Surely you’ve seen their names in the news, but not everyone is a devoted Bravo TV watcher, and so maybe you’ve wondered what those Real Housewives have done to steal so much spotlight. Well, we’ve ranked the richest Real Housewives and we’re here to tell you how each one has earned all those zeroes on her paycheck. Andy Cohen, the mastermind behind The Real Housewives franchise, has said time and again he could never pick a favorite Housewife, but when you see how high on the list some of them are, you might suspect otherwise. Did your favorite Housewife make it to the top 5? Read on to find out!
Estimated Salary Per Season: $100,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
We can all thank Lisa Vanderpump, the MVP of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for bringing Dorit Kemsley into the franchise’s fold. Along with her husband, “PK” Kemsley, and permanent house guest and self-professed “pseudo husband” Boy George (yes, the 80’s icon), Dorit brings the drama, and isn’t that what being a “Housewife” is all about?
As a relative newbie to the 90210 reality show, Dorit is reportedly one of the lower earners on our list, but with a little more time and a few fantastic feuds, her salary per season is sure to see a spike. And in the meantime you can support Dorit by shopping her swimwear line — you too can sun like a Housewife!
Estimated Salary Per Season: $175,000 -200,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of New York
It might seem like a strange blip in Carole Radziwill’s life that she was ever even on The Real Housewives of New York. The widow of Anthony Radziwill (nephew of Jacqueline Onassis) had a distinguished career in journalism that garnered her an impressive three Emmys, a Peabody, a Robert F. Kennedy Humanitarian Award, and a GLAAD Award.
And yet, after leaving ABC News to write a memoir, Carole found herself signing on to spat over coffee and canapes on the Manhattan based Bravo show. Eventually a life as a “Lady Who Lunches” lost its luster, and Carole snapped out of the reality franchise fever dream to go back to politics and news production.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $250,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of New York
From a successful clothing company, DCL Cashmere, worn by the likes of Joan Collins and Princess Diana, to charity work alongside Bishop Desmond Tutu and of course Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Dorinda has been fundraising for important causes for years. Luckily, all those fundraising galas are great for filming The Real Housewives of New York.
A bunch of Real Housewives hopped up on hors d’oeuvres and wearing haute couture dresses has all the makings of an excellent episode of reality television. See, Dorinda brings the drama by being her truest self at all times, and there’s nothing better than some unfiltered honesty in black-tie attire if you ask us.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $270,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of Atlanta
The recipe for good reality television is actually quite simple, all you really need is one person to stir the pot, a role Marlo Hampton has been admirably filling on The Real Housewives of Atlanta ever since close friend and Atlanta Housewife Nene Leakes first introduced her on the show.
Despite taking a whole lot of heat for all of her meddling in the other Housewives personal lives, Marlo isn’t a full fledged Housewife herself, and is credited for her cameos as a “friend” of the cast. Until Marlo finally gets her peach (the Bravo lingo for becoming an official Real Housewife of Atlanta) Marlo works as a stylist and is starting an accessories line.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $270,000
A franchise star since the very first season, we can’t imagine The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills without Kyle Richards. Although Kyle’s role as a Real Housewife might not be the only reason people recognize her – back in the day Kyle starred on The Little House on the Prairie, ER, and made her reality television debut on her niece Paris Hilton’s show The Simple Life.
As much as we think Paris Hilton would be an excellent addition to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills roster, we’ll settle for getting a greater sense of Kyle’s life through the scripted series she produced American Woman, based on her childhood in the 70s.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $275,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of Dallas
As one of the newer cities to serve us housewife antics, The Real Housewives of Dallas really delivered with good-time-gal Stephanie Hollman, who describes herself as “I’m just the girl next door…if you live in a big ole mansion.” And thankfully her best friend Brandi Redmond does.
Stephanie and Brandi have become fan favorites for their scene stealing shenanigans, and it’s made Stephanie a standout star of the Lone Star State installment of the Housewife family. The bubbly blonde is hoping to use her star power to spread “silliness to lighten life’s load,” and if the first few seasons are anything to go by, Stephanie is already succeeding.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $400,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of Orange County
It’s been quite the whirlwind for Shannon Beador since she first became a cast member on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Shannon saw her marriage to husband David dissolve, and dealt with significant weight gain as a result of all the stress the separation induced. But don’t despair! We’ve since watched Beador bounce back.
Beador has been honest about her weight struggles, but after taking a holistic approach toward her life and especially her diet, her weight loss, which was covered by the cameras of course, inspired her to start her own line of re-heatable pre-cooked meals for the healthy yet harried single mother, Real for Real Cuisine.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $440,000
After Luann de Lesseps’ divorce from first husband Count Alexandre de Lesseps she retained her title of Countess up until her 2016 nuptials with second husband Tom D’Agostino Jr. Still, despite no longer being related to any aristocracy, Luann will always be the reigning Countess of Reality Television.
After going through some tough times in her personal life, which Luann largely let everyone in on during filming of The Real Housewives of New York, the seasoned Housewife has been making her comeback with her traveling cabaret show “Countess and Friends.” Supported by her fellow Housewives, Luann’s performing her hit singles “Money Can’t Buy You Class,” “Chic, C’est La Vie,” and “Girl Code.”
Sure there’s a whole bunch of cattiness to go around on The Real Housewives of New York, but a lot of long-lasting friendships have formed thanks to the reality show. Sometimes the show has been a real source of comfort for Sonja Morgan since her split with 30-years older husband John Adams Morgan (yup, of J.P. Morgan & Co. and Morgan Stanley).
Despite having divorced in 2006, Sonja’s had a hard time moving on, but her Real Housewife friends have stood by her. Thanks to the support Sonja’s started a fashion line named Sonja Morgan New York, and recently began branching off into a selection of higher end items under the label SONJA by Sonja Morgan.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $450,000
Even if you’ve never watched a single episode of any of The Real Housewives, you probably know a thing or two about Lisa Rinna. Rinna first rose to our attention on the long-running daytime soap Days of Our Lives, then primetime soap Melrose Place, and finally as a mainstay on the reality television version of a soap opera The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Rinna’s seemingly complete inability to ever be embarrassed and absolutely honesty has won over fans of the franchise. Rinna’s confidence came in handy when she shot a commercial for adult diaper brand Depends — incontinence and confidence could only go hand-in-hand when you’re Lisa Rinna.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $500,000
Initially a fledgling actress, according to Erika Girardi she spent most of her 30s living her life as a lawyer’s wife before deciding she didn’t want to be some bored housewife. That’s how she was reborn under her new public persona Erika Jayne, releasing her debut single and taking over the Billboard Dance charts.
Erika eventually signed onto The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where her penchant for performance made her a popular addition to the Bravo franchise family. Even though Erika Jayne is, as she explains “100% me,” her alter ego is a flashier version fit for the stage. To get a sense of the real Erika Girardi, Bravo is the only place to go.
Sticking it out since season 1, Ramona Singer has never shied away from spilling the secrets of her life for all the fans of The Real Housewives of New York. Following the end of her marriage viewers and her fellow Housewives have watched Ramona try to find romance once more.
Most recently Ramona has been spotted out and about with none other than ex-husband Mario Singer. However, having kept busy designing jewelry since the split, Ramona doesn’t need Mario’s support, she’s self-sufficient and setting out to be a better role model for her daughter Avery. Still, we can’t help but speculate at a possible reconciliation, recorded on camera, of course, for those reality television lovers.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $600,000
Ever since joining the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County in season three, Tamra Judge has embraced a life in front of the camera, including capturing her 2013 wedding to current husband Eddie Judge in a three-part spin-off television special, Tamra’s OC Wedding.
Tamra and Eddie went on to open a gym together, CUT Fitness, and it’s just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Orange County, so all of her Real Housewife galpals can scoot on over for a personal training session. And we know she reality star knows a thing or two about fitness after we all watched her train for (and win!) Musclemania on season 11.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $750,000
Appears In: The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Listen, New Jersey gets a real bad rap, and we’re not really sure why, because if The Real Housewives of New Jersey have taught us anything, it’s that the Garden State can be pretty great. Melissa Gorga joined up in season 3, and has since shown how a hardworking lady can live her best life.
At the start of her time on the show Melissa was just a stay-at-home mom, but a few seasons since then have seen the reality star successfully juggle her life on-camera, her role at home as a wife and mother of three, and the opening of her first boutique, Envy by Melissa Gorga. Got get em’ Ms. Gorga!
All hail Vicki Gunvalson, godmother of all Real Housewives across America as the only original cast member left from the franchise’s flagship show The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s been a long journey for Gunvalson, who has seen friends come and go from the reality show, and now rumors are swirling that the long-time Housewife might be making her exit.
Whether or not Vicki finally leaves the franchise is still unclear, but if she does, she’ll be going out on a high note. Gunvalson recently celebrated her engagement to fiancé Steve Lodge at a party thrown by her friends and fellow Housewives Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador.
If that last name sounds familiar then yes, you’d be correct, Teddi Jo is the daughter of Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer John Cougar Mellencamp. Despite having a famous folksy singing father, Teddi was never all that interested in music growing up – her life’s purpose would reveal itself years later.
Teddi doesn’t filter out anything unflattering from her life in front of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cameras, including her struggles with weight and self-esteem. Teddi has taken her personal troubles and her public platform, and started a company to provide accountability coaching called All In by Teddi. This Real Housewife is really in it for the right reasons, and that’s why she’s raking in that reality TV top dollar.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $1,000,000
With her legal troubles finally coming to a close, Teresa Giudice, the only remaining original cast member to tough it out through every season of The Real Housewives Of New Jersey is ready to start rebuilding her life with her four daughters.
While the fate of her marriage remains up in the air, Teresa is staying strong and moving forward. The reality star is ready for another season of the hit Bravo show with the support both on the show and in-between filming, of her brother and sister-in-law Joe and Melissa Gorga. The family that stars on reality TV together, stays together.
Remember when Denise Richards was Bond Girl Christmas Jones in James Bond: The World Is Not Enough? Since then her life has taken some twists and turns, but at last she’s settled into single mothering her two daughters with ex Charlie Sheen and adopted daughter Eloise. Once the star of her own reality series, Richards is the latest addition to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
With her Hollywood pedigree Richards was a score for the cast of The Real Housewives. Already forming connections with the current ladies of Beverly Hills, Richards was signed for a four year, $4 million contract, and we can’t wait to see what the next few seasons have in store.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $1,250,000
The ladies of Atlanta are wonderfully wild, and we (the 3.7 million people who tune in week after week) can’t wait to watch Porsha Williams and the rest of The Real Housewives of Atlanta fight for their friendships. And now that former castmates Kenya Moore and Shereé Whitfield have exited the franchise, Williams is front and center.
With a few less full-time cast members, viewers are sure to get more screen time and more scoop on their favorites, like Williams, while the reality star saw her paycheck rise before the most recent season. Add an adorable new baby girl and being a Real Housewife of Atlanta has never looked better.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $1,500,000
If you’ve been watching from season 1 of The Real Housewives of New York then you know how far Bethenny Frankel has come in the decade since the show first premiered. So much more than just some “housewife,” Frankel has founded the Skinnygirl lifestyle brand, most famous for Skinnygirl Cocktails (low calorie premixed drinks), and sold her company for a reported $100 million.
As if starring in the reality show and running a successful business didn’t keep Bethenny busy enough, she dedicated swaths of time and money to Hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. Toss in single mothering her daughter Bryn and well, we’re not sure how she does it all!
Estimated Salary Per Season: $1,750,000
The consummate best friend, Cynthia Bailey has stood by all of her castmates’ sides through breakups and makeups, and finally everyone was on hand to return the favor when the Real Housewife of Atlanta, after all her hard work, opened her own wine tasting venue, The Bailey Wine Cellar.
The Bailey Wine Cellar has been an excellent distraction for Cynthia, whose only daughter Noelle recently went off to college. With Noelle out of the house and her business thriving, the only thing that could make Bailey’s life any better would be a romance — which she found too, with sports anchor Mike Hill. Could a wedding TV-special be next?
Estimated Salary Per Season: $1,800,000
It’s starting to seem like getting your start as a Real Housewife of Atlanta is almost a guarantee of future success, especially when looking at season 1 star Kim Zolciak-Biermann’s life since appearing on the show. Kim found love, launched her country singing career, started a skincare company, and stars on her own spin-off show.
After her meet-cute with Atlanta Falcons footballer Kroy Biermann was captured by cameras on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kim and her now husband have been sharing their lives on Don’t Be Tardy, named after Kim’s first country single. Now a mother of six and with her Kashmere Kollection skincare line expanding into perfume, Kim’s working harder than ever.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $2,000,000
A star since season 1, Lisa Vanderpump has been cited by many has the heart and soul of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (although Andy Cohen, King of Bravo, would never play favorites). But, lately rumors have been swirling that the long-time reality star might be saying goodbye to the Real Housewives franchise to focus solely on the running of her many restaurants.
Luckily, Lisa’s successful spin-off show, Vanderpump Rules, which captures the restaurateur’s running of her nightclubs/restaurants SUR, Pump, and TomTom, and the dramatic lives of her staff is almost, if not equally as popular as The Real Housewives, and shows no signs of shutting off the cameras anytime soon.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $2,200,000
Does being the second highest paid reality star in the entire Real Housewives franchise mean that Kandi Burruss is lying back and resting on her laurels? No way! Kandi is keeping busy between filming seasons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta on tour with her burlesque show “Welcome to the Dungeon.”
The reality star proved her star power and performance skills earlier in her career as one fourth of the R&B girl group Xscape and songwriting for smash hits “No Scrubs” for TLC (which won her a Grammy), “Bills, Bills, Bills” for Destiny’s Child, and working with pop superstars Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Pink, and more.
Estimated Salary Per Season: $2,750,000
No one can come close (yet) to Nene Leakes, the undisputed queen of reality television. A Real Housewife regular since the very first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Leakes’ star has risen well beyond Bravo, landing her roles on network TV sitcoms like Glee and The New Normal, both airing on Fox.
Leakes works hard to earn her $2.75 million payday, and as a bona fide star, she isn’t forgetting how fortunate she is, giving back to causes that are important to her. Most recently Nene was honored as a Woman of Achievement by the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies for her cancer advocacy work.
Sources: People, Cheat Sheet, Bravo TV