Throughout Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Jen Shah maintained her innocence after being accused of wire fraud and targeting the elderly, but in the Jan. 11 season finale, she shocked her co-stars by pleading guilty to the charges she was facing. In real time, we already know Jen was sentenced to six and half years in prison for her crimes, but on the show, Heather Gay and Lisa Barlow were still trying to wrap their heads around the surprising plea news.
The season initially wrapped production after Heather’s book reveal party, but three months later, Jen traveled to NYC with Heather and Meredith Marks for some pre-trial hearings, so producers and cameras followed. It was then and there that Jen and her husband, Sharrieff, discovered who would be testifying during her trial, as well as what they’d be saying. And apparently, it spooked Jen so much that she changed her plea from innocent to guilty. Or at least that’s what Heather thought.
After Heather learned of Jen’s guilty plea and returned home from NYC, she met up with Lisa for lunch and they discussed what had happened. But first, they made sure to order some crab cakes, burrata and two Vida cocktails! After they placed their order, however, all talk was about Jen and her guilty plea.
“I have so many questions,” Lisa said. “It feels so surreal. Yesterday, I felt like the gamut. I was angry, I was sad, confused, I’m like, ‘Wow… this is who she is.’ This is a bad [and] awful thing she’s done.”
And Heather agreed. “I am overwhelmed with grief. Grief that we are in this situation, that there [are] victims, that our friend is going away for a decade, and she has a 16 year old [son].”
Lisa then asked Heather, “When you read what she said [in her guilty plea statement], what did you feel?”
“Shock,” Heather said. “What she pled guilty to is so bad. And that fact that she’s taken it this far and gone for this long and proclaimed her innocence, and now — I can only think she did it and thought she was going to get away with it. And then when she realized she didn’t get away with it, her story changed.”
Lisa said she “didn’t want to believe any of it”, and Heather said Jen pleading guilty was “the last thing” she expected. Then, when Lisa asked Heather why she thinks Jen decided to give up on fighting the charges, she said, “This is a theory… I think that Coach discovered what Jen was doing, and that it was impossible to explain away. And then in that 3500 with all the witness statements and witnesses, there was something that they could not get out of [or refute]. And it was a smoking gun that said, ‘OK, the gig is up. You have to walk in there. You have to say you did these things. You have to go to prison for a decade.’ And I’ll tell you right now. If my husband knew about it, and my husband was involved, and he said, ‘There you go, sis. I’ll take care of the boys. I’ll see you in 15 years,’ that to me… is a whole other tragedy. I think she did it. I think she did it, and she’s choking on the words and doesn’t want to say it. It’s too big and the penalties are too big.”
“It’s a lot,” Lisa said as tears welled up in her eyes.
Want more drama? The Season 3 reunion for RHOSLC starts next Wednesday at 8pm ET on Bravo.