Real Housewives of Auckland: drama spills off-screen
The first episode of The Real Housewives of Auckland hasn't even gone to air, but the reality show's drama has already spilled into real life.
While most cast members are friendly with each other, and genuine friendships have been formed, fashion stylist Angela Stone and former model Michelle Blanchard don't speak.
An argument between the pair early in the series, which goes to air on Monday, has escalated in the past three months, with the other Housewives awkwardly caught in the middle.
At a promotional lunch with media at Auckland's Oyster and Chop restaurant, the warring pair stayed at opposite ends of the room. When they were brought together for a Housewives group photo outside, they exchanged words.
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Gilda Kirkpatrick, who has sided with Blanchard in the simmering feud, walked away in apparent disgust. Stone was whisked away to another appointment, while a visibly upset Blanchard stood her ground but was later comforted at the table by Louise Wallace and Kirkpatrick.
It would seem that former broadcaster Wallace has become the group's designated peacemaker. Champagne importer Anne Batley Burton and businesswoman Julia Sloane stayed clear of the fray.
The first episode of the programme, about the day-to-day life of a group of Auckland's most privileged women, features a nasty argument between Stone and Blanchard.
The argument provides the episode's dramatic climax and a story arc for the series.
Despite the drama — onscreen and off — both Sloane and Wallace said they would miss the programme once final filming concluded. Stone said she had "no regrets".
Also at the lunch were TV personality Dominic Bowden, radio DJs Polly Gillespie and JayJay Feeney and assorted journalists.