Hell is other Housewives.
We did it, witches. We scoured our brains and chose for you the 25 freshest, ripest, most succulent inter-Housewife feuds. This is by no means a complete list. Some heavy hitters are missing, some great arguments ignored (shouts to Shannon Beador, Lisa Rinna, Ester Dee, et al. — we still love you, bbs!). But it’s 25 pretty fucking good feuds. Feel free to suggest your forgotten faves in the comments section!
Without further ado:
25. Jill Zarin vs. Alex McCord (New York City)
Alternate title: “High School vs. Brooklyn.” This is a fantastic, heartfelt feud. Each of these women represents what the other hates most in the entire world. Jill looks down on Alex for aspiring to the social prestige Jill thinks should be conferred by more time-honoured means, like marrying money or having an important last name. Alex despises Jill for being a gatekeeper to all of the meaningless classist bullshit that makes her blood boil. Jill started this one in the lead, but then she lost face after Bethenny disowned her. Alex took every opportunity to dance on her grave, hives and all.
24. Athena X Levendi vs. Victoria Rees (Sydney)
It seems like Athena X’s days on RHOS may be numbered, so it’s important that we at The Bitchy Witches work to cement her place as an icon. Hence, our commemoration of her feud with Victoria Rees. Victoria accused her of being “Jatz Crackers” (it’s an Aussie burn; just go with it). Athena dug into the archives to drag Victoria for being fat as a child. Victoria hurled Athena’s dainty macrame cape into the ocean. This all happened in episode one. The rest of the season unfolded as a beautiful cacophony of petty bullshit, including multiple drink throws. Never in Athena’s multiple lifetimes has she been tested so severely.
23. Adriana de Moura vs. Joanna Krupa (Miami)
No one was really right in this battle between two of the greatest egotistical nightmares ever to grace a Bravo opening credits sequence. But it can’t always be high art, and when you’re in the mood to trawl the absolute dregs of humanity, Adriana sucker-punching Joanna at a lingerie party is hard to beat.
22. Porsha Williams vs. Kenya Moore (Atlanta)
This isn’t the best work in Kenya’s portfolio, and there’s very little meat on the actual bones: Porsha called Kenya “Miss America” by accident and they’ve been ripping each other apart ever since, in ways too petty to enumerate. But this is the Housewives feud that came closest to one woman physically ending another – Kenya got a little too cute with the props at the season six reunion, so Porsha attempted to impale her with them. That feels worthy of recognition.
21. Dorinda Medley vs. Sonja Morgan (New York City)
One of the great Bambi vs. Godzilla feuds in the RHONY canon. There is nothing more invigorating than Dorinda showing up to some 10 a.m. event blotto and carving into Sonja Morgan’s dark meat. Sonja gets a shot in from time to time (remember her outing Dorinda as a cokehead at the season eight reunion?), but by and large, these encounters end with Dorinda absolutely obliterating Sonja while flailing her arms around like an inflatable tube man. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
20. Leanne Brown vs. Dawn Ward (Cheshire)
Every good Housewives franchise has its marquee feud, and it’s almost always the result of a formerly tight friendship going hideously, hideously wrong. There’s something undeniably compelling about the drama that can only come from years of hurt feelings and pent-up grudges. It took five seasons and an un-repaid £500,000 loan for Leanne to realize what the rest of the cast clued into years ago: Dawn Ward is a liar, a user, and a toxic person. That is to say, she’s fabulous television, especially when she’s torching her bridges.
19. Teresa Giudice vs. Melissa Gorga (New Jersey)
They patched things up when Tre went off to camp, and have been on a relatively even keel ever since, so it’s easy to forget that at its nadir, Melissa and Teresa’s relationship was a toxic swamp of years-old grudges, vaguely incestuous jealousy and half-baked revenge schemes. It’s hard to isolate the exact low point of this feud. Was it the fistfight at the christening? The brawl between the Joes at the therapy retreat? The genuinely insane season four finale, where Kim D. gave her trash army the directive to betray and kill? Who can say, but it’s good for the family that these two have mended fences (though we wonder if Gia’s musical output has suffered).
18. The Light Side vs. The Dark Side (Melbourne)
Which side are you on? Do you vibe with Gamble’s manic, sugar-coated acts of vengeance? Janet’s merciless shit-stirring? Jackie’s cosmically-approve heat seeking missiles of truth? Sally’s… earrings? Then welcome to the Light Side. Join the upholders of all things good and pure. But maybe you’re on the Dark Side. Maybe you’re more about Gina’s dyed-in-the-wool self-absorption, or Lydia’s giddy, idiotic malice. Or maybe, like Lady Behbahani-Clark, you’re just trying to find an oasis of love and attention in a cruel world that judges you for being a vapid phony. Either way, there’s something for everyone in the excellent cast battle that defined Melbourne season four.
17. Lea Black vs. Adriana de Moura (Miami)
Another of those apocalyptic “friendship gone wrong” feuds. Adriana paid the price for her lackluster defence of Lea at the season two reunion. Lea outed Adriana’s secret wedding. Adriana outed Lea’s secret wedding. It all came to ahead in the middle of a thunderstorm, during a cinematic argument shot like outtakes from Amélie — a bizarre but rewarding aesthetic choice.
16. Gretchen Rossi vs. Tamra Judge (Orange County)
Hold onto your daddies, girls, here comes Gretchen vs. Tamra. Tamra fans will love this showcase of Tam Tam at her pettiest and most psychotic, featuring three straight years of Tamra brutalizing Gretchen for merely existing, a brief peace wherein Tamra pitted Gretchen and Vicki against each other for her heart, and then one final betrayal when Tamra realized everyone hated Gretchen and flipped back against her out of social expedience. Never forget Naked Wasted, the first truly indefensible act of wife-on-wife violence in the canon. A trailblazing feud.
15. Gina Liano vs. Andrea Moss (Melbourne)
Melbourne’s flagship feud is one of those great, simple, popcorn-munching affairs that instantly sells a Housewives franchise. The hero is charismatic, delusional and visually distinctive. The bad guy is sour, crusty and begging for a comeuppance. Good overcomes evil in the most righteous, humiliating way possible, and the vanquished villain vanishes from our screens forevermore. Gina Liano might have peaked when she fucked up Andrea’s bathroom, tennis court and life in season one, but we still owe her our gratitude.
14. Siggy Flicker vs. Margaret Josephs (New Jersey)
New to the canon but no less harrowing for it. The dirt is still fresh on season eight’s headline feud, which drove its villain, Sigalit “Siggy” Flicker, to the brink of madness (“brink” is me being polite). Siggy is no longer a Housewife, the whole thing having gotten to be Too Much, but she continues with her dogged quest to prove to the world that Margaret Josephs is a bully and an anti-Semite, one Twitter bot at a time.
13. Bethenny Frankel vs. Kelly Bensimon (New York City)
Bethenny hated Kelly because she’s insincere, self-absorbed, catty, and kind of an internalized misogynist. Kelly hated Bethenny because she is a cook, not a chef, who is full of knives and kills Kelly every night in her sleep. Equally valid reasons, I’m sure we all agree, but whatever the reasons behind their friction, Bethenny vs. Kelly was a gorgeous feud. It even got an episode named after it, featuring Bethenny and KKB’s legendary encounter at the Brass Monkey. Bethenny and Kelly fights were always glorious because Bethenny fights with incisive logic and Kelly emigrated from the moon, so even when Bethenny “won,” you could tell none of her arguments ever truly landed. The bad blood between Kelly and Bethenny led to arguably the greatest Housewives vacation meltdown ever, as Kelly could withstand no more of Bethenny’s systematic bullying and lost her grip on reality all together.
12. Vicki Gunvalson vs. Tamra Judge (Orange County)
The Romeo and Juliet of the O.C. (if you don’t count Jo de la Rosa and Shane Keough). Though they are fated to be together, they are also fated to remain forever at war. Tamra and Vicki are too similar to ever find true harmony. They disintegrate into a puddle of tears and accusations any time one of them gets a new man. They make each other jealous with “new friends” neither of them care about (remember when they pretended to enjoy Gretchen and Alexis to get under each other’s skin?). They’re possessive, they’re vindictive, they scream in each other’s faces. The definition of a bad romance.
11. Pettifleur Berenger and Lydia Schiavello vs. the World (Melbourne)
Truly, I can think of no greater villainous duo than Lydia and Pettifleur, the Dick Dastardly and Muttley of Toorak. Lashed together out of necessity when no one else would bear either of them, these two wreaked narcissist chaos on the rest of the cast, before inevitably cannibalizing each other. As far as barely functional alliances where the participants transparently kind of hate one another, you can’t do better.
10. LeeAnne Locken vs. Brandi Redmond (Dallas)
Arguably the most tragic feud on this list. I’ve waxed poetic about the pathos of Brandi vs. LeeAnne before, but I find something so craven about the way Brandi used and discarded LeeAnne in her misguided quest to get back in Stephanie Hollman’s good graces. Don’t let the raging carnie exterior fool you: LeeAnne bruises easily. Heartless, heartless.
9. Brandi Glanville vs. Lisa Vanderpump (Beverly Hills)
I lean on dysfunctional romance as a crutch when describing Housewives feuds, often enough that I’ve probably exhausted the metaphor (I used it three paragraphs ago), but Brandi and Lisa genuinely were a love that burned bright and exploded in flames. Once Brandi outed Lisa as an expert puppetmaster who uses and discards even her closest friends, there was no going back. All the grovelling in the world couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle of their friendship, although Brandi’s tactics (re: defacing Lisa’s olive tree and drunkenly slapping her in the face) probably could have used a little work.
8. LuAnn de Lesseps vs. Bethenny Frankel vs. Ramona Singer (New York City)
This is, admittedly, a bit of a cheat. These women are always fighting, but never in fixed configurations, and seldom all at once. But I couldn’t choose amongst them, so I honour them all. LuAnn tries to bait Ramona into insulting her own wine. Bethenny outs LuAnn’s fiancé as a cheater via scandalous photos. Ramona comes for Bethenny’s entire life during a friendly walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. LuAnn torments Bethenny with a drunken assault in the Berkshires. Ramona calls LuAnn a weekend mom and nukes her underaged daughter on social media. These chicks aggress each other constantly, but always find a way to patch it up and get back on good terms for next season, usually via copious consumption of alcohol. They’re just as likely to scheme together as against each other, and it never gets too dark. The NY O.G.s have been at war for a decade but always manage to keep it at frenemy status. They’re pros.
7. Camille Grammer vs. Kyle Richards (Beverly Hills)
Did Kyle really say that no one would care about Camille without Kelsey? Does it matter? Whether it happened or not, it birthed the explosive feud that headlined RHOBH season one (and, not for nothing, prepared us for the ensuing decade of arguments based on unverifiable shit that happened off-camera). This is the vendetta that gave us The Dinner Party from Hell, which, along with Scary Island, has to be one of the most absurd and haunting climactic set pieces to any Housewife beef.
6. Danielle Staub vs. Everyone (New Jersey)
We now live in a more enlightened era where Danielle Staub can fuck in the Gorgas’ restaurant and everyone just laughs it off, but back in the day, no one was hated like Danielle. She had a different adversarial relationship with everyone in the cast: offended and betrayed by Jacqueline, impersonal yet paradoxically violent with Teresa, nakedly jealous of Dina. And then there was Caroline, the self-appointed sheriff who bullied her off the show. By the end of her first RHONJ stint, Danielle was vainly venting conspiracy theories at a cast of Hell’s Angels, her bewildered daughters, and Kim G., because they were the only people who would film with her.
5. Kandi Burruss vs. Phaedra Parks (Atlanta)
You know how sometimes you and your best friend hit a rough patch, like they’ve been ghosting your texts or bailing on your hangouts or whatever, so you spread a bunch of rumours that they’re trying to drug and rape your mutual friends in their private sex dungeon? We’ve all been there. Anyway, Phaedra pulled that old chestnut on Kandi, and Kandi for whatever reason took it personally, like don’t be such a prude, Kandi. And then it came out at the reunion and Phaedra got fired and it was a whole big thing. Totes awks.
4. Kim Zolciak vs. NeNe Leakes vs. Shereé Whitfield (Atlanta)
Collectively, Kim, NeNe and Shereé are the Cerberus of Atlanta, a three-headed beast with a serpent for a tail. The true nature of their relationship is always in flux — usually it involves Shereé sucking up to one while poisoning her against the other, but the details are variable — but their confrontations are always dynamic and explosive. It’s hard to believe they shared a stage with Lisa Wu and DeShawn.
3. Kyle Richards vs. Kim Richards (Beverly Hills)
Every so often, the Housewives treat us to a feud a lifetime in the making. Enter the Richards sisters, a pair of survivors from Big Kathy’s House of Horrors with all the scars to show for it. We’ll never know exactly what they endured, due to the Richards family code of omerta, but it sure did make them resent the fuck out of each other. Watching early RHOBH, one gets the feeling there’s a whole iceberg of stolen houses just waiting to surface.
2. Mary Zilba vs. Jody Claman vs. Ronnie Negus (Vancouver)
Have you ever woken up in a coffin full of broken glass, the last remnants of a psychoactive drug seeping out of your pores, only to panic at the sound of the lid being sealed shut by an electric drill? If you want to replicate that feeling, check out this trio’s two-season-long suite of psychological warfare. Our players? Mary: a soft-spoken narcissist and professional victim, a master of passive-aggressive manipulation, impossible to pin down. Ronnie: bitter and resentful enough to leverage two decades of grudges against her “best friend” Mary in order to humiliate her on television, an erratic enough attention-seeker to flip back to Mary’s side just to keep things interesting. Jody: the vessel for a centuries-old demon who feeds on human misery, a force of pure gleeful malevolence, a genuine sociopath. For 24 episodes, these women worked non-stop generating horrifying, baroque ways to ruin each other’s lives. A breathtaking well of sorrow and anger. Unmissable.
1. Jill Zarin vs. Bethenny Frankel (New York City)
It had to be them, didn’t it? There has never been a more engrossing, intoxicating, world-ending falling out than the one between Bethenny and Jill. In a season three with no shortage of conflict and heightened emotion, the tale of the destruction of the Zarin-Frankel friendship stood head and shoulders above the rest. When I write my opera, it will be about Bethenny and Jill. It will be called, And Am I a Cold Bitch? (I Didn’t Cry).