Stars From Real Housewives You Didn't Know Died

Bravo's "The Real Housewives" franchise follows the glamorous and drama-filled lives of women in major cities across the United States. Since the show's inception in 2006, viewers have witnessed some heavy storylines, including addiction, infidelity, family fallouts, and, sadly, even death.

According to Screen Rant, one of the first deaths to be featured on the reality series was that of Russell Armstrong, who appeared on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" with his wife, Taylor. During their time on the show, the couple's relationship became the source of a lot of drama, which included a string of financial issues and allegations of domestic abuse. Following the pair's eventual separation in 2011, Armstrong died by suicide.

Per Showbiz CheatSheet, fans of "The Real Housewives of New York City" are more than familiar with Jill Zarin and her husband, Bobby. In 2009, Bobby overcame a thyroid cancer diagnosis. However, his cancer returned four years later, and Bobby died at the age of 71 in January 2018 (via CNN). 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their websiteIf you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Another The Real Housewives of New York City star experienced a tragic death while on the show

Another "The Real Housewives of New York City" star experienced a tragic death while on the show. Jill Zarin's former "RHONY" castmate, Bethenny Frankel, also experienced a personal tragedy while appearing on the Bravo hit when her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Dennis Shields, died at the age of 51 of a suspected drug overdose in 2018 (via Screen Rant).

In Season 8 of the New Jersey franchise, Teresa and Joe Gorga were shown grieving the loss of their mother, Antonia, who had passed away from pneumonia at 66 years old. According to People, Teresa and Joe's father, Giacinto Gorga, who also appeared on "RHONJ," sadly died two years later, in April 2020. In the early seasons of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," longtime cast member Kandi Burruss was engaged to fiancé AJ. Shortly after his semi-regular appearances on the show, the pair called it quits. In 2009, AJ was tragically killed during a fight in a strip club parking lot. 

Per Showbiz CheatSheet, fans of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" will remember the ex-husband of former cast member Kim Richards, Monty Brinson, who was suffering from cancer while on the show. Sadly, Brinson died in 2016 shortly after his "RHOBH" stint. 

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Veteran RHOA cast member Nene Leakes suffered a major loss

According to Screen Rant, the Season 10 of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" featured one of the most emotional scenes in the franchise's history when veteran cast member Vicki Gunvalson learned of her mother's death while filming the show in 2015. In the scene, Gunvalson is shown answering the phone and subsequently falling to the floor in disbelief after she is informed of her mother's sudden passing.

Another "RHOC" death to be shown on the hit reality series is that of Jeff Beitzel, the late fiancé of ex-cast member Gretchen Rossi. During the show, Beitzel's battle with cancer was featured prominently, and Rossi received a wave of backlash from her fellow castmates for how she behaved during his final months. Sadly, Beitzel passed away in 2008, leaving $2.5 million from his estate to Rossi (via Showbiz CheatSheet).

In September 2021, fans of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" were devastated to learn the sad news of Gregg Leakes' death. Gregg was the husband of the veteran cast member Nene Leakes and was a prominent figure on the show throughout his wife's "RHOA" run. As Page Six reported, Gregg died of colon cancer at the age of 66 on September 1.

Confirming the tragic news, a representative of the Leakes family said in a statement, "Today, the Leakes family is in deep pain with a broken heart. After a long battle with cancer, Gregg Leakes has passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones and wife NeNe Leakes." The press release continued, "We ask that you pray for peace and strength over their family and allow them to mourn in private during this very, very difficult time."

Paying tribute to Gregg on Twitter, Andy Cohen, "The Real Housewives" producer and "Watch What Happens Live" host, wrote, "I jokingly called him 'Pastor Leakes' but in truth he was a strong voice of reason & commanded great respect among the entire #RHOA team. I am sending love and strength to @neneleakes & the entire Leakes family."