From New York City to Atlanta, Beverly Hills to New Jersey, the Real Housewives franchise has spread faster than a juicy piece of gossip. But who exactly was the first “housewife”? One of the original cast members of The Real Housewives of Orange County says she was the inspiration behind it all.
Jeana Keough, a real estate agent and mother of three living in the exclusive gated community of Coto De Caza, says the original concept for the show focused on her. “The producer, Scott Dunlop, wrote the show about my family,” Jeana says. “He was my next-door neighbor.”
Other women and their families were added to the mix, and a reality series was born. The Real Housewives of Orange County became a hit, which Jeana says had a lot to do with timing. “Back then, the writers’ strike was on, so we became hugely successful for lack of anything else on TV,” she says.
While ratings climbed, not everyone was a happy about the show. Watch why Jeana says her neighbors in Coto De Caza tried to have production shut down—and what they think of the series now.