The Real Housewives of Orange County returns tomorrow night for its fifth season, proving that the ones who started the whole housewives reality TV trend have stood the test of time. This season, we reunite with some old timers consisting of Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough, Tamra Barney, Gretchen Rossi and Lynne Curtin, and meet newcomer Alexis Bellino.

If you’re no stranger to The Real Housewives of Orange County, then you’re already accustomed to the California lifestyle and steamy suburban drama that subsist amidst the backdrop of changing economic times. Otherwise, here’s what you need to know about these sun-loving girls of Southern California and the new season.

Jeana Keough

One of the original housewives from the first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Jeana is arguably the most popular cast member of this franchise. The former Playboy Playmate, 54, tries to make ends meet as a real estate agent and is now going through a divorce with former Major League Baseball player Matt Keough. This season, viewers will find Jeana go through a significant lifestyle change because of the wilting economy.

“The kids have really learned the value of money,” Jeana said, referring to her children, Shane, 23, who’s playing with the minor league Stockton Ports baseball team; Kara, 21, a junior at UCLA; and Colton, 17, a senior at Tesoro High School. “We’re not going out to eat as much. I cut back on a couple of cars.”

And because Jeana needs to focus on finances and her family, fans shouldn’t expect her to continue on The Real Housewives of Orange County. She’s slated to appear in the first three episodes of the new season and will officially bid farewell to the show on November 19.

Vicki Gunvalson

Just like Jeana, Vicki has been in every episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County since the first season but when it comes to business, Vicki’s had better luck.
This 47-year-old self-employed insurance agent now manages 700 insurance agents and is working on an insurance school called Coto University while developing a book entitled More Than a Housewife.

While we get a glimpse of Vicki’s business endeavors this season, we also get a peek at her much improved relationship with second husband Donn now that she has seemingly pledged that she won’t say negative things about him anymore in front of the cameras.

“I regret hurting Donn on camera. It was embarrassing for him,” Vicki admitted, referring to the complaint she revealed about her husband’s “empty love tank” last season. “He didn’t deserve that. We should have talked about it in private. I was feeling alone and overworked and I just felt loveless. But it hurt him.”

We’ll also see Vicki’s children, Brianna, 22, who has decided not to go into the military so she can be a trauma nurse at a local hospital and Michael, 23, who is working in Vicky’s business.

Tamra Barney

Tamra, who joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County‘s third season through a casting call launched on Bravo’s website, continues to work in real estate though she’s taken on a new job: working with Marcos Prolo of Barrington Properties. At the same time, the 42-year-old blond continues to raise her children, Sophia, 4, Spencer, 9, Sidney, 10, and Ryan, 23, who gets into trouble with the law this season and faces the prospect of serving some jail time for it.

Viewers will see how the faltering economy takes a toll on Tamra and her relationship with husband Simon as they bring up the idea of divorce, but more interestingly, there will also be several heated arguments between Tamra and housewife Gretchen Rossi.  

Lynne Curtin

Lynne, the most carefree and laidback housewife, returns for the fifth season to contemplate and ultimately proceed with plastic surgery. But having a little nip-tuck is the least of her worries. The 53-year-old mother of two teenage daughters, Raquel, 19, and Alexa, 17, is now struggling with husband Frank as they face the possibility of eviction from their Laguna Beach home.  

Gretchen Rossi

Still grieving the loss of her fiance Jeff Beitzel, who died in September 2008 of leukemia, Gretchen, who joined the show last season, tries move on with life with her own makeup line called Gretchen Christine Beaute. But she’s not going to be miserable all season long since she’ll have a new love interest in the form of… Slade Smiley. Yes, you heard me right Slade Smiley! (To refresh your memory, Slade is the ex-fiance of former housewife Jo De La Rosa. He also dated former cast member Lauri Waring Peterson for some time.)

“Slade and I have been friends for eight years. He was the only person, besides my family, to call me every day after Jeff died. When somebody is there for you so much, a fondness is just automatically there,” Gretchen, 32, said of unexpected relationship.

Alex Bellino

The newest kid on the housewife block is 32-year-old Alex, a stay-at-home mom with three young children: James, 3, Melania, 2, and Mackenna, 2. She’s married to Jim, an entrepreneur, and doesn’t mind taking on a very traditional role in her marriage. Not much has been revealed about Alex but we’ll surely get to know her better as The Real Housewives of Orange County sheds light on Alex’s family life, her very detailed beauty regimen and how she fits in with the other housewives.

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: The OC Register
(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Kris De Leon

Staff Writer, BuddyTV