As we all know, the rich and famous lead a lavish lifestyle filled with ambiance and glamour. Tabloids and news clips are dripping with juicy details of their private moments. Is there a backstory to how they got in a certain situation? What information did these media sources leave out? Their public image can be compromised if a story is complete slander or a defamation of character. For example, the legal entanglement of Teresa Giudice, "Real” housewife from New Jersey, and her husband, Joe, made front page news for weeks until a verdict was reached.
So, how can we get the “Real” story? Luckily for us, we can watch the drama and determination unfold as they rake in their fortune on reality shows such as The Real Housewives series. From New York City to Los Angeles and Atlanta to New Jersey, these housewives have learned how to climb the ladder of success and hold their own, making sure they are recognized as business women and not gold diggers. Through family troubles, legal disputes, medical issues, appearances on other shows, and becoming savvy business women, they've created a life most of us can only dream of. Below are the 15 richest “Real” housewives and how they earn and keep their money.
15 Lisa Vanderpump – Net Worth: $65 Million
Vanderpump stars in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and was part of season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. Lisa and her husband, Todd, raked in their fortune through over a dozen bars, restaurants and clubs. They have even created a hit show based on their restaurant SUR located in California called Vanderpump Rules. Lisa indulges herself in the finer things life has to offer such as diamonds and roses. As vain as that sounds, Lisa is quite the philanthropist and is involved in numerous charities. She also started a sangria line known as LVP Sangria, a skincare company known as Epione and writes for multiple publications such as Beverly Hills Lifestyle magazine.
14 Teresa Giudice – Net Worth: $11 Million
Starring in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa with her husband, Joe, were recently caught in a legal entanglement for over 40 counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The couple pled guilty on a few counts and were sentenced to a mere 15-month jail sentence as opposed to the 50 years they could have been subjected to. Teresa was released this past December. She is planning to be part of the season 7 Real Housewives and also star in her own TV show called Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In. Teresa is hoping her legal issues will not affect her fortune. $750,000-$850,000 for season 7 is up in the air, but since Teresa’s celeb status is higher than ever, she believes her appearance on the show warrants her $1 Million.
13 Carole Radziwill – Net Worth: $50 Million
Carole is a best-selling author and journalist who appears in The Real Housewives of New York City. She is known for being laid back, enjoying the company of younger men and having a few secret escapades with famous icons such as George Clooney and Ralph Fiennes (for those of you who can’t place his face, he played Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies). Radziwill sadly lost her husband to cancer in 1999 and has been pursuing her career in journalism. A couple of well-known titles of hers are What Remains and The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating.
12 Tamra Judge – Net Worth: $800,000
Although Tamra’s net worth is significantly smaller than her fellow "Real Housewives”, Tamra makes herself known with her catty attitude and “look-at-me” demeanor. She has no remorse for being outlandish and telling the harsh truth to her cast mates. At one point or another, they have all had to put their dukes up to fight off this saucy housewife including Tamra’s good pal, Vicki Gunvalson. Tamara earns roughly $350,000 a season on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Her other source of income is through running gyms called CUT Fitness with her husband, Eddie.
11 Yolanda Foster – Net Worth $45 Million
Former supermodel Yolanda Foster is the mother of two current supermodels, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and is also the wife of songwriter and producer, David Foster. Being well versed in the celebrity lifestyle and what it takes to make it, Yolanda had no remorse or shame when she signed on for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She earns $100,000 an episode as well as owning a business called Hopeless Romantic. It is a company devoted to keeping the love and spark going between couples. She shared her battle with Lyme disease for viewers throughout the show. Yolanda wanted viewers to be exposed to the highs and lows of battling Lyme disease, be part of her journey and realize how crucial it is for her to continue her fight by helping to find a cure.
10 Vicki Gunvalson – Net Worth: $ 7 Million
She is the ultimate entrepreneur in the business world and prides herself on still being able to let loose and have a good time. With her no-drama attitude, Vicki has climbed the corporate ladder all on her own with her insurance company Coto Insurance and Financial Services. She has been part of The Real Housewives of Orange County since it first launched in 2006 and has earned the title of being a veteran of the show. Along with her successful insurance company, Gunvalson earns $500,000 a season, owns Woo Hoo Productions, LLC, and even a diamond company called Diamonds by Vicki.
9 Kandi Burress – Net Worth: $35 Million
Kandi made a name for herself in the music industry before she was approached about being part of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She is famous for her songwriting hits Bills, Bills, Bills sung by Destiny’s Child and No Scrubs sung by TLC. Todd Tucker, a member of the show's production crew has won the heart of this lyrical mastermind and they are expecting a child. Even though Burress earns $450,000 a season, her mother, Mama Joyce was strongly against her being part of the Real Housewives world. Kandi can also be seen on the TV series, The Kandi Factory and Kandi’s Wedding. Burress has also started a company called T.A.G.S. Boutique and founded a luxury bedroom line called Bedroom Kandi.
8 Lisa Rinna – Net Worth: $8 Million
Famous actress and a star on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast, Rinna is no stranger to the limelight. Married to Harry Hamlin, Lisa is known for her sweet disposition, friendly outgoing personality, and fits of rage on the show with Kim Richards when they were in Amsterdam. Though she is laughed at by her fellow cast mates for her endorsement of Depends adult diapers, their jokes could not compare to the $2 million paycheck she received from Depends. Lisa has been recognized for her roles in Melrose Place, Days of Our Lives, Dancing with the Stars, and countless movie appearances. Rinna now pursues a career in the fashion world with her clothing line, the Lisa Rinna Collection, featured on QVC.
7 Kyle Richards – Net Worth: $30 Million
She is not only the aunt to Nicky and Paris Hilton, a familiar childhood actress, and a star on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kyle Richards is also known for her big heart. She thrives on giving back to her community as well as volunteering at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Richards earns $270,000 per season on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as well as raking in the cash from her boutique in Beverly Hills called Kyle by Alene Too. She’s known for her childhood roles in Halloween, an appearance on ER, and playing Alicia Sanderson Edwards on Little House on the Prairie. While her husband, Mauricio, works on further establishing his real estate business called The Agency, Kyle is presently working on a non-reality series with TV Land based on her life in the 70’s.
6 Heather Thomson – Net Worth: $10 Million
Although she will not be returning for season 8 of The Real Housewives of New York City, prior to Heather Thomson’s exit she was earning $175,000 per episode. Heather will be remembered best for her candidness and straightforward attitude. She definitely can hold her own in a cat fight, especially with her fellow cast member and favorite target, Bethenny Frankel. Thomson earned millions through her clothing company called Yummie. Before starting her own line she was the director of design for Sean “Diddy” Combs and designed clothes for big names such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.
5 Heather Dubrow – Net Worth: $30 Million
Earning the nickname “Fancy Pants Dubrow” during her debut in season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Heather Dubrow is the epitome of style and sophistication. Her husband, Terry Dubrow, has been featured on the hit TV show Botched! and together they have started a skincare line called Consult Beaute. Dubrow recently became a champagne aficionado and has started her own sparkling wine collection called Collette. Heather Dubrow is far from camera shy as she is an established actress as well. She has starred in hit TV shows such as Hawaii Five-O, Malibu, and Hot In Cleveland. Instead of investing her money in various businesses, she gets involved and acquires her millions through getting her perfectly manicured hands dirty and earning it through personal interests.
4 Shannon Beador – Net Worth: $20 Million
Shannon Beador appears on The Real Housewives of Orange County and she spent most of season 10 working with her energy specialist to "Feng Shui" her life and clear out the hurt and anger towards her husband, David, after discovering he had been involved in an affair. Even though Shannon had been emotionally destroyed by her husband, she had no problem getting in tiffs with fellow cast members such as Tamra Judge and Meghan King Edmonds. David owns a construction company in California, and regardless of the issues between them, the couple are working together to raise their three daughters.
3 Ramona Singer – Net Worth: $18 Million
Earning $500,000 per season on The Real Housewives of New York City, Ramona has ventured into multiple investments to maximize her fortune. She is a partner of AOA Bar and Grill located in the Tribeca district of Manhattan, founded Tru Renewal Skincare and True Faith Jewelry. Ramona became very chummy with fellow cast mate Sonja Morgan and the pair have earned the nickname “Ramonja”. Her divorce from ex-husband Mario was highly publicized but Ramona worked through it and came out of the battle stronger than ever. Ramona has a deep and passionate love affair these days with Pinot Grigio and has founded the Ramona Singer Pinot Grigio company.
2 Bethenny Frankel – Net Worth: $25 Million
After making her debut in the reality TV world on the show Celebrity Apprentice: Martha Stewart in 2005, Bethenny Frankel now earns a mere $40,000 per episode on The Real Housewives of New York City. Prior to season 7 of the show, Bethenny started her own talk show (obviously called Bethenny). Because of her snarky and quick-wit personality, Bethenny nabbed two spin-offs Bethenny Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. Even though Frankel has a tendency to rub people the wrong way, she must be doing something right in her life because she’s a self-made millionaire. Bethenny adds to her fortune through her company called Skinnygirl Cocktails and is known for her outgoing personality and savvy businesswoman mentality.
1 NeNe Leakes – Net Worth: $12 Million
NeNe Leakes was all too familiar with the lime light before being a star on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She appeared on the now cancelled show The New Normal, as well as Celebrity Apprentice, season 18 of Dancing with the Stars, and had a permanent guest star role on the hit show Glee. Prior to leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe was making $1 million a season. She has also guest starred on shows such as Real Husbands of Hollywood and Fashion Police. Currently, NeNe is working on her clothing line for HSN called NENE. Clearly NeNe Leakes is not looking back and moving forward to make a name for herself outside of the reality TV world.