by Billy Nilles | Wed., Feb. 1, 2017 2:01 PM
The high drama and wacky antics of the Real Housewives franchise may get all the headlines, but the true cornerstone of each and every city in the Bravo reality series stable is usually a pair of best friends. Every city's got at least one set of inseparable soul sisters who make us laugh—and usually cry once they inevitably see their relationship tested by malevolent outside forces (aka, their co-stars). From Beverly Hills' Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards to New York's Bethenny Frankel and Carole Radziwill, to even franchise newcomers like Dallas' Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman, these uniquely special (and uniquely hilarious) relationships are everywhere to be found.
But not all are created equal. Which pair of Real Housewives BFFs deserves the top spot in the RH Hall of Fame? We're glad you asked...
11. Phaedra Parks and Porsha Williams, Real Housewives of Atlanta
Frick and Frack are relatively new besties, born out of the dissolution of another, more celebrated relationship of Phaedra's (more about that later). They're always good for a laugh, but there's already trouble in paradise. As recently as the January 29 episode, Porsha began questioning Phaedra's loyalty (a bit of a recurring theme for the lawyer and one-time mortuary sciences enthusiast) after Frack (Or is Phaedra Frick? We're never sure) began cozying back up to their nemesis Kenya Moore. Phaedra, you in danger, girl.
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10. NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey, RHOA
This relationship had it all: The friendship contract! One woman calling the other's spouse a "bitch!" The burning of the friendship contract! NeNe and Cynthia may have hit a rocky patch towards the end of Mrs. Leakes' tenure on the series, but they always made for good entertainment.
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9. Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
These two soap stars present one of the most united fronts the Housewives franchise has probably ever seen. In the three years since they joined the cast, have we ever seen them fight once? They've always got each other's back, and that's something to admire—even if one of them sometimes finds themselves on the wrong side of an issue. Munchausen's, anyone?
8. Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman, Real Housewives of Dallas
Some friendships on Real Housewives come only after meeting on the show. That wasn't the case with these two Lone Star State ladies. Their shared love of potty humor and their sisterly bond helped Brandi get through a season of painful family drama and a distant husband.
7. Bethenny Frankel and Carole Radziwill, Real Housewives of New York City
When Bethenny returned to RHONY in season seven to reclaim her throne, it was as if Carole said to herself, "Finally, someone on my level." The two became fast friends, thanks to sex dreams and a shared sense of humor. Watching Carole attend doctor's visits alongside Bethenny's during the latter's health scare in season eight revealed a connection deeper than we could've imagined. The care for one another transcends reality TV, but, if we're being honest, it's made the two a bit of an island, closed off to their co-stars. (Not that we always blame them, but still...)
6. Phaedra Parks and Kandi Burruss, RHOA
Ah, the original Frick and Frack. We're not really sure when or exactly why it went so wrong for these two, but back in the early days of RHOA, when it was the Talls vs. the Smalls, there was no tighter pair than Phaedra and Kandi. Who can forget the two walking through the streets of Savannah, GA during that infamous Underground Railroad trip of season six, talking trash about everyone in their group and chasing down that hearse giving a ghost tour? Forever our Shade Queens.
5. Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge, Real Housewives of Orange County
Life before Brooks Ayers was so good for these two Orange County queens. It was only when that huckster entered their lives that this seemingly inseparable bond was tested over and over and over. They may never again be BFFs willing to revive their Wine by Wives endeavor, but at least their initial breakdown gave us Vicki's legendary "my friend, my soul mate, my sister" screed.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
4. Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan, RHONY
Remember when, at 54, Ramona missed her period and thought, at 54, that she might be pregnant, so Sonja helped her take a pregnancy test, at 54, while on a ship at a party celebrating Luann de Lesseps' anniversary with then-boyfriend Jacques? That just about sums up these two lovably wacky women and their hilarious hijinks. They've weathered their share of storms in recent seasons, but for a time, they were Real Housewives' unrivaled comedy duo.
3. Teresa Giudice and Jacqueline Laurita, Real Housewives of New Jersey
Watching these two women attempt to destroy each other all season long during RHONJ's most recent run was brutal. Why? Because of how good they were when the show began. The Garden State's self-described Lucy and Ethel, the two were once so close they joked about their youngest children, born months apart and on the show, falling in love and getting married, finally making them family.
2. Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards, RHOBH
One of the franchise's few success stories when it comes to friendships rebounding from a rocky road, LVP and Kyle have moved beyond the past disagreements and outside influences (ahem, Brandi Glanville) in their lives to emerge a stronger, more united duo. Case in point? Lisa's withering warning to newcomer Eden Sassoon over her increasingly alarming insistence at inserting herself into the Richards sisters' relationship: "We started off on the right foot, and I'm happy about that. But my other foot will kick you in the ass if you come after my girl Kyle." YAS! May no woman come between these queens again.
Eugene Gologursky/WireImage; Rob Kim/Getty Images
1. Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin, RHONY
When they were good, they were good. And when they weren't good anymore, they were even better. Whether they were cracking us up with their true Lucy and Ethel antics (sorry, not sorry, Tre and Jacqueline) or leaving us speechless as we watched their friendship bitterly deteriorate in real time over the course of an entire season, Bethenny and Jill made for damn good TV. Their friendship, warts and all, is the Real Housewives gold standard.
Did your fave RH BFFs make the list? And is the right duo on top? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 8 p.m. and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., both on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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