Reality TV Divorce Curse: Real Housewives of Orange County Victims

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05: The cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" arrives at Bravo's 2nd annual A-List Awards held at the Orpheum Theater on April 5, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05: The cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" arrives at Bravo's 2nd annual A-List Awards held at the Orpheum Theater on April 5, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

Real Housewives of Orange County was the first Real Housewives show. Over its many seasons, it has seen more than its fair share of wrecked marriages. The divorce curse came in hot! Let’s take a look at the RHOC marriages that ended in divorce.

Vicki Gunvalson and Donn Gunvalson

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Isabella Vosmikova/NBCU Photo Bank)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Isabella Vosmikova/NBCU Photo Bank)

Vicki Gunvalson will always be the “OG of the OC.” And when we met her, she was married to Donn Gunvalson. The early seasons of the show focused on Vicki’s relentless workaholism and her family life.

Vicki and Donn’s marital strife became more evident. But the couple renewed their vows during Season 5 in Turks & Caicos. Which meant that their marriage was doomed. After 16 years of marriage, Vicki filed for divorce from Donn in 2010. At first, Vicki blamed the show for causing all the stress in her marriage. Their divorce was finalized in January 2014.

Vicki finally admitted that her relationship with Brooks Ayers overlapped with her marriage. “I divorced my husband for Brooks and it’s the biggest regret I ever had. I will never, ever cheat again. It destroyed my family,” Vicki admitted. Although Brooks was bad news, Vicki refused to read the memo. Or look closely at the medical paperwork that Brooks forged to boost his claim that he had cancer.

Lynne Curtin and Frank Curtin

(Photo Credit: Tom Briglia/FilmMagic)
(Photo Credit: Tom Briglia/FilmMagic)

Lynne Curtin and Frank Curtin were unique in the history of Real Housewives. This is the first couple that was shown living way above their means. Lynne, who joined the show for seasons 4 and 5, had a business making cuffs.

In 2009, the Curtins were served with an eviction notice by the owner of their Laguna Beach rental house. And the notice was handed to one of the couple’s daughters on camera.

Frank didn’t pay a hefty security deposit to the landlord. Unbeknownst to Lynne and their daughters, the family had been living a champagne life on a zero budget. Did I mention that Lynne had a facelift the same year that the family was evicted? Frank finally revealed the extent of their money problems, and the family moved out of their rental.

Lynne filed for divorce from Frank in 2012 after more than 20 years of marriage. The couple continued to be plagued by financial woes.

Since neither Frank nor Lynne did anything about their divorce for five years, a judge dismissed the case. So, in 2019, Lynne once again filed for divorce after almost 30 years of marriage. If no one is motivated enough to find a pen, maybe this duo should stay married.

Alexis Bellino and Jim Bellino

(Photo Credit: David Becker/WireImage)
(Photo Credit: David Becker/WireImage)

When Alexis Bellino joined the show in Season 5, she made no apologies for who she was. She was religious and embraced traditional marriage values. She called her husband, Jim Bellino, her “king.” Yes- it is still cringe.

The couple clashed over Alexis wanting to spend time outside of the home with her co-stars, and about having a co-hosting gig. Jim wanted her at home raising their three children. And Alexis often argued with her co-star Tamra Judge, who nicknamed her “Jesus Jugs.” Also, cringe.

In June 2018, Jim filed for divorce, listing “irreconcilable differences.” And, in a non-traditional move, he asked Alexis for spousal support.

Their divorce was finalized in August 2018. In the settlement, Jim ended up with two mansions and their SkyZone business. Alexis was awarded their new San Juan Capistrano home. The RHOC alum also received $16,000 per month in combined alimony and child support. And she was awarded a tidy $250,000 lump sum.

Jim was also well-known for filing a defamation lawsuit against Tamra and Shannon Beador for talking about him and his allegedly “shady” business practices. I do not miss seeing Jim on my TV screen. Alexis has moved on in the romance department. In December 2020, she announced that she was engaged to Andy Bohn.

Jeana Keough and Matt Keough

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)

Jeana Keough appeared in the first five seasons of RHOC. Her story was centered on her real estate business and her family. She had two sons, Shane Keough and Colton Keough, and a daughter, Kara Keough. One of Jeana’s most infamous moments was when Tamra threw a glass of wine in her face during a spat.

Jeana and her husband, Matt Keough, had an unusual marriage. They were separated while on the show, but still maintained a relationship.

Matt was a Major League Baseball player. In 1992, he was struck by a foul ball and suffered a severe head injury. Jeana revealed that the couple was separated for almost 22 out of their 32 years of marriage. In 2019, Jeana also shared at BravoCon that the couple was finally divorced.

Sadly, Matt passed away unexpectedly in May 2020. Jeana revealed that Matt “had a pulmonary embolism.” The former RHOC star added that “he wasn’t sick … So young and pretty reasonably healthy.”

Noella Bergener and James Bergener

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)

Noella Bergener burst onto the scene and tried to come for the returning RHOC legend Heather Dubrow. That was a tragic miscalculation. Don’t try and take the champs from Fancy Pants. Noella ended up another one-season wonder, but she left us with a season full of drama.

Noella discovered that her husband, attorney James Bergener, owed over $5 million in taxes to the IRS and the State of California. And Noella found out about the debt from the press, not her husband.

Noella was served with divorce papers from James in August 2021. He filed them from Puerto Rico and claimed that he wasn’t living with Noella and their son. She was clueless that James was divorcing her, and all this drama played out in front of the Bravo cameras.

Noella claimed that James cut off her credit cards, and didn’t pay support for, or visit, their son. The newbie also claimed that their divorce was not valid because it was filed in Puerto Rico.

James fired back, and he had a slightly different version of events. Shocker! According to James, his divorce was finalized in Puerto Rico on December 8, 2021. Despite having not visited his son, James claimed that he gave Noella over $150k towards his care.

Tamra Barney and Simon Barney

(Photo Credit: Getty Images for IMG/Katy Winn)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images for IMG/Katy Winn)

During Season 5, Tamra Barney and Simon Barney endured a memorable limo ride. “F**k you, I want a divorce,” Tamra told Simon. Obviously, she wasn’t happy with Simon’s controlling behavior.

But in a shocking move, Simon filed for divorce in January 2010. The accusations he made against Tamra were stunning. Simon stated that Tamra “has been verbally abusive and has committed acts of disloyalty and infidelity.”

He also filed the documents on the day that an episode of RHOC detailed their marital problems. The couple, who shared three children, had been married for 11 years.

In September 2010, Simon was arrested for allegedly throwing a retractable dog leash at Tamra and striking her. She was granted a temporary restraining order against him.

In October 2011, the dueling duo’s divorce was finalized. In 2013, Tamra found love again and wed Eddie Judge. And she nabbed that all-important wedding spinoff, Tamra’s OC Wedding. But her drama with her ex continued.

Simon filed court documents in 2014 claiming that Tamra “has been very neglectful in her care for the children.” Tamra responded, “He has no foundation to his allegations and in my opinion will do anything to destroy me.”

When Simon announced that he had stage 3 throat cancer in 2020, Tamra, Simon, and their children put their differences aside. Even Tamra’s son from a previous marriage, Ryan Vieth, made amends with Simon. And Simon’s diagnosis also brought Tamra and her daughter, Sidney Barney, closer together.

Gina Kirschenheiter and Matt Kirschenheiter

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Santiago Felipe)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Santiago Felipe)

Gina Kirschenheiter joined RHOC during Season 13. Gina’s husband, Matt Kirschenheiter, was never seen on camera. Gina decided to file for divorce from her husband right out of the gate in April 2018.

The RHOC star requested joint legal custody of their children. She also asked for sole physical custody. Although marital issues were just part of Gina’s life.

On February 1, 2019, Gina was arrested for suspicion of DUI. She pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors. Gina received three years probation, six months in an alcohol program, and community service.

In June 2019, Matt was arrested after he allegedly physically attacked Gina. She asked for, and received, a temporary restraining order.

In a court hearing on August 14, 2019, the couple was advised that their marriage would terminate on December 31, 2019. Matt and Gina continued to wrangle over child support. Finally, Gina took a payout of $230,000 in place of child and spousal support.

Gina also moved on with her new boyfriend, Travis Mullen. After dating for six months, the couple moved their blended family, with a total of six kids, into a three-bedroom home.

In April 2021, Matt pleaded guilty to one felony count each of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit and domestic battery with corporal injury of a spouse. He received a sentence of 180 days in county jail. Although, if he completed a series of conditions, he could avoid jail time.

Meghan King Edmonds and Jim Edmonds

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBCUniversal/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)

Meghan King Edmonds and Jim Edmonds’ break up was one of the nastiest and most contentious splits in Bravo history. First came the sexting scandal, when Jim was reaching out to someone other than his wife. Meghan was occupied with being pregnant with the couple’s twins at the time. Jim filed for divorce in 2019, amid Meghan’s accusations that he allegedly cheated on her with the nanny. The couple share three children.

Jim and Meghan’s divorce was finalized in May 2021. The twosome just couldn’t quit slamming each other in the press, though. Jim finally confirmed that his girlfriend, Kortnie O’Connor, participated in a threesome with him and Meghan. He also accused Meghan of lying about him.

She claimed that Jim regularly subjected her to “verbal abuse.” Finally, the feuding exes moved on. Well, sort of. Jim said “I do” to Kortnie in Italy.

Meghan tied the knot with President Joe Biden’s nephew, Cuffe Owens, in October 2021. They dated for three weeks before their nuptials and headed right to splitsville after only two months of marriage.

Dr. Jen Armstrong and Ryne Holliday

(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank)

Dr. Jen Armstrong was driving the struggle bus during her freshman season of RHOC. Jen, who is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, had multiple lawsuits filed against her.

But Jen’s biggest struggle was her marriage to Ryne Holliday. Next up was her confusion over how to pronounce his name.

Jen confided her marriage woes to Heather. Naturally, Fancy Pants threw a dinner party with other couples with wonderfully successful marriages. That way, Ryne and Jen could see how horrible their union was. Jen drank a ton of wine and repeatedly spoke over her husband. It was awkward.

She shared that Ryne moved out after filming concluded. The time apart seemed to help the struggling couple, and so they reconciled. Briefly.

Jen filed for legal separation in May 2022. She requested physical and legal custody of their three children. Jen asked that Ryne, who took care of the kids as a stay-at-home father, be given visitation rights.

The following month, Jen filed for divorce. The couple was married for almost nine years. She asked that Ryne not be given any spousal support, and included a big list of what she didn’t want to share with him. I hope she gave him some shirts because Ryne was sans shirt almost all season.

In the end, all their marital discord wasn’t enough to save Jen’s orange. She admitted that she was fired after her first season.

It seems like RHOC is in the running for the franchise with the most divorces. This is bad news for our housewives, but great news if you are a divorce attorney in Orange County!


(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

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