This season of the “Real Housewives of New York City” features one new cast member, Leah McSweeney.
Or are there two newbies on the block?
Elyse Slaine, described only as “Ramona’s friend” in on-screen captions, has made appearances on almost every episode since the 12th season kicked off in April.
“This whole thing happened by accident. I never auditioned to be on the show,” Slaine told an Us Weekly podcast. “I was just catching up with Ramona [Singer] and the two girls she was filming with in the first episode. The producers put a microphone on me and said ‘Get in there.’ So I did.”
Apparently, the Bravo team liked her appearance. “They invited me back again. They just sort of kept inviting me, so I just sort of kept showing up whenever I could,” said Slaine, 56. “Then eventually, they gave me a contract.”
Slaine’s roots go deep with some of the other “RHONY” cast members. In that same Us interview, she claimed to have been the person who introduced former show stars Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel.
“I have history with Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, Bethenny Frankel, Sonja Morgan, Dorinda Medley and Heather. Luann de Lesseps and I have crossed paths many times, but I wouldn’t say we were ever friends. I’m actually closest with Leah now,” Slaine told celebrity news site All About the Tea.
She’s been referred to as a “femme fatale” and “one of Wall Street’s ‘most fascinating first wives.’ ” “I was a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald,” she told the blog. “I started my career as a financial journalist at Reuters, and now I day trade.”
In 2009, Slaine’s ex-husband David, a Galleon Group hedge fund employee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud. The two have a 24-year-old daughter, Nicole.
She moved on to date Donald Drapkin, chairman of Casablanca Capital, though they split in 2014. While together, the couple purchased a three-bedroom duplex at 700 Park Ave. for $4.2 million, which she reportedly kept after the split, according to Page Six.
That year, protesters flocked outside her home after her housekeeper of 15 years, Marichu De Sesto, accused Slaine of firing her for requesting time off for medical appointments.
“Ms. De Sesto quit — she was not fired — after being told that she could not take off a weekend that she had previously agreed to work,” a spokesperson for Slaine said at the time.
Drapkin died in 2017 following a skiing accident, and Slaine sued his children for trying to stop her from keeping the Park Avenue apartment. The case was dismissed months later.
She married Reinhold Gebert, an executive at Teza Capital Management, in 2018.
Slaine, who does not have a cast bio on the “RHONY” website, apparently has been taken aback by viewers’ online comments. “Reading some of these comments … a few of you are mean enough to get an Apple,” she wrote on Twitter in early May, referencing a comment Singer made about de Lesseps’ friend Barbara Kavovit, who, like Slaine, made appearances on the show last season.
“She’s just a friend, so she’s not a new housewife. They’re not giving her an apple or anything,” Singer said at the time.
So far on the show, Slaine’s made some waves, such as calling Morgan an “accessory” to her ex-husband, John Adams Morgan. “I was a partner with my husband,” an apparently intoxicated Morgan yelled back. “You know me — why are you saying that?”
Slaine pops up in several not-yet-aired scenes in the expletive- and shout-filled Season 12 trailer, so expect to see more of her as the season goes on.
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