REALITY CHECK

Luann and Tom: The Death of a Real Housewife’s Marriage

Real Housewife ‘Countess Luann’ announced the end of her marriage on Thursday, bringing the curtain down on one of the most ill-starred relationships in ‘Real Housewives’ history.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

The Real Housewives taglines, wild and many times silly as they are, are also harbingers for events of that season of the hardy Bravo franchise… both for good and ill.

“The only title I’d trade Countess for is wife,” was “Countess Luann’s” tagline this season on Real Housewives of New York—because the only storyline Luann de Lesseps had this season was her glaze-eyed joy in marrying Tom D’Agostino.

It felt like she was on repeat every episode. It also had the distant ring of possible disaster.

On Thursday, it was announced that Luann and Tom are no more, and so another Housewives marriage hits the cobbles like a felled Louboutin—this one, at just seven months old, far quicker than most.

"It's with great sadness that Tom & I agreed to divorce," Luann wrote on Twitter. "We care for each other very much, hope you respect our privacy during this sad time!" (Her @handle is CountessLuann; her given Twitter name is Luann D’Agostino.)

A Real Housewife desiring privacy is a unique concept in itself; fans of the various franchises know that its participants are far from fading flowers insisting, Garbo-like, on being left alone.

Hardly anything is left unsaid, hardly anything is left unseen—as RHONY’s riotous trip to Mexico these last few weeks has shown. Last night, the blurring function of the camera, so we could not see vaginas and breasts, was on overdrive.

The Daily Mail reported that Luann had found out that Tom had cheated on her with two women, with Ramona Singer (like Sonja Morgan, another ex of his; Tom denied ever dating either… keep up) showing her a photograph of him kissing another woman.

He wasn’t prepared to give up his bachelor life, one source told the Mail, which is kind of weird as he literally had done exactly that by getting married to Luann. Men and labels, eh?

A “source close to D’Agostino,” denied to the Mail that he had gone off to meet an ex on a recent trip to the Hamptons with Luann.

Even so, ouch, ouch and ouch. Fiction and reality absurdly blur on the Housewives shows, and this stings more than many of those moments given we have all seen Luann’s resolute focus on making the relationship and marriage work, despite everyone else rolling their eyes at it, and her Pollyanna-ish optimism.

Whatever the relentless madnesses of RHONY, this is genuinely sad because Luann genuinely believed in this marriage, and in making it work.

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Her and Tom’s relationship wasn’t as hideously dysfunctional—on camera, at least, as was Real Housewife of Orange County Vicki Gunvalson’s with onetime paramour Brooks, who allegedly faked having cancer—but it was still a bizarre watch.

As fans of RHONY will recall, the first time Luann found out he had done something similar, it was Bethenny Frankel who had shown her photographic proof.

That hadn’t stopped the wedding. But despite Luann’s determined sunniness about the union, the stars above shone dimly on this union from the start.

The other women, having begged her to reconsider marrying Tom in the first place—after he was seen kissing a woman in a bar—had, since Luann’s marriage, taken to begging her to shut up if she embarked on one of her many moony riffs in Tom’s favor.

Luann paraded her love as a constant victory lap, a defiance against the naysayers who said her husband-to-be, then husband was faithless, and likely to make her unhappy.

By the time the women went to Mexico for their mini-break of Frankel-branded tequila quaffing, swimming pool nudity, and accidental self-stabbings by knife, it was only Luann’s declaration of love for Tom that had them all on one side begging her to shut up.

Then, in a tease for next week’s finale, we saw intimations of a leopard not changing its spots; Tom at a party telling a female fellow guest that he should de-mike to talk to her. It sounded as if something suspect was going on, as his new wife stood on the other side of the room.

Last night, during Watch What Happened Live and before the announcement of the split, Frankel wouldn’t be drawn on the state of Luann and Tom’s marriage; a reticence that while polite and decent was in stark contrast to her begging of Luann not to marry the guy after she was told about his canoodling with someone else. After the pair had married, Frankel told Andy Cohen, she had decided to stay out of it.

After today’s marital breakdown announcement, the other women are being suspiciously lovely.

"I told Luann I'm there for her whether this worked out or not and here I am. Men come and go, and at the end the day, we have our girlfriends, don't we?" Sonja Morgan told E! News. "I wanted it to work out, but I want her to know I'm here for her."

Ramona Singer, last seen weeping in a swimming pool about her various misdemeanors towards Frankel (and wow, did a naked Bethenny want to bleed an apology from her!), told E!, "My heart breaks for her. Luann went into this wanting to make it work. I've never seen her happier."

Dorinda Medley, who was the only cast member Luann had invited to her wedding with Tom, said, "It's always sad when a marriage doesn't work out. I wish the best for both of them." (A far cry from last night while she slurred drunken insults at Frankel, and left herself with a mysteriously bleeding hand in the process.)

Tinsley Mortimer, the newest member of the cast and whose storylines revolve around her romancing younger men and living with her judgey, likely-tabloid-leaking chatelaine Morgan, said: "My heart goes out to Luann during this difficult time. In life, some people think that it's holding on that makes one strong; however, sometimes it's letting go."

It was a heartening outbreak of sisterhood we rarely see on RHONY.

But any fan of knows that all it takes is two shots of Skinny Girl Vodka or Ramona’s Pinot Grigio for the “I told you so’s” and worse to start flying. This, we predict, will happen next season during a disastrous evening out—the ladies specialize in no other kind.

And, of course, this inevitability is testament to another Real Housewife golden rule: secrets to be aired must be kept for taping!

The evening will likely end with the Countess getting up and saying she just can’t believe she isn’t getting the support she needs, Sonja trying to fondle any pair of nearby breasts, Dorinda waving her arms like a windmill, shouting, “I know YOU Bethenny Frankel,” and Ramona draping herself on the nearest baffled businessman while insisting that the labels of her branded wine are directly in the camera’s lens.

Some things are most definitely more important than men.