You can imagine the prospects for fame and fortune, but mostly fame, propels locals to join the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County, with time spent in court being the last thing on the Bravo reality stars’ minds. But it seems as if many go before judges as often as they do cameras, even without factoring in divorce courts.
The Blast reported on April 6 that the celebrity gossip site obtained court documents from an 82-year-old woman suing Vicki Gunvalson, the only current cast member who has been on RHOC since the show debuted in March 2006. Joan Lile claims insurance broker Gunvalson lied about premium payments when she sold the plaintiff’s late husband a long-term care policy in 1996. Gunvalson’s lawyer counters the allegations are “completely false.”
Jim Bellino, who appeared with his then-wife Alexis Bellino in seasons 6-8, sued current cast members Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador for defamation last year. He sought $1 million each from the women over comments they made about his divorce. The case is still pending against Judge, but Beador was dismissed from the suit in January, and she just filed court documents seeking more than $220,000 from Bellino to cover her legal bills. He filed one objection stating he should not have to pay anything and another asking the bill to be cut down to $44,000.
The splashiest legal complaint is the $500 million civil-rights lawsuit Orange County Jail inmates have filed against the county over the improper monitoring of their phone calls. Among the plaintiffs is Josh Waring, an attempted-murder defendant and son of Lauri Peterson, who appeared on RHOC full-time in seasons 1-3 (as Lauri Waring), for the first three episodes of season 4 and in season 8 guest appearances.
We reported last August about Alexa Curtin, the former-porn-star daughter of Lynne Curtin (RHOC seasons 4-5 and season 10 guest), going to Orange County Jail thanks to three outstanding cases. A jury previously found a sheriff’s deputy raped the younger Curtin, who was awarded a $2.25 million judgment.
Warning to OC judges, lawyers and stenographers: Season 14 premieres this summer.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.