s not.”
—Vicki Gunvalson, The Real Housewives of Orange County
What I’ve learned about relationships: Talking matters!
I look at love and marriage through the lens of The Real Housewives of Orange County. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’ve got to communicate. For example, take Vicki and Donn Gunvalson, who split up last season. I think part of their problem is that the two of them never really heard each other or met halfway. She needed to be listened to, and he needed to be validated. But that never happened, and as Vicki said, her love tank just wasn’t full.
And another lesson: You need to be able to be your own person and be a full woman outside of the relationship—you can’t let it be the only defining thing about you! If you look at Orange County, some of the wives are not given any freedom or independence within their relationship. This past season there was an episode in which Alexis Bellino went to a dinner party without her husband, Jim, and she had a breakdown because she didn’t know how to enjoy it without him. With Tamra and Simon Barney, she said he was very controlling of her, where she was going and what she was doing. Relationships like that are unsustainable.
But as a counterpoint, look at Alex McCord from the New York cast. She’s unapologetic about how she and her husband, Simon, do everything together, and I know she still considers herself to be very modern and independent. For some women, it works; for others, it doesn’t.