“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast member Meredith Marks is not, she insists, comfortable sharing her personal life with others.
“I am a very private person,” she told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t disclose a lot to a lot of people — to friends, to family. I really keep a lot of things very tightly wound up for myself.”
Which begs the question — why did she agree to become one of the “Real Housewives”?
“I felt like doing this would be a huge growth experience for me personally,” Meredith said. “It’s a lot because you’re letting the world into your private life, and that’s daunting, to say the least.”
That would be true for anyone, even if their personal life was proceeding without a hitch. But Meredith agreed to be on “RHOSLC” at a time when she and her husband were struggling.
In Episode 2, we learned that the couple is separated when Meredith’s husband, Seth, raised the “elephant in the room” while they were having dinner at Handle in Park City. As it turns out, Seth — citing irreconcilable differences — filed for divorce in Illinois in August 2019.
He withdrew the petition in December, about the time of events seen in Episode 1 of “Real Housewives.” And they’ve been informally separated multiple times since they married in 1996.
[Listen to The Tribune’s Real Housewives podcast: ‘The Weekly Housewives Watch’: A Snow Mountain of Trouble]
They’re not talking about where the marriage stands today, almost a year since Seth withdrew the divorce petition and eight months after filming ended — that would be a spoiler. But in a recent interview with The Tribune, Meredith did say that “my husband has been very supportive” — present tense — “for the most part” of her decision to sign on to the show.
In the most recent episode of “RHOSLC,” Meredith said that “over the years” her marriage “just broke down. We moved many times. We kind of were uprooted and I was trying to start my [jewelry design] company. He was running his business. We had the three kids. There was just no communication and hostility built and built and built. And we just sort of got totally overwhelmed that we really just were completely disconnected.”
And that’s going to play out over the season of “Real Housewives.”
“I would definitely say Meredith’s story is one to watch out for,” said fellow cast member Whitney Rose, “because she opened up her life on camera. Obviously, Meredith and Seth will go through a journey.”
In Episode 2, Seth said he’s not dating anybody else, but Meredith stayed mum on that subject, fueling rumors that she is. (Rumors that other Housewives will spread in upcoming episodes.) And, Meredith admitted, there were parts of being on the show that were “very difficult in a lot of ways and very trying in a lot of ways. But it really made me analyze and think about my life and the way I communicate and the way I engage with other people — friends, family, everybody.
“Of course, you’re going to have moments when you’re, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hate this.’ But for the most part, in retrospect, it was very, very positive for me.”
Her children also supported her decision to be on the show. Viewers met 21-year-old Brooks in Episode 1 — he’s taking a semester off from New York University and living in Park City with his mother while his father spends most of his time working in Ohio. Chloe Marks, 18 — who attends the University of Colorado in Boulder — visits in Episode 3. Their oldest son, 23-year-old Reid, lives and works in New York and may not be seen in Season 1.
The Marks family first moved to Utah in 2013, when Seth took a job at Overstock.com as vice president of sales and special acquisitions; a year later, he was promoted to senior vice president of merchandising and strategic sourcing.
His resume is filled with positions in marketing, retailing and acquisitions at companies like Big Lots and Tuesday Morning. He’s currently the CEO of IE Retail Ventures, which is based in Massillon, Ohio.
Meredith said her family is her No. 1 priority, but her jewelry design business — including her store on Main Street in Park City — is No. 2.
“I am a workaholic. I’m obsessed with what I do. I’m trying not to work seven days a week anymore, but it’s not going that well,” she said with a laugh. “... I’m compulsive about it.”
She’s sold her jewelry designs online at meredithmarks.com, at stores like Nordstrom and in her own store in Park City. That’s one of the reasons she accepted the offer to join the “Real Housewives” cast — the show would provide “great exposure of my store on Main Street, and I just thought it’d be fun. I thought — let’s give it a go. Why not? You only live once.”
And producers were looking for women who operate their own successful companies.
“I want to see other women inspired to start their businesses,” Meredith said. “I’m very supportive of other women. So if I could put anything out there, it would be family first, business second and helping other women in business or in life in general. I hope that I can inspire people through them seeing my struggles. We’re growing and we’re getting better and we’re learning from our struggles.”
Her struggles on the show aren’t just with her husband. She’s about to get caught up in the middle of the feud between Jen Shah and Mary Cosby.
“My group is very volatile, and you will see it,” Meredith said.
She said she has no regrets about Season 1 of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but, at the same time, it’s too early for her to decide if it was worth it.
“Ask me in six months,” Meredith said with a laugh. “Then I’ll give you the true answer.”