The Most Shocking Real Housewives Moments That Played Out in 2020

Look back at all of 2020's most shocking Real Housewives moments, from Tinsley Mortimer quitting RHONY mid-season to Michael Darby's drunken rampage on RHOP's finale.

By Allison Crist Dec 24, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" Trailer

There's no need to harp on how difficult 2020 was. So, instead, E! is focusing on the positive and looking back at what served as a beacon of light for many over the course of 2020: The Real Housewives.

From Potomac to Beverly Hills and everywhere in between, the various franchises have provided lighthearted entertainment when we really needed it. Where else does a night in the Hamptons end with a vibrator casually chilling in a bowl of chicken? Who else but a Bravo star could say, "Are you going to let my small disdain for your clothes get in the way of our friendship?" with a straight face? And most importantly, what else could you need in a TV show aside from an African grey parrot named T'Challa?

Of course, this is Real Housewives we're talking about, so yes, there were bouts of drama, too. And every once in a while, there came a mind-blowing confession, an unexpected throwdown or a historic first that truly stopped us in our tracks. 

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So, to celebrate the end of a year—and the beginning of one guaranteed to bring even more memorable moments—keep scrolling to see all the Real Housewives shockers that had our jaws dropping in 2020.

You can also catch up with your favorite Bravolebrities by streaming any of the many Real Housewives franchises available on Peacock.

All the Departures

2020 saw an abundance of Housewives depart their respective franchises. Four years into her tenure on The Real Housewives of New York, Tinsley Mortimer left in the middle of season 12 to move to Chicago for her fiancé Scott Kluth. Months later, Dorinda Medley—who was quick to voice her disapproval of Tinsley's decision—announced she wouldn't be returning for RHONY's 13th season.

Also bowing outThe Real Housewives of Atlanta's NeNe Leakes, who had been a full-time cast member with the show since it premiered in 2008 with the exception of seasons eight and nine. Eva Marcille also said in June she wouldn't be returning to RHOA.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills lost both Teddi Mellencamp—her contract wasn't renewed—and Denise Richards, the latter of which came as no surprise for many, as she had a particularly tumultuous last season

Then there's LeeAnne Locken, who left The Real Housewives of Dallas.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Porsha Williams' Arrest for Peaceful Protesting

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery resulted in widespread protests against police brutality and racial inequality, and many Bravo stars, including Porsha Williams, made their voices heard. As the season 13 premiere of The Real Housewives of Atlanta showed, Porsha was arrested during a peaceful protest for Breonna in Kentucky. It would be the first of several amid her fight for racial justice.

Watching the moment play out onscreen brought Andy Cohen to tears. "I don't ever remember being as proud of a Real Housewife," he told Porsha in early December. "It's incredible watching your continued action for the Black Lives Matter movement, but seeing that all play out in tonight's episode was so moving to me." 

The Real Housewives of Orange County: Braunwyn Windham-Burke's Sobriety & Coming Out Story

One of the most moving moments in Housewives history came during the season 15 premiere of The Real Housewives of Orange County. During the episode, Braunwyn Windham-Burke looked straight at the cameras and said, "I don't know if it's divine intervention. I don't know. But for the first time in my life, I can say, 'My name is Braunwyn and I'm an alcoholic.'"

And in early December, Braunwyn made another public confession. "I'm finally comfortable enough to say: I like women," she declared, also revealing she's currently dating a woman. "I'm gay. I'm a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I'm a lesbian."

The Real Housewives of Potomac: Michael Darby's Drunken Rampage

Season five of The Real Housewives of Potomac started with a bang and went out with one too, as the finale saw Ashley Darby's husband Michael Darby aggressively confront Candiace Dillard's husband Chris Bassett. At the time, Candiace was venting her frustration with Karen Huger for not condemning Monique Samuels. As fans will recall, earlier in the season, Monique and Candiace had a physical altercation that seemed to divide the cast.

This somehow prompted Michael to tell Chris he needed to "control his wife," which Chris didn't take kindly to, responding, "Michael, you should get the f--k out of my face." 

Michael told Chris to "shut the f--k up," and Chris appeared to push him back. The situation escalated from there, and eventually, the two were physically separated, though they continued to shout at each other from across the room. Ashley, who had sided with Monique throughout the season, chimed in, yelling at both Chris and Candiace: "You want to talk s--t about Monique right? So Monique has no self-control but what do you have?"

Candiace and Chris quickly left the event while Michael, still full of rage, began lashing out at the show's production crew. It was only a matter of time until security had to escort him out, leaving behind a very embarrassed Ashley.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Denise Richards & Brandi Glanville's Alleged Sex Scandal

There was no escaping the drama between Denise Richards and Brandi Glanville on season 10 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It all started when Brandi told Kyle Richards and Teddi Mellencamp that, under the impression Denise and husband Aaron Phypers had an open marriage, the two women had been romantically involved. Post-hook-up, Brandi claimed Denise flipped a switch and urged her not to tell anyone, especially not Aaron. 

Denise, upon hearing about Brandi's allegations on a group trip, denied everything and has continued to insist Brandi is lying. Unfortunately, that didn't stop the RHOBH ladies from talking about it all season long.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Denise Breaking the Fourth Wall

The aforementioned drama surrounding the alleged hookup resulted in an interesting dynamic between the RHOBH production crew and cast—namely, Denise—and as a result, the fourth wall was practically non-existent by the end of the season. One of the most memorable moments came when the Wild Things star yelled "Bravo, Bravo, f--king Bravo," mid-fight, insisting that the cameras quit rolling. 

Other instances included Kyle and Lisa Rinna retouching their makeup and talking to crew members while filming, along with an off-camera producer being heard saying, "So, Denise. You ready to talk about all this?" 

The Real Housewives of New York: Leah McSweeney's Tiki Torch Tantrum

Leah McSweeney may go down in Housewives history as having the best debut season ever. She quickly solidified her spot as a fan favorite on The Real Housewives of New York City thanks to her unapologetic and outspoken attitude—and because she got drunk, threw tiki torches and skinny-dipped in Ramona Singer's pool (all in the same night!).

The rampage came after Leah convinced Tinsley to join her for a swim. Then, she suddenly spotted lit tiki torches lining the backyard of Ramona's Hamptons house. At that point, an enraged Leah began dismantling and throwing the tiki torches. 

Why? Leah didn't explain at the time, but later gave her reasoning on WWHL. "Charlottesville," she said, referring to the white supremacist rally—where participants marched with lit tiki torches—that took place in the Virginia town in 2017. 

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: Mary Cosby's Grandfather Confession

We're only halfway into the debut season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but it's already turning out to be quite the spectacle. Take cast member Mary Cosby, for example. During the premiere, she revealed that she's married to Robert Cosby Sr., the second husband of her late grandmother. Yes, you read that correctly.

Since that bombshell confession, she's continued to enlighten viewers on what her eye-brow raising romance. "Basically, my grandmother passed everything on to me and—literally," she told fellow castmate Heather Gay. "She wanted me to also marry her second husband, which was my stepgrandfather."

The other RHOSLC women naturally have a lot to say, including Jen Shah, who, mid-feud with Mary, took a swipe and said she "f--ks her grandfather." 

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