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Meghan Markle rejects ‘Real Housewives of Montecito’ idea: ‘There will be no reality show!’


During the final episode of her “Archetypes” podcast, Meghan Markle laughed off producer Andy Cohen’s idea of building a reality TV show around her called “The Real Housewives of Montecito.”

“There will be no reality TV show!” Meghan declared, after Cohen, the Bravo TV host and executive producer of the network’s “Real Housewives” franchise, joked in his “Archetypes” conversation with her that he’d create a show for her. “You don’t have to audition,” he said.

Cohen also told Meghan, a former TV actor, that there had actually been speculation that she and her husband, Prince Harry, would join the “Real Housewives” franchise after they left royal life and moved to California in 2020. “I was, like, folks that’s not happening!” Cohen said.

But as much as Meghan and Cohen humorously dismissed the idea of her and Harry becoming reality TV stars, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex are headlining a Netflix “docuseries,”  which begins airing Dec. 8, Page Six reported. Some media accounts have described the much-anticipated series as a “fly-on-the-wall,” reality TV-style depiction of the couple’s lives in Montecito, as they try to build their post-royal careers as media moguls and global philanthropists.

The Sussexes have repeatedly denied rumors that their Netflix series, for which they reportedly were paid tens of millions of dollars, would be a “reality show.” Meghan implied it would be more like a “historical documentary” that would offer a personal glimpse into their lives, telling New York magazine that it would tell “our love story.

Meanwhile, Meghan’s joking conversation with Cohen about her “Real Housewives” prospects was released two days after it was revealed that Harry allegedly has his own connection to the franchise.  Former “The Real Housewives of DC” star Catherine Ommanney claimed in an interview over the weekend that she had a passionate, month-long fling with Harry when he was 21 and she was 34.

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Ommanney told The Sun that she met Harry through mutual friends at a bar in London in May 2006. They flirted, went from one bar to another, and then ended up at a friend’s house, where he offered to make her a bacon sandwich.

“We started play fighting and I think we were wrestling on and off for about 15 minutes when I told him I needed to go home,” Ommanney said about the alleged encounter. “It was then that he lifted me by my waist off the floor and held me against the wall. He gave me the most incredible, passionate kiss I have ever had in my life.”

At the time, Ommanney was separated from her first husband while Harry was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Chelsey Davy. Ommanney told The Sun they went on a few dates, but the fledgling romance stopped once it got leaked to the media. They didn’t see each other again until a chance encounter at a 2009 polo match in Barbados.

“Without being arrogant, I think we both quite fancied each other even though he was way too young for me,” Ommanney said, adding that she nicknamed Harry “Baby” because he was fond of lollipops. “If he wasn’t a royal and was maybe 10 years older, he would be my perfect man.”

Ommanney said she was speaking up about the alleged affair because she doubted that she’d get a mention in Harry’s forthcoming memoir, “Spare,” which is due to be published in January.

Whatever happened with Ommanney and Harry, Meghan wrapped up her 12-episode Spotify podcast with conversations with three powerful men in media, asking them to share their thoughts on how they think women are depicted in culture. In addition to Cohen, Meghan talked to producer and director Judd Apatow and “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.

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While Meghan said the purpose of “Archetypes” was to give her and her female celebrity friends “space” to “investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back,” she decided, at the suggestion of Harry, to invite men to speak on her show. She said she wanted to “broaden the conversation.”

With Cohen, Meghan addressed criticism of the “Real Housewives” franchise, wherein each show follows the shifting personal dynamics of a group of women in different cities who are socially connected. Meghan noted that critics, including her friend Gloria Steinem, have faulted the show for fueling negative stereotypes of women being superficially attached to their appearances or of being in competition with one another.

“It’s a minstrel show for women,” Steinem told Cohen on his “Watch What Happens Live!” talk show.

But Meghan also played a clip of writer Roxane Gay saying that the “Real Housewives” shows are very “feminist” because they allow women to be “their truest selves,” with “messy” lives, “amazing friendships” and “everything in between.”

Cohen said the franchise wouldn’t have lasted for 16 years if it was just about “fighting and wine tossing.” He said people also  get something out of the shows when they see women helping themselves and one another out of bad marriages or times when they feel vulnerable. The “Real Housewives” also learn they can be over 50 and in touch with their sexuality or able to live on their own, without needing a man to “define them,” Cohen added.

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