‘RHOSLC’ Reunion Recap: Heather Gay & Lisa Barlow Reveal Why They Think Jen Shah Pleaded Guilty

Plus, Heather Gay revealed which 'RHOSLC' cast member gave Jen Shah money to help her fight the charges in court.

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The husbands made an appearance in Part 2 of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion on Feb. 1, but it was all the talk about Jen Shah that captivated us the most. It all started when Andy Cohen asked the ladies whether they thought the show affected the way Jen handled her legal situation. Heather Gay answered first by saying that since Jen was arrested on the show, her reality was probably “muddled” and she may have gotten confused about what was real and what wasn’t. Whitney Rose and Lisa Barlow also suggested that she “became idolized because of it”, and it “fed her ego a lot”.

Andy then put Meredith Marks in the hot seat and asked her why she wasn’t surprised by her arrest in Season 2, but then “blindly stood by her” throughout Season 3. “How do you justify that now that she’s pled guilty?” Andy asked Meredith, but Meredith said irregardless of how she pleaded, she’s “still a human being” and she will “always root for the underdog”. But that obviously didn’t answer Andy’s question because he wasn’t asking Meredith why she was defending Jen, he was asking her why she was defending Jen after going so hard for her in Season 2.

Meredith also said on camera at the end of Season 3 that if Jen ended up being guilty, she would have a really big problem with that. Footage showed her saying it, but when Andy asked her about it, she tried downplaying what she previously said and explained that she’d just have to try and “understand” it all, but since she hadn’t had a conversation with Jen yet, and Jen wasn’t yet sentenced at the time of filming the reunion, she didn’t want to speculate much further.

Whitney then jumped in and asked Meredith how she went from accusing Jen from stealing things from her store during Season 2 to being BFFs with her in Season 3, and that’s when Meredith told everyone that she learned of Jen’s suicide attempt “months before” it was revealed on camera. So instead of attacking Jen all season long or questioning her innocence, she chose to remain neutral. Especially after what she had experienced with her nephew and his own suicide attempt prior to Season 3. “With what I went through [already], I wasn’t playing with that,” an emotional Meredith told the group.

The statement silenced the group, but Andy didn’t back down. He reminded Meredith that her comments about questioning her friendship with Jen (in the Season 3 finale) came after the suicide attempt was revealed, so her reasoning didn’t make a lot of sense. Meredith finally admitted that she does “have an issue” with the whole situation, but “on the flip side” she doesn’t think Jen “should die”. Andy said he never suggested that Jen “should die” — he was just trying to understand her back-and-forth stance on Jen.  But Meredith brought up her nephew’s suicide attempt again, shed some tears (or pretended to), and said she “didn’t care” if anyone wanted to question her actions.

Lisa accused Meredith of “rewriting history” since she was seen gloating after Jen’s arrest, and telling their formate cast mate, Mary Cosby, that she wasn’t surprised by the situation at all. But Meredith tried deflecting and saying she wasn’t in the right state of mind then because of what happened with her nephew, and she had “no support” from Lisa or her other friends during that time.

Meredith went on to say she refused to speak on Jen’s innocence or guilt, but Andy told her that’s “weird” considering how vocal she was about it in Season 2. “I think it’s wild,” he said.

What’s even wilder is after the cast wondered why Jen would even join a show like RHOSLC, if she was running a telemarketing scheme, Meredith revealed that the sealed indictment was on the same day that Andy announced the show at BravoCon in Nov. 2019. So the investigation was already well underway, but Jen didn’t know about it.

Andy then brought up speculation about Coach Sharrieff Shah‘s potential involvement in Jen’s illegal activities, and Whitney said it’s “possible” he had knowledge of it all. Heather said she “doesn’t know the first thing about their relationship”, and even though she hinted at his possible involvement in the season finale, she now says, “I don’t know anything anymore.”

So why did Jen plead guilty then? Heather said, “I really think it was [a] financial [reason] and they saw something [in the court documents and said], ‘Listen, it’s not worth rolling the dice because it’s going to be so expensive and if it’s not a clear win, we can’t risk it.'” Jen told Heather the costs of trail were “astronomical” and even just getting copies of transcripts cost $2,000 per day. “They solicited friends for money,” Heather said before adding, “People on this couch [gave them money].” Everyone looked shocked and started wondering who she was referring to, but Heather clarified that she meant Angie Harrington, who was on the couch earlier during the reunion. Heather claimed Jen and Coach asked Angie and her husband for the money, so they gave it to them. And then Whitney wondered whether that’s why Jen got over the “Shahxposed” drama “went away so quick”.

Whitney and Lisa said they were also asked to give money, but they “couldn’t do that” to their families. Lisa said her legal counsel also advised against it.

Heather went back to saying that she thinks Jen pleaded guilty because of the financial strain the trial was causing, and Lisa said she believes Jen pleaded guilty because “a text she sent [her former assistant] Stu basically incriminated her”.

“I assumed it was something like a smoking gun,” Heather added. “They dropped one charge and she pled guilty to conspiracy, which means she had knowledge of what was going on.” But even though Heather believes Jen truly took part in the telemarketing scheme, she doesn’t think it’s right to be “mean” to her.

After the reunion taped, Jen was sentenced to six and half years in prison — she’ll surrender herself on Feb. 17.