15 Memorable Friends Who Never Became Real Housewives

Any long-time viewer of "The Real Housewives" knows how crucial a role a good "friend of" can play. Friends are supporting players who are not generally required to expose as much of their personal lives, which means that they can just show up for the juicy group stuff. In some instances, a friend may only be featured a few times a season, and in others, they might be around nearly every episode despite not holding a peach, diamond, apple, etc. The friend role can come about in a multitude of ways, and not everyone has what it takes, but the best "friends" have helped to propel the drama and have given us some stellar moments.

Over the years, many full-time cast members have been demoted to the friend role — including iconic Housewives like Vicki Gunvalson ("RHOC"), Camille Meyer ("RHOBH"), and at one point, Luann de Lesseps ("RHONY") — and it is not unheard of for a former Housewife to show up as a friend after years away from the show, like Danielle Staub ("RHONJ") and Katie Rost ("RHOP") have done. Very rarely will someone begin their run as a friend and then get promoted from there. In fact, only four women have done it, and it took one of them (Marlo Hampton) a full decade. Let's dig into the memorable friends who, for whatever reason, did not start as Housewives and never became Housewives. Here are 15 of the most unforgettable friends who never made the full-time cast.

Dana Wilkey

As far as "Real Housewives" friends go, never have we seen one as thirsty as "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" alum Dana Wilkey. You may remember Wilkey not only from her time on the show, but also from her "expert" opinions in two "Real Housewives" documentaries, "The Housewife and the Hustler" and "The Housewife & the Shah Shocker." She has become an active commentator on all things Bravo, even hosting a podcast — "Dishing Drama with Dana Wilkey" — to capitalize on her relatively short association with the franchise.

Wilkey appeared in three seasons of "RHOBH," first as a guest, then a friend, then a guest again. In total, she was featured in 19 episodes of the show, per her IMDb. She is largely remembered for hosting the game night where Brandi Glanville went up against the Richards sisters, and for a very expensive pair of designer sunglasses. "They're like 4 carats of diamond, and then they're gold python, and they're made of gold," she said of her $25,000 eyewear. (Naturally, there's a reference to said sunglasses in her Instagram bio.) Before she became a talking head about all things regarding crimes allegedly involving "Real Housewives," Wilkey faced some trouble with the law. In 2014, she and her associates were arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion. Per Radar Online, she pled guilty but has somehow also maintained her innocence in public (see here) and did not end up going to prison.

Barbara Kavovit

No matter what you think about Barbara Kavovit, "The Real Housewives of New York City" friend who often went by "Barbara K.," she remains a topic of conversation because she simply refuses to leave the public eye. The former reality TV personality has gone on to run for New York City mayor multiple times. "The city doesn't need another politician, they need someone like me who will use their business skills to make changes to these problems," she said at a 2022 event, per Page Six. As we know from her time on the show, Kavovit runs her own construction company, Evergreen Construction, and is mom to one son.

Kavovit was a guest on "RHONY" for many seasons, but finally made it to "friend" territory for Season 11, when she popped up as Luann de Lesseps' buddy. The first time she made a solid impact was when she was caught discussing de Lesseps' upcoming wedding with Carole Radziwill, a hot mic moment that she unsuccessfully attempted to have cut from the show, per New York Daily News. Years later, she was again caught on a hot mic, this time insulting de Lesseps' singing voice — which, to be fair, is an acquired taste — while at her cabaret show. "I don't think she can ever really hold the show by herself. I mean, she, she can't really sing," she said. Aside from the hot mics, she is mostly remembered for her copious amounts of self-tanner.

Kim DePaola

There are two memorable Kims from "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," but Kim DePaola — or Kim D., as she is typically called — stuck around for a whileDePaola was a guest during Seasons 2 through 4 before being offered a friend role for Season 5, and she returned as a guest in Seasons 7 and 8. Not once has her appearance been easy and breezy, and because a Kim D. scene means drama and chaos, she is best handled in small doses. The overwhelming majority of DePaola's scenes have taken place at her store, Posche, or at the fashion show that she for some reason feels the need to host semi-regularly, despite not being an actual fashion designer herself.

Tracing DePaola's alliances would be an article in itself, because she is shiftier than a see-saw, but she is largely connected to Danielle Staub and Teresa Giudice. In early seasons, she portrayed herself as Staub's friend while badmouthing her with the other ladies, a conflict that escalated at a Posche fashion show when Staub and Jacqueline Laurita's daughter Ashlee got into a physical fight. She was also smack dab in the middle of the "Melissa Gorga was a stripper" rumors, and many feel that she for years did Giudice's dirty work. In Season 8, things soured between DePaola and Giudice, and their fight at a Posche event is one for the record books: "You know what Posche stands for? Piece of sh** cokewh**e homewrecker everyday."

Kim Granatell

In comparison to Kim D., Kim Granatell is a pussycat. That said, take her out of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" and place her on another franchise, and she would probably be the boldest troublemaker there. Granatell was a friend on Season 2 of "RHONY," and then a guest the following season. We mostly got to know her through her connection to Caroline Manzo, as their sons were best friends at the time. Over the course of her stint on the show, her meddling and lack of boundaries went on to cause problems for many of the cast members.

One of Granatell's finer moments — for us, the viewers, that is — was when she invited a "friend" to Melissa Gorga's Christmas party. As the New York Daily News recapped, the friend in question, Monica Chacon, was working with the feds to take down Joe and Teresa Giudice, so clearly, Granatell knew what she was doing by inviting her. Granatell also befriended the cast outcast Danielle Staub at one point, which positioned her in opposition to Giudice, Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita, and all of Staub's other enemies. That friendship was not long for this world, which led to a classic fight between the pair and Granatell's signature line: "You have no friends, look at you, you're going to be an old f**king old lady with your fake and square f**king t**s." If that does not read like poetry to you, you're watching the wrong franchise.

Faye Resnick

Aside from her involvement in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Faye Resnick will likely best be remembered as Kyle Richards' friend on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." We will never forget when Camille Meyer (then Grammer) dubbed her "The morally corrupt Faye Resnick" during Season 1's "dinner party from hell" where she arrived as Richards' wing woman. That was the same dinner where Meyer inexplicably poked at Resnick for posing for "Playboy," despite herself having done a pretty similar photoshoot. Resnick has only technically appeared as a friend on one season of "RHOBH" — Season 3 — but she has been a guest on seven other seasons and that is not even including random cameos at Richards' events.

Aside from the Alison DuBois dinner party debacle, Resnick has been involved in a few other key scenes. In Season 6, Kathryn Edwards attempted to take her to task for the book she had written about the O.J. Simpson trial (she was a good friend of Nicole Brown), but Resnick could not be bothered by Edwards' feelings. She also made a big mark in Season 3 when she tore Brandi Glanville a new one at a party. "No matter how many Chanels you borrow, you will never, ever be a lady," she said with an eerie calmness that still resonates. We gotta say, digs like that are the reason why she'll always be worth keeping on the "RHOBH" bench.

Nicole James

Nicole James was featured on Season 16 of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and though she disappeared midseason, she gave us a lot to talk about for as long as she was around. While James is probably one of the more unlikeable friends on this list, she was also one who was central to the drama during her season. The big reveal that, decades earlier, James sued her friend Heather Dubrow's husband — and that Dubrow did not know.

Dubrow did not get mad at James, but she did lose it on the messenger, Gina Kirschenheiter, and did enter into a prolonged war with Shannon Beador, who had told Kirschenheiter the information. By then, James had all but disappeared from our screens. Aside from that one storyline, James gave us an explosive party fight with Emily Simpson and one of the most awkward lunches ever when she was reluctant to hug her (supposed) close friend Noella Bergener, who was crying because of her divorce. Both Bergener and Dubrow have spoken out about how James is actually a good friend, but we are fine with her never popping back into the on-screen "RHOC" circle.

Elyse Slaine

Elyse Slaine was a controversial figure before she ever entered a frame of footage on "The Real Housewives of New York," which she did briefly as a guest in Seasons 9 and 10, and then more substantially as a friend in Season 12. She reportedly fired a domestic worker for asking for time off for medical care, and then withheld her pay, which led to a literal protest outside of her apartment building in 2014, per the New York Post. And according to the U.S. Sun, she also had a legal fight with her ex-husband's children after he died and she wanted to keep his $4 million apartment. So, yes, controversial is a nice way of putting it.

Slaine entered the "RHONY" scene as Ramona Singer's friend, but by the end of her tenure, the two had turned into bitter enemies. "I was just catching up with Ramona and the two girls she was filming with in the first episode. The producers put a microphone on me and said, 'Get in there,' so I did," Slaine told Us Weekly in a podcast interview. "They liked the dynamic, so they invited me back again. They just sort of kept inviting me, so I just sort of kept showing up whenever I could. Then eventually, they gave me a contract." Her most memorable moments on the show include calling Sonja Morgan an "accessory" rather than a partner in her marriage, and her awkward run-in with Singer at Leah McSweeney's party, where Singer called her "sick and evil."

Tanya Sam

According to interviews done for Dave Quinn's "Not All Diamonds and Rosé," Tanya Sam was in negotiations for a full-time role on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" when she decided she did not want it. This was confirmed by both Sezin Cavusoglu, a Bravo executive, and Sam herself. "We figured out pretty early on that there would be no way to get past some structural thing in the full-time contract around businesses and exposure of businesses on camera," Sam said in the book, adding that she then offered herself up for the friend role instead. She appeared in a friend capacity beginning in Season 11, and filmed three seasons in that role before departing the franchise.

Sam was always more reserved than many of the "RHOA" women, perhaps because of her offscreen life as a businesswoman, but she still knew how to turn up. She memorably took the others to visit Canada, from where she hails, to celebrate the Caribana Festival in Toronto, and got down and dirty (possibly too dirty, but the rumors are unconfirmed) with stripper Bolo during Cynthia Bailey's out-there bachelorette party. Though she started the show as NeNe Leakes' friend, Sam's friendship with Porsha Williams appeared to grow quite deep, and we always enjoyed their back-and-forth. Nonetheless, her feuding with Kenya Moore was probably when she was the most memorable. Moore accused Sam's partner, Paul Judge, of flirting with the "cookie lady," which was a major rift in Season 12.

Shamea Morton

Like Tanya Sam, Shamea Morton is another friend of the Housewives who has declined the chance to grab onto a peach. Morton was a friend for Season 8 of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," and she has popped up as a guest in seven other seasons, often appearing more than once a season and engaging in many group events. Still, Morton has not accepted offers to cross over into full-time territory because it would mean exposing more of her personal life than she can. She has said in interviews that her husband is okay with her being on the show, but that he will not film for "RHOA" and does not want their home life documented.

Morton is besties with Porsha Williams but has also been shown to be close with Kandi Burruss and some of the other cast members. She has also gotten into a fair number of disagreements, including with Kenya Moore and Phaedra Parks. At the Season 9 reunion, she even accused Parks of flirting with her ex and took her to task for leading Williams astray. While we would love to learn more about her career and family, we like what Morton adds in smaller doses enough to be appreciative of when she does appear on screen. She even got her first confessional in 2021, after having appeared on the show on and off since 2012.

Eden Sassoon

On paper, Eden Sassoon, the gorgeous daughter of hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, seemed like the perfect fit for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." "Obviously Vidal Sassoon is a huge name and also very synonymous with Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Eden had some funny stories because she was a dating machine at the time – dating younger guys," said Jennifer Redinger, a Bravo casting director, in "Not All Diamonds and Rosé." On the show, all we heard about was a random young guy that Eden had not yet met in person, but off the show, she has been linked to pop singer Jesse McCartney and "Bachelorette" star Josh Murray.

Despite seeming like a good fit for the show, Eden Sassoon never gelled with the rest of the "RHOBH" cast and lasted only one season (Season 7) as a friend of the "Housewives." She oscillated between fading into the background and trying way too hard to get attention but did at times help move the storylines along. She was the person who told Kyle Richards that Lisa Rinna had been talking about Kim Richards' sobriety, though she went about it in a very clumsy way that included a super awkward scene with her asking probing questions about Richards' family history with alcohol. By the end of the season, Sassoon had all but had it with Rinna and she memorably erupted on her at a 1920s theme party. "I've given you so much of my time, my energy, my f**king heart, you b***h," she yelled at a laughing Rinna.

LaToya Ali

LaToya Ali only appeared as a friend for one season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," but she certainly gave it her all and we would not have been mad if she had returned for another season. Ali was introduced in Season 13, and she immediately went to work proving why she was cast. She became buddies with cast member Kenya Moore, and the two developed a weird flirtatious thing that never went anywhere. More importantly, Ali and Drew Sidora entered into a feud that lasted the entirety of the season. Ali was constantly making fun of Sidora's wigs, and Sidora hit back hard when she accused Ali of having an affair with her prophet. She even produced a secret tape recording at one point (which had nothing of note on it!).

Ali's other big fight was with Falynn Guobadia, a guest star for the season who was hosting a Halloween event. The verbal attacks from both sides got very inappropriate, and things seemingly turned physical when Guobadia took off after Ali, chasing her around her home. Things got so ugly that it was not even all shown on camera, but that may be because neither Ali nor Guobadia were full-time cast members. Aside from her fighting, Ali was a good time at Cynthia Bailey's bachelorette party and the scene where Sidora signed a headshot for her proved she had a sense of humor about herself. "RHOA" has carried on without Ali, but she served her purpose for that one season.

Rosie Pierri

We now had a handful of same-sex attracted cast members and friends on the "Real Housewives," such as Noella Bergener and Brandi Glanville (who both identify as bisexual), and "The Real Housewives of Miami" has put Julia Lemigova's marriage to Martina Navratilova front and center, but for a long time, "Housewives" and their friends were overwhelmingly straight-identified, hyper-feminine women. Rosie Pierri broke the mold, in part because she was gay, and in part because she spent more of her time drinking beers with the men on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" than attending fashion shows at Posche. If she were not Kathy Wakile's sister and the cousin of Teresa Giudice and Joe Gorga, Pierri probably wouldn't have appeared on this sort of platform, which made her all the more relatable.

While she was a guest from Season 3 until Season 6, Pierri was made a friend for Season 7 before leaving the show altogether. "The first season Kathy was on the show, everybody would see me and be like, 'Who's that?' I didn't even know the cameras were on," Pierri said in "Not All Diamonds and Rosé." "Then they wanted to mic me the second time around, and I was a little nervous." Despite her nerves, Pierri put it all out there, hilariously trying to pick up ladies on camera, poignantly coming out to her niece and nephew over a meal, and exploding in rage from backstage at a reunion when Giudice mentioned her father. 

Marisa Zanuck

It is not that Marisa Zanuck was very good at the friend role when she appeared on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" in Season 3, but she makes our list because her constant digs at her husband and life were incredibly memorable. In fact, Zanuck appeared to be actively repulsed by her hubby, film producer Dean Zanuck, and it is no shock that the pair split up in 2016. We don't know how he stayed with her for years after the way she treated him on national television, to be honest.

Zanuck was kind of just there most of the time, and the marriage storyline was all she had to go on. When she was called out about her comments by cast members Brandi Glanville and Taylor Armstrong, while attending a party at Lisa Vanderpump's home, she even doubled down on her stance. "No, I'm not saying he's not sexy. It's just that after having sex with him for 16 years, it's like, it would be nice to have a change," she told them. In 2015, The Hollywood Gossip included that quote on their list of "obnoxious" things that have been said on "RHOBH," which just goes to show how even people who only briefly appear in the Bravoverse can make an impression with the right circumstances.

Kathy Hilton

For years, people asked for Kathy Hilton to appear on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" alongside her sisters Kim and Kyle Richards. She had done a few guest spots over the years, but prayers were answered when she finally signed on to be a friend in Season 11. The only problem is that she was so good in her inaugural season that now we want her as a full-timer, which is something Hilton has no interest in whatsoever. She told Los Angeles Magazine in April 2022 that she will never hold a "RHOBH" diamond, adding, "My husband is not going to be in it. My children aren't. When you sign up for the Housewife gig, you got to let it all out and include everybody."

In her debut year as a friend, Hilton gave us many iconic moments and proved herself to be hilarious in a way we would have never expected. She played practical jokes on the other women, proved herself incapable of understanding the premise of "two truths and a lie," and mistook her ear drops for eye drops. We loved her giant purse full of random items, the dance she did with stale bread, and the giant fan she needs to sleep, and cackled when she stayed up late on vacation eating chips and drinking Red Bull in bed while combing over six newspapers. Hilton also had a number of iconic quotes from Season 11, including "Who is Hunky Dory?," "I'm literally ready to have a gorilla," and "Hi, Tomasina."

Kiki Barth

We love "The Real Housewives of Miami" friend Kiki Barth so much that we are holding out hope that she someday becomes a full-time cast member. Until then, we will take Barth any way we can get her.  Unlike a lot of the women on our list, Barth, who was introduced in Season 4, has yet to cause any massive drama, but she is incredibly fun, ridiculously stylish, and very comical, which are all reasons she needs to stick around. And sure, she had one minor fight with Marysol Patton, a former "Housewife" who was also appearing in a friend role for Season 4, but it was barely a blip as far as "RHOM" fights go.

Aside from Barth's apology for offending Patton, her other standout moments were all lighthearted. For instance, she made us cackle when she announced, in the middle of a petty fight about room assignments during a getaway, "I've been drinking coffee all day. I need to caca." Other golden quotes from her Season 4 appearances came about as she was defending co-star Larsa Pippen's decision to join OnlyFans. Whether she is strutting around in her swimsuit — she is, after all, a model — or reacting to the drama around her with hilarious facial expressions, Barth is always a welcome addition in any group scene.