'Real Housewives' Villains Fans Secretly Loved

by Marenah Dobin
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I know that I'm not supposed to like the villains when I watch Real Housewives, but sometimes I just can't help it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt this way. In fact, there are a lot of Real Housewives villains who viewers have secretly loved.

Sure, I'm using the word "love" pretty loosely here. Some these are villains who the viewers just "loved to hate," but love is love. Some of these ladies are mean, catty, and whatever other negative adjective you might want to throw in there, but they were entertaining. On Real Housewives, the villains are the ones who drive the story lines that viewers actually care about.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of villains that I just don't like, but it really takes a lot for me not to like a Real Housewife. I feel like there's something likable about almost all of them, even the "mean" ones.

And here's another important thing to keep in mind: If someone is on the show long enough, she is likely to be portrayed as a villain for a least one season. Pretty much everyone gets a turn in that role.

These are some of my favorites, and I bet that some of them are secretly loved by other viewers, as well.

1. Kenya Moore

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I am fully aware that Kenya has been a polarizing presence on Real Housewives of Atlanta, but she does bring a lot of good things to the table: She throws masterful shade, she's a good friend to Cynthia Bailey and Kandi Burruss, and she has shown her vulnerable side by revealing her family struggles. Why hate on Kenya when she gives so many reasons to love her?

2. Danielle Staub

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At this point, Real Housewives of New Jersey is essentially the Teresa Giudice Show, but if you really think about it, Danielle Staub is the one who put this show on the map. Whether you loved her (like I always have) or you love to hate her, we all have to thank her for getting this show off to a good start. Danielle provided the opposition that we needed to make things interesting. Plus, she was always up to something crazy. She was the original queen of controversy in New Jersey, and if it wasn't for her angering Teresa, we wouldn't have that iconic table flip from the Season 1 finale.

3. Camille Grammer

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Most of us hated Camille Grammer during the first RHOBH season. She constantly talked about wanting her own identity outside of her marriage, yet she also constantly talked about her husband, in addition to feuding with Kyle Richards. Season 2 brought us a single Camille who was level-headed, humble, and a kickass dancer. She made that first season iconic for the viewers and now we are all begging for her to come back after her transformation from the mean one to the woman we are all rooting for.

4. Kelly Dodd

To be honest, I didn't like Kelly when she first joined RHOC. I felt like she was a little much and this is saying a lot since I am a little much. Her jokes were lame, she had a strong personality, and she had a lot of opinions about the group dynamic even though she was the new one. But after Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, and Heather Beador ganged up on her in Ireland, I could not help feeling for Kelly. I wanted to give her a hug, and now I'm ready to give her a second chance during her second season. It really does seem like she's a good person deep down.

5. Kim DePaola

The Notorious Kim D. was never a Housewife, but she always showed up to stir the pot and garner publicity for her clothing store, Posche. Every time Kim D. appeared on screen, I knew the action was set to go from zero to 100 on RHONJ. It's very obvious that Kim is an attention seeker who is willing to align with any Housewife who gets camera time, but at least she owns it and she makes the viewers laugh in response to her antics.

6. Vicki Gunvalson

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There is a reason why Vicki is the only original Housewife left in the franchise: She is resilient. Just when you think Vicki is down for the count, she finds some way to come back. She has always been relevant and always will be relevant. Love her or hate her, RHOC is the Vicki Gunvalson Show. She always brings the drama and I am grateful for that.

7. Kelly Bensimon

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To be honest, Kelly was tough to watch on Real Housewives of New York sometimes. A lot of the time, I just never understood what she was saying or where she was coming from, and I was so done with her when she came for Bethenny Frankel by saying she's above her. Then, of course, there was the infamous Scary Island trip. Still, Kelly provided some iconic gifs, memes, and episodes. Even though I was never #TeamKelly, I ultimately loved what she brought to the show.

8. Kim Zolciak

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There were plenty of reasons to root against Kim on RHOA. She was open about her desire to be with a rich man, bragged about dating a mysterious man called "Big Poppa," and feuded with Season 1 golden girl NeNe Leakes. With time, I grew to appreciate Kim's comedic relief that she brought to the show and ultimately she was pretty harmless in comparison to the other franchise villains.

9. Ramona Singer

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Ramona has argued with everyone in the RHONY cast, but it's just so easy for them (and the viewers) to forgive her. I mean, she is known as "The Apologizer." There is just something so endearing about Ramona and it always comes into play right when you're so done with her.

10. NeNe Leakes

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At first, NeNe was my absolute favorite on RHOA. She was fun, sassy, and said what we were all thinking. Then she became a star and had way too much of an ego. She really acted like she was way better than the show that made her famous and she ended up being pretty mean to her enemies on the show. Still, I find myself living for it when NeNe returns and throws shade at the world. I would love for her to come back.

11. Tamra Judge

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Tamra was a breath of fresh air when she first joined RHOC, but now it's just tough watching her nasty battles with Vicki and Kelly. Nevertheless, Tamra is one of the few people who always has a story line. From getting into fitness, to finding Jesus, to getting her implants adjusted constantly, Tamra does make the show interesting.

12. Jacqueline Laurita

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Originally, Jacqueline was the sweetheart of RHONJ. Then things got way out of hand in regard to her feuds with Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga. But here's the thing: If it wasn't for Jacqueline, everyone would be getting along and I would be bored to death. Plus, Jacqueline says the most quotable things when she's arguing. Unfortunately, Jacqueline recently announced she would be leaving the show. Here's hoping she still makes some cameos.

13. LeeAnne Locken

The first Real Housewives of Dallas season was centered around the ladies fighting with LeeAnne Locken. And thanks god for her. There were no story lines that didn't have to do with her. She made the show.

14. Dorit Kemsley

I wasn't feeling Dorit when she first showed up on RHOBH. I questioned the authenticity of her accent and I hated her for coming for my girl Erika Jayne, but she's grown on me. There are some good things about Dorit. She has super cute kids, she defended Kim Richards, she's a loyal Lisa Vanderpump soldier, and she has versatile hairstyles.

15. Lisa Vanderpump

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I feel a little weird including LVP on this list for a few reasons. First off, I am afraid of her wrath and I don't want to talk against her. Second, I'm only including as a "villain" because Lisa Rinna tried to characterize her as one last season. LVP persevered and now Rinna is seriously struggling. You can't not love Lisa Vanderpump. Even when she's throwing shade or using "British humor" to insult people, she does something right after to show how big of heart she has for the causes she is passionate about. She just doesn't have that big a heart for some of her castmates...

Love them, hate them, love to hate them, there are actually so many great Real Housewives villains that I can't help being a fan of. Here's hoping we get more great villains for years to come.