The minute I turned on “The Real Housewives of orange county” in 2006 it was evident to me the show was going to be an overnight hit. Not only was it an instant sensation, but it also became a record-breaking franchise with nine domestic, ten international installments and fifteen spin-offs.

Over the years

Of course, while watching the original group from Orange County, I got hooked on several others, including Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York, and Dallas. Who knew there were that many bored, wealthy, housewives just itching to be reality stars?

Their need for fame has brought my daughters and me plenty of comic relief and tears.

Housewives curse

Throughout the last 11 years, several housewives have endured substantial misfortune. This bad luck has affected many of the cast members and/or their immediate family members.There have been divorces, failed businesses, bankruptcy, prison time and even death.

Some of the most notable divorces were those of Bethenny Frankel, who had to obtain a restraining order against her husband for stalking, and Phaedra Parks, whose husband ended up doing eight years in federal prison for fraud charges. In total, there have been 26 divorces among the cast members during or after they appeared on the series.

In addition to failed marriages, failing businesses plague the “Real Housewives” franchise. It is hard to forget Vicki Guvalson’s vodka or Sonja Morgan’s toaster oven. Vicki’s journey into the liquor business ended with a lawsuit filed by her business partner. Unfortunately, even with all forms of hype and promotion, Sonja’s toaster oven never saw a kitchen counter.

When the women are not conjuring up some wacky drink, book, song or clothing line, some have kept busy surviving bankruptcy. The high-profile bankruptcy of Teresa Giudice and her husband hit the front page and plenty of new stations around the nation.

Not only did their lavish lifestyle come to a momentary halt, but so did their freedom when they were charged in 2013 with 39 federal counts, including bank and mail fraud.

Both were sentenced to jail. Teresa served almost a year; her husband is still in federal prison serving a four-year sentence. Rumor is, he will more than likely face deportation upon his prison release.

Sadly, even death has reared it’s ugly head for some of the ladies’ family members. “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Taylor Armstrong, filed for divorce from her husband in 2011. A month later he committed suicide.

Probably one of the saddest moments in “Housewives” history was when Vicki Gunvalson received a phone call from her brother informing Vicki of their mother’s passing. Vicki’s complete heartbreak and collapse were caught on camera and aired that upcoming season. Vicki’s emotions were raw and palpable.

The moment should have stayed private. Watching the episode, I felt guilty being part of that scene, even if from a great geographical distance.

Going forward

How these women have overcome such misfortune is beyond me. Yes, they have envious lifestyles. However, they often come with a price, and unfortunately, money cannot buy everything. Let us hope for all their sake that the curse of “The Real Housewives” is just a myth that will eventually fade into the annals of urban legend.