Slade Smiley and Gretchen Rossi Position for Real Housewives of Orange County Spin-off

It was reported way back in February that The Real Housewives of Orange County cast members Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley were engaged, so it seems rather odd that his proposal to her was just filmed by Bravo cameras for the final episode of season six, which won't premiere until January 2011.

However, it's not nearly as odd as the "catch" Rossi snagged.

Absurd to Sublime notes Smiley first appeared on season one as the "fiance" of Jo De La Rosa. Their relationship hit the rocks in season two, although Smiley went on to be De La Rosa's "music manager" in time for the release of her first song, "U Don't Own Me" (surely it's on your iPod). The couple went on to make up in front of the Bravo cameras. But then Smiley was briefly dating cast member Lauri Waring, who went on to marry developer George Peterson to end season three.

Confused? It gets worse:

De La Rosa and Smiley were featured in the first Bravo Housewives' spinoff: Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, which aired in 2008 . . . and failed miserably. Rossi, a then-31-year-old who joined the Orange County cast in season four, was engaged to Jeff Beitzel, who was in his early 50s and had been diagnosed with cancer. He died shortly after season four aired. Smiley turned up as Rossi's new love last season.

The gossip site tosses out the possibility that Smiley and Rossi (or their Bravo overlords) are positioning the "power couple"  for a spin-off of their own modeled after the successful Bethenny's Getting Married starring The Real Housewives of New York City's Bethenny Frankel.

But that would ignore Smiley's previous spin-off failure, his lack of popularity compared with other Bravo cast members and the fact that he is not quite "the catch" he has been made out to be. In the fall of 2009, Smiley filed court documents which stated:

  • His home was surrendered to the bank in March 2008;
  • He was fired from Land America on 5/16/2008;
  • He got a new "job" in June 2008 (Date My Ex: Jo & Slade);
  • He received an IRS notice on June 10, 2008, that said he owed $104,000 in unpaid taxes;
  • He then had his wages garnished by the IRS, leaving him with $172 a week;
  • He was employed in August 2008 by Union Security Title as a commission only sales rep;
  • He was fired by Union Security two months later;
  • His bank account was closed in March 2009;
  • He hadn't had an income for the past 13 months (a period during which, Absurd to Sublime notes, he lived with Rossi and asked her father if it was okay to ask for her hand in marriage);
  • He borrowed money from family members until they "could not lend him any more";
  • He surrendered his car in April 2009;
  • He was "currently living with a friend" (Rossi);
  • His IRS levy made it impossible to meet his child support obligations;
  • He was both "indigent" and "destitute."

Sounds like a winner, Gretch.


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