Here’s Why the Real Housewives Get Paid *Wildly* Different Amounts

Here’s Why the Real Housewives Get Paid *Wildly* Different Amounts

The Real Housewives have been blessing our lives since 2006, and you’d think there would be some salary consistency at this point...but nope. It’s basically like the Wild West over at Bravo with Housewives competing against each other for more money, forming alliances, and dealing with pay gaps in the literal millions. Meanwhile, Bethenny Frankel cannot stop hopping on TikTok and Instagram to pull back the curtain on Bravo’s pay scale (bless her!), so naturally we’ve gathered all the publicly available info in one place. First things first?

Housewives Salaries Start Pretty Low

Joining a Real Housewives franchise isn’t exactly a get-rich-quick scheme. In a bid for reality stars to get residuals, Bethenny revealed she was paid just $7,250 for the first season of RHONYalthough this was back in 2008, so presumably the starting salary has increased (particularly because the whole franchise was new).

The More Famous You Are, the More Money You Make

If you’re famous going into Housewives (think: Jenna Lyons and Denise Richards), you’ll obviously have more leverage to negotiate a larger salary. And the more famous you get via the show, the more money you can ask for when it’s time to renegotiate your contract.

Thanks to this, Bethenny says there are people who make “$25,000 for the first season to seven figures, and for some people, more,” although she notes there is typically a set amount of money everyone gets going into their first season.

“There are deals that people have for per episode,” she explained on Instagram. “There are deals that people have for a certain number of episodes. There are deals that people have for the all-you-can-eat buffet, the entire season. You could shoot 9,000 episodes—and the reunion counts as an episode. There are so many different types of deals with Housewives because people are also coming in at different times.”

Let’s Talk About the “Bethenny Clause”

This is a clause named after THE Bethenny Frankel, and it’s pretty simple. Basically, Bethenny started her company Skinny Girl and became a multimillionaire, and Bravo didn’t get a dime. As a result the Bethenny Clause was created, which requires talent to give a percentage of their side hustles (which are often promoted on the show) to the network.

As Bethenny explained on Instagram, “When the Hollywood Reporter article came out on me and the Forbes cover came out, because I had sold the cocktail portion of my business for a lot of money, Bravo woke up. The entertainment industry woke up, reality television woke up. And they created what is now referred to by the industry as the Bethenny Clause, which means that anybody going on reality TV has to give a percentage to the powers that be.”

You Only Get Paid for the Episodes You Appear In

Much like actors, most reality stars get paid for the episodes they’re featured in. According to Bethenny, this rule was introduced thanks to cast members refusing to film due to drama with their costars.

So How Much Does Each Real Housewife Make?

Time to feast your eyes on the truly wide range of salaries among the Real Housewives.

Vicki Gunvalson: According to RadarOnline (which is a tabloid, so take with a grain of salt), Vicki was making $750,000 per season on The Real Housewives of Orange County. But she claimed in the comments of one of Bethenny’s posts that she was paid literally zero for her first season (which was the first season of any Real Housewives).

NeNe Leakes: By the time season 12 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta rolled around, NeNe was reportedly making $2.85 million per season—making her the highest paid Housewife!

Heather Dubrow: This is kinda surprising, but apparently Heather “only” made $300,000 per season of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

LuAnn de Lesseps, ­Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan: Soooo back in November 2015, Page Six reported these three were “refusing to sign contracts” unless they were paid $1 million per season like Bethenny. Bravo wasn’t having it, and they ended up being offered $20,000 per scene. “They tried to power play Bravo,” a source said. “They tried to hold out for more money, and the network said, ‘Guess what? We’re not even going to give you a contract.’”

Kandi Burruss: Kandi was making almost as much as NeNe at a reported $2.3 million per season for The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Lisa Vanderpump: Lisa is said to make $500,000 per season, but this honestly seems kinda low considering her fame level and the fact that she works across multiple shows on Bravo.

That’s that on that! You are now an expert in the chaos that is Real Housewives salaries. 🥴

You Might Also Like