7 Real Problems for the ‘Real Housewives’ Stars, Including Jen Shah

Jen Shah of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Gabe Ginsberg/Bravo

The “reality” of the drama on Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is debatable. But much of the Housewives’ offscreen trouble is all too real.

Jen Shah, one of the reality sensation’s newest stars, was arrested just four months after making her debut on the premiere of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. But she isn’t alone: Many other Housewives—and their husbands—have rap sheets and mugshots.

RHONY fans surely remember the footage of Luann de Lesseps’ dramatic arrest, for example, while RHONJ fans probably counted down every day of Teresa Giudice’s prison sentence. Read on for more details about these busts and other Real Housewives star’s legal issues.

Kelly Bensimon

The former model was arrested in March 2009 for misdemeanor assault after boyfriend Nicholas Stefanov told cops she punched him “with a closed fist, thereby causing informant to suffer a laceration below informant’s left eye and substantial pain,” according to the Daily News.

Three months later, the Real Housewives of New York City star accepted a deal to have the assault charge dropped if she stayed out of trouble for one year and served two days of community service, the New York Post reported at the time.

Teresa Giudice

Teresa and her then-husband Joe Giudice copped up to multiple federal fraud charges in March 2014, each pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets, one count of bankruptcy fraud by false oaths, and one count of bankruptcy fraud by false declarations, with Joe also pleading guilty to one count of failure to file a tax return.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while her husband got 41 months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The cookbook author served nearly a year behind bars, and was released two days before Christmas in 2015.

Kim Richards

After an April 2015 arrest for public intoxication, Richards was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting that August after trying to leave a Target store in Van Nuys, California, with more than $612 worth of goods, according to The Wrap.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was given three years of probation, banned from possessing certain drugs, and ordered to attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a year (concurrent with the year’s worth of meetings mandated by the judgment in her public intoxication case).

Luann de Lesseps

De Lesseps was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in December 2017 on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, disorderly intoxication, and corruption by threat, after she allegedly refused to leave a hotel room and allegedly shoved a police officer who responded to the scene, per USA Today.

The Real Housewives of New York City star struck a plea deal the following August, agreeing to one year of probation, 50 hours of community service, two AA meetings per week, and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving class, according to People.

In May 2019, de Lesseps admitted to violating her probation, and a judge ordered her to undergo weekly counseling sessions by telephone and monthly psychiatric sessions in person, take medicine for her alcoholism, and keep a breathalyzer monitoring device in her car, according to The Blast.

Porsha Williams

Williams was one of 87 people arrested in July 2020 for demonstrating on the front lawn of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, protesting the police killing of Breonna Taylor. She and the other protestors were initially charged with felony intimidating a participant in a legal process, but Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell dropped the felony charge against the protestors, leaving two lesser misdemeanor charges in play, according to TMZ.

That August, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star was arrested at a Breonna Taylor protest in Louisville, Kentucky, and charged with obstructing a highway and disorderly conduct (second degree).

“We protested, and will continue to protest, because this is a movement and not just a moment,” Williams wrote, in part, in a People essay the following month. “Injustice for one is injustice for all, and if we let this go now, we let it go forever.”

Erika Jayne

In a federal lawsuit filed in December 2020, the Chicago law firm Edelson PC accused Jayne and her husband, Thomas Girardi, of scheming to embezzle money from settlements related to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 two years prior, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The suit alleged that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars “siphoned significant sums of money from lenders and clients,” that the couple was “facing increasing pressure to actually pay down their debts,” and that their previously announced divorce was a “sham” in an effort to protect their assets from creditors.

Jen Shah

Shah and “first assistant” Stuart Smith were arrested on Tuesday, March 30, and charged with running a nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme. “Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,’” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said in a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.”

Shah and Stuart pleaded not guilty on Friday, April 2, with the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star’s attorneys saying their client “maintains her innocence of these charges and is eager to defend herself in a court of law,” according to NBC News.