TV & Movies

Why RHOP's Monique & Candiace Both Faced Second Degree Assault Charges

The aftermath of the fight will play out on Real Housewives of Potomac Season 5.

Paul Morigi/Bravo

Almost a year before The Real Housewives of Potomac Season 5 premiered on August 2, Candiace Dillard and Monique Samuels' drama had already made headlines. Bravo's cameras were reportedly rolling at an October dinner party when Candiace and Monique were involved in an alleged physical altercation, as fans saw teased in the RHOP Season 5 trailer. Although the context of what happened between Monique and Candiace will play out in the series, the network's first look at Season 5 indicated the incident will reverberate widely among the cast.

A source revealed to People in November that Monique allegedly grabbed Candiace by the hair and pulled her down. In complaints filed with Maryland's District Court of Montgomery County the following month, both women accused the other of second degree assault, according to the magazine. “The physical assault, humiliation and emotional distress have all been very painful and difficult for Candiace, as it would be for anyone attacked so viciously,” Candiace's attorney James L. Walker, Jr. said in a statement to People at the time. Meanwhile, Monique's attorney A. Scott Bolden told the publication that the claims were "completely one-sided, inaccurate and unwarranted."

By late December, however, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against both women. Court documents obtained by People indicated that the decision not to pursue charges was based on footage of the incident provided by Bravo, as well as interviews with Monique, Candiace, and multiple witnesses on the scene. In Maryland, assault in the second degree carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Judging by the RHOP Season 5 trailer, it seems the alleged incident's fallout will rock the entire cast. "We never thought as Black women we would be right here, but we are," Gizelle Bryant says in one scene, while appearing to tell Monique she "by no means" wanted to be near her in another. "We have been able to hold ourselves above the stereotype, and in five minutes, she took it away."

The women, who first became friends when Candiace joined RHOP in 2018, had a rocky Season 4, but appeared to repair their friendship by the time the reunion filmed. Monique told Candiace she looked at her "like a little sister" and wanted to move forward from what she called misunderstandings and lack of communication. “I know, I wish that I would have called you,” Candiace replied before the duo shared a tearful embrace.

As for what happened between then and Season 5, fans will have to tune in to get the full story.