Are all the “Real Housewives” on Bravo’s reality shows as rich as they seem, or are some living way beyond their means?
We regularly see these outspoken women from Orange County, Calif., New York, New Jersey and Atlanta shoulder the burden of wealth as they frequent only the best shops, restaurants and spas.
But over the past year, at least a few of these icons for conspicuous consumption have run into financial problems.
One was thrown out of her million-dollar mansion in a foreclosure. Others have been through short sales and mortgage modifications, failing businesses and bad investments. A couple have even been evicted for falling behind in their rent (yeah, some of the homes you see on TV are leased).
Here’s Bankaholic’s unofficial tally of the Real Housewives who have gotten into Real Trouble over the past year:
Sheree Whitfield of Atlanta: Whitfield was banking on a big divorce settlement, which she didn’t get. When ex-hubby and former NFL offensive tackle Bob Whitfield stopped paying the mortgage on her house (which was in his name only) the bank foreclosed and kicked her out. The Atlanta Journal Constitution says the home sold for $1.1 million, less than half of what the Whitfields paid for it in 2000.
Tamara Barney of Orange County: When Barney and her husband met with a real estate agent they bragged about the $400,000 in improvements they made to their home. Yet they owed more than the house was worth and the Orange County Register reported that they recently had to part with it in a short sale.
Jeana Keough of Orange County: A real estate agent and owner of four homes, Keough has been short on cash since business dried up. Now Keough is selling her cars and watches and asking friends for loans. But she was luckier than Whitfield and Barney. After defaulting on the mortgage for her primary home, Keough told the Orange County Register that she got a loan modification. She also opted out of the show this season.
NeNe Leakes of Atlanta: The Atlanta Journal Constitution says Leakes was kicked out of her home in September after falling $6,000 behind in the rent. Leakes says that’s not true. She moved out on her own free will. Her husband, a real estate investor who might not be her legal husband according to some gossip rags, allegedly owes over $100,000 in back taxes, too.
Lynne Curtin of Orange County: This housewife and her family were booted out of their home over $12,000 in back rent and damages. Curtin’s husband blamed their financial problems on a few bad investments in — you guessed it — real estate. Remarkably, none of that stopped Curtin from having cosmetic surgery, paying for it from her “face lift” fund.
Teresa Guidice of New Jersey: Initial reports that Guidice and her family were losing their lavish mansion were wrong. But nj.com says lenders are foreclosing on a half-acre of undeveloped land Guidice bought about five miles away, claiming she still owes $127,500 on the property she bought for $170,000 in 2005.