‘RHOC’ Season 18 Updates: Alexis Bellino Returning & More You Need to Know

After much speculation, Alexis Bellino is confirmed to be returning to 'The Real Housewives of Orange County.' Here's everything we know about season 18.

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The future looks bright for The Real Housewives of Orange County. Season 17 of the long-running bravo series was called the show’s best season in years, due in part to Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson‘s epic returns. While fans expected the full cast to be back for season 18, Taylor Armstrong departed the show after appearing as a “Friend Of” on season 17. Taylor, an original cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, made Real Housewives history when she crossed over franchises.

Taylor is being replaced as a “Friend Of” by former cast member Alexis Bellino, who is dating co-star Shannon Beador‘s ex John Janssen. Drama!

Here is everything you need to know about RHOC season 18.

Some of the ‘RHOC’ season 17 cast (Photo: Randy Shropshire/Bravo)

RHOC Season 18 Premiere Date

RHOC will not return for season 18 until later in 2024. Filming began the week of January 22 and is expected to last until March or April. Since it takes several months to edit, don’t count on watching season 18 until the summer, at the earliest.

RHOC Season 18 Cast

The cast of RHOC season 18 has been all but confirmed. Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, Heather DubrowEmily Simpson, Gina Kirschenheiter, and Jennifer Pedranti are returning for season 18.

Alexis’ return to the franchise as a “Friend Of” was confirmed on January 24 by several news outlets, including Entertainment Tonight. Alexis was seen filming at a restaurant with Heather and Emily on January 23. She previously starred as a main cast member from seasons 5 through 8, exiting the franchise in 2013. Alexis is bound to bring drama in her return since she’s dating Shannon’s ex-boyfriend. Shannon and John broke up at the end of 2022.

After one season as a “Friend Of,” Taylor announced her exit from the franchise on November 29. “Loved spending time with the ladies of #RHOC and thankful I got to give the viewers an update on my life,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’ve made some real friendships that I cherish. Wishing the ladies all the best for season 18. P.S. Adding season 17 to my IMDb.”

Of all the full-time cast members, Heather’s return was the least guaranteed going into season 18. She had a rough go during season 17 and sparked speculation that she’d leave the show to join The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after she bought a house in Los Angeles. However, Heather made it clear that she wants to continue on RHOC.

“I am very grateful for this platform and so you know what? If they’ll have me back, I don’t see why I wouldn’t hold an orange,” she told E! News in September 2023.

Emily Simpson and Heather Dubrow on ‘RHOC’ (Photo: Casey Durkin/Bravo)

Emily did an interview on Access Hollywood‘s Housewives Nightcap in September 2023 and addressed whether or not Heather will come back to the show after the former actress threatened to quit the reality program during the cast trip to Mexico.

 “She’s never told me one way or the other if she is or not. I would think that she will,” Emily said. “First of all, that was a year ago and I do think that as women, as professionals, when you get to step back and analyze it and think about things, you realize that there are certain circumstances that aren’t normal when you’re all put together and it’s a pressure cooker and it’s hot and we’re tired and there’s no break and we haven’t eaten and I think when you step away from it, you do realize that this person overreacted, I overreacted, it’s a lot.”

Shannon Beador’s Legal Troubles

Shannon will undoubtedly have the most intriguing storyline on RHOC season 18, not just because of the Alexis and John relationship, but also because of her legal troubles. On September 16, Shannon made headlines after she drove her car into a residential property in Newport Beach, CA and “clipped” the house, per law enforcement sources. She then reportedly drove back on the road and parked her car in the middle of the street before getting out of the car with her dog. Authorities arrived at the scene shortly after, and Shannon “tried to act like she was taking a walk,” sources told TMZ. But the police knew she was at fault because she “appeared wasted,” according to the report.

Shannon Beador
Shannon Beador on ‘RHOC’ (Photo: Andrew Eccles/Bravo)

Shannon was taken into custody and booked for two misdemeanors, a DUI and a hit-and-run after her arrest, according to TMZ. She was reportedly cited and released without bond. The car she was driving was also reportedly seized by the police to be used in an investigation. The incident occurred over a week after the season 17 reunion filmed on September 7.

After the arrest, Shannon shared a public apology in a statement released by her lawyer, Michael Fell. “I spent quite a bit of time with Shannon yesterday. She is extremely apologetic and remorseful,” he said on September 18. “We will be awaiting the official information on this case as it becomes available, and Shannon is prepared to accept full responsibility for her actions.”

In November 2023, Shannon was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 40 hours of community service after pleading no contest to the DUI hit and run, according to CBS News. She reportedly agreed to plead no contest to misdemeanor DUI charges in return for the dismissal of a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge.