Viewers first met Noella Bergener as a friend of now former Real Housewife Braunwyn Windham-Burke.
This past June, the world learned that Noella Bergener was cast on RHOC for Season 16.
Around that same time, Noella learned some troubling news: her husband was massively in debt, and she didn’t learn it from him.
With millions on the line and a lien against her house, Noella is seeking a divorce.
Noella married her husband, attorney “Sweet James” Bergener, in June of 2020.
He is the founder of Sweet James Accident Attorney, a law firm specializing in cases involving personal injuries that stem from car accidents.
Season 16 began filming one year later, in June of this year.
That same month, Noella learned that James is massively in debt — specifically, tax debt.
Shortly before filming began for her first season as a Full Housewife, Noella discovered a tax lien against her house.
Between the state of California and the IRS, James reportedly owes $5.8 million.
Debt can happen to anyone, and tax debts specifically often happen to financially struggling single moms or to people who lose everything in new business ventures.
It is hard to say how James, an apparently successful attorney, came to be in this predicament.
But while going into debt like this can be frightening and embarrassing, the real issue here is the honesty factor.
According to Noella, James did not tell her about this debt — which one assumes must have existed before the two married.
“I was just as shocked and disgusted to find out a week before filming, and not from my husband,” Noella wrote on Instagram in July.
“My marriage has been a fight every day since,” she admitted.
“I am being very open about my journey,” Noella continued at the time.
“And,” she added, “looking at every option to settle my husband’s debts.”
That almost sounded like a couple planning to air their struggles and move on, but that is not the case.
On August 2 of 2021, Noella filed for formal legal separation from James.
The 36-year-old Real Housewife cited irreconcilable differences.
Last month, in November, she filed for divorce, requesting spousal support, legal fee payment, and for primary custody of their 2-year-old son.
This is sad — both because of this financial predicament and because of how Noella
Many American families grapple with debt, particularly if there are medical issues, and the pandemic has made that situation that much worse.
In this case, though, the primary issue is clearly the dishonesty and the betrayal. Noella should not have found out the way that she did.
Partners who are marrying and linking their finances must disclose things that people who are dating do not necessarily need to.
For example, a DUI — even one from years before — can dramatically alter what someone is paying for car insurance.
Hiding that from your partner might seem harmless if it’s no longer a problem, but that will change when you are filing for insurance together.
On the positive side, Noella is already making an impression with viewers.
She is a tall, beautiful woman who was interesting enough to keep on the show even when her Housewife friend was not invited back.
Heather Dubrow may pride herself on her home, but Noella has a sex dungeon. Goals.
We wish Noella the very best. We are sure that she has a lot of painful struggles ahead of her.
She also could be looking at several years as a Real Housewife, especially as the fallout from this divorce plays out.
Bravo doesn’t pay new Housewives the massive sums that seasoned stars make, but it sure can’t hurt to have money and fame.