As dedicated Bravoholics, we've learned a thing or two over the years. One: NeNe Leakes is very rich, bitch. Two: If you're trapped on Scary Island with nothing but satchels of gold, you ought to just go to sleep. And three: Not everyone's down to have their lives taped.
Ever since Kim Zolciak-Biermann introduced us to the idea of Big Poppa (if not the man himself) on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Bravo reality show's have experienced time and again the concept of the mystery lover. Whether he simply doesn't want to have his privacy invaded by cameras or he's got an identity to protect, the mystery lover haunts their significant other's show, referenced frequently in conversation, but never once appearing to put a face to the name. The latest instance of this unique sort of specter comes courtesy of Summer House's Stephen McGee, who's shared the story of his secret six-year relationship with a UK-based beau who comes from a high-profile family and isn't yet out of the closet.
Misery loves company, and lucky for Stephen, he needn't look any further than his network for some. There are plenty of Bravolebrities who know exactly what he's going through.
As we mentioned above, long before she happily married Kroy Biermann in 2011, Kim was in a very discreet relationship with a married man known only to viewers as Big Poppa. He bankrolled much of her lavish lifestyle, whisking her away on exotic trips and showering her with expensive gifts. His presence in the early days of The Real Housewives of Atlanta also caused NeNe to give us the infamous line: "Close your legs to married men!" His identity was never confirmed, though a quick Google search will bear the alleged truth, and his reasons for not showing his face should be pretty obvious. Fun fact: Big Poppa dropped Kim off at a local Dancing With the Stars charity event where she wound up meeting Kroy!
When The Real Housewives of New Jersey premiered on Bravo in 2009, much was said about sisters Dina and Caroline Manzo and their unique decision to marry brothers. But while Caroline's hubby Albert Manzo was a regular presence on the series (and on their eventual spin-off), viewers never met Dina's eventual ex-husband Tommy once. The lengths producers had to go to keep Tommy off camera had to have been considerable, given the fact that he was co-owner of the Brownstone alongside Albert, which is where much of RHONJ's early seasons took place. Fun fact: Tommy wasn't always so averse to reality TV. He and Dina had their wedding documented in an episode of VH1's My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding in 2006.
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File this one under heresy and innuendo, but ever since Phaedra's ex-husband Apollo Nida was sentenced to time back in prison, rumors swirled among her Real Housewives of Atlanta co-stars that she had quickly rebounded with a new fling, despite her on-camera hesitations about re-entering the dating scene. We can neither confirm nor deny these rumors, but as they say, where there's smoke...
When the Persian Barbie joined Shahs of Sunset in its second season, much of her story circled around her long-time boyfriend Ali, who she could never get to commit to moving out to Los Angeles from Houston. His aversion to pick up and leave his home also meant that we never saw what the guy looked like. Come season three, Lilly was single and ready to mingle. Come season four, Lilly was a Shah no more.
Here's what we do know: When season five of Vanderpump Rules rolled around, Lala had herself a new boyfriend who was showering her with expensive gifts up to and including a freaking Range Rover. None of her friends or co-workers had ever met the man, and when there was a chance that they might, they were presented with a non-disclosure agreement. Was he a pro athlete, like she claimed? A married film producer, like others claimed? The world may never know...
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Lala's co-star also had a boyfriend who stayed far, far away from SUR, albeit for wildly different reasons. When Stassi said sayonara to Vanderpump Rules at the end of season three, it was to move across the country to be on the same coast as her NYC-based boyfriend, Patrick Meagher. Since she came (slightly) crawling back to the series midway through season four, her relationship with the radio host had been off and on until finally turning fully off. In a recent episode, while celebrating Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz's joint bachelor/bachelorette weekend in New Orleans, a drunk and teary-eyed Stassi told ex-boyfriend Jax Taylor that he was the reason Patrick never wanted to come around, thereby inadvertently ending their relationship because Stassi just can't quit those damn goat cheese balls.
This Southern Charm star may be gearing up to celebrate her third wedding anniversary with husband Jason Wimberly this April, but fans will never see the couple in action on the show. Why? He simply refuses to be on camera. "My husband, he has sense — common sense — therefore, he chooses to stay off reality television. My relationship is very precious to me, so, I try to keep that private,"she told ET last year. But if fans want to get a look at the man who made an honest woman out of Cameran, they need look no further than her Twitter feed, where he pops up in photos regularly.
Following her divorce from Jason Hoppy, Queen B's dating life became the object of much speculation, especially among her Real Housewives of New York City co-stars. In season eight, it was revealed she was dating a new man, with Luann de Lesseps accusing Bethenny of being a hypocrite for dating a married man while still trying to finalize her divorce herself. After their spatting at the reunion over the true nature of the relationship, B's beau was revealed to be long-time friend Dennis Shields. And despite being present during at least one day of filming, the camera-shy and then still-legally married guy avoided the lens. We wouldn't get our hopes up about an appearance in season nine, either.
Summer House airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
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