The Real Housewives phenomenon first aired on the Bravo network back in 2006 with the debut of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Housewives creator, Scott Dunlop came up with the idea after living behind the gates of Coto De Caza, an exclusive guard-gated enclave in south Orange County, California for 18 years. Since then the show has exploded creating franchises in five other U.S. cities to include New York City, Beverly Hills, Atlanta, Miami and New Jersey. Despite being on cable television for over 8 years now, The Real Housewives have continued on strong with more than 620 episodes and a base of over 3 million viewers as well as celebrity fans, Naomi Campbell, Beyonce and P Diddy to name a few. The franchise has even made an international impact with imitations of the franchise sprouting up in Greece, Canada, Spain, Australia and France. Not only are the housewives seeing much success within the franchise, but many have been able to use it as a platform to dive into other business ventures. Here is a list of the top 10 highest paid housewives from The Real Housewives franchise.
10 Lisa Vanderpump - $350,000 per season
This real housewife of Beverly Hills describes herself as not only a housewife, but also a restaurateur and lifestyle aficionado. Although her co-stars on the show may describe her a bit differently. Kyle Richards is quoted as describing her friendship with Vanderpump as being similar to "playing chess with Bobby Fisher" due to Vanderpump's calculated motives. Despite being the oldest housewife among the Beverly Hills cast, Vanderpump is the highest paid, bringing in $350,000 per season. She and her husband Ken Todd have owned over 26 restaurants and currently own Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills and SUR in West Hollywood. SUR is also featured in Bravo's spin-off series, Vanderpump Rules. Vanderpump is in the process of opening up a new lounge in West Hollywood called PUMP. Vanderpump has a net worth of $65 million.
9 Melissa Gorga - $350,000 per season
Melissa Gorga joined the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey in its third season due to her association as Teresa Giudice's sister-in-law. The feisty, Italian housewife earns $350,000 per season. Gorga has used her popularity among the housewives franchise to boost her singing career. She has released several singles that have landed on the top ten Dance/R&B charts on iTunes, though many seem to still be skeptical about her musical abilities. Gorga has also written a book that came out last September, Love Italian Style: The secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage. While the book was supposed to offer Gorga's secrets to a happy marriage, critics found it to be anything but that going as far as insinuating that Gorga's book was promoting controversial topics. Gorga has a net worth of $1.5 million.
8 Tamra Judge (aka Tamra Barney) - $350,000 per season
This real housewife of Orange County started out as a real estate agent turned self-proclaimed "hottest housewife in Orange County". Judge entered season three of The Real Housewives of Orange County and hasn't looked back since. Judge brings in $350,000 per season not to mention the three episode spin-off Bravo gave her titled, Tamra's OC Wedding. Viewers have seen Judge transform from housewife to single mom and back to housewife. She currently owns a fitness studio, C.U.T Fitness in Rancho Santa Margarita with new husband, Eddie Judge. Judge has a net worth of $500,000.
7 Caroline Manzo - $400,000 per season
Caroline Manzo, also known as the logical one in the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, has been with the show since season one. She appears on the show with her sister-in-law, Jacqueline Laurita and is usually the calm one when tensions begin to fly. Manzo currently receives $400,000 per season, although season five will be her last. She is currently in production with Bravo creating her own series called, Manzo'd With Children. She also landed a book deal that was published this past year titled, Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother and Street-Smart Businesswoman. Manzo is married to Albert Manzo who is the co-owner of The Brownstone. Together they have three children, Albert, Lauren and Christopher. Manzo has a net worth of $8 million.
6 Kandi Burruss - $450,000 per season
Before becoming a member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Burruss made a name for herself in music as a singer and songwriter. Burruss was a member of the platinum-selling music group Xscape and won a Grammy award for her work on TLC's number one hit "No Scrubs." She has also worked with Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey and Pink. Burrus earns $450,000 on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as well as earning an income from her other Bravo show, The Kandi Factory. Burruss has a net worth of $35 million.
5 Vicki Gunvalson - $500,000 per season
Vicki Gunvalson, also known as the original housewife, has been with the franchise the longest since first appearing on season one of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Gunvalson is portrayed on the show as a workaholic, control freak and is the owner of Coto Insurance and Financial Services. For her work on the show, Gunvalson brings in $500,000 per season. Viewers have witnessed Gunvalson's personal life unfold as she has gone through a divorce from her husband of 16 years and has started dating the infamous Brooks, that her family and the rest of the cast is not too fond of. Gunvalson has a net worth of $7 million.
4 LuAnn de Lesseps - $500,000 per season
LuAnn de Lesseps, also known as the Countess, has been on The Real Housewives of New York City since season one. She is seen on the show as a busy single mom of two children after divorcing her husband, Alex, the Count de Lesseps in 2009. Lesseps earns $500,000 per season plus bonuses. She has written a book, Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair and has released a record titled, "Money Can't Buy You Class." After being highly admired for her style, Lesseps was able to sign a deal for a lifestyle brand called The Countess Collection that features clothing, jewelry and other products. Lesseps has a net worth of $2 million.
3 Ramona Singer - $500,000 per season
Ramona Singer appears to be the entrepreneur of the show, The Real Housewives of New York City. She is a pure businesswoman with a skincare line called Tru Renewal and her own jewelry line, True Faith Jewelry. Singer receives $500,000 per season plus bonuses for her time on the reality show. Singer is currently working on launching her own Amazon store, Ramona Singer Collections. She has been married to her husband for 17 years and has a daughter, Avery. Singer has a net worth of $17 million.
2 Teresa Giudice - $650,000 per season
Teresa Giudice, also known as the troublemaker on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, has been quite the talk of the town lately. Giudice and her husband Joe allegedly filed for bankruptcy in 2009 despite her earning $650,000 per season plus bonuses for her work on the show. This is why it is not surprising that Giudice and her husband now have over 41 counts of pending fraud charges against them. Not to mention Giudice has three New York Times bestselling cookbooks, Skinny Italian, Fabulicious! and Fabulicious! Fast & Fit and her Milania hair care line. It is not clear what Giudice's net worth is due to conflicting reports, however, she does owe creditors a hefty $11 million per bankruptcy documents.
1 NeNe Leakes - $1,000,000 per season
NeNe Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta takes the title of the highest paid housewife in the Bravo Housewives franchise. She has been a member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta for all six season, bringing entertaining drama all around for $1 million plus bonuses per season. Leakes is the author of Never Make the Same Mistake Twice as well as starring in her own Bravo special I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding. She has become the ultimate powerhouse being named as one of Entertainment Weekly's "Entertainers of the Year" as well as being voted as "Most Relatable Housewife" by Bravo's audience. Leakes may have started out as a stripper, but she now has a net worth of $9 million.