Episode 16: In the ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ reunion finale, Utah coach Sharrieff Shah is a calming influence

But the issue of racism once again comes up in the 16th and final Season 1 episode.

(Photo courtesy of Heidi Gutman | Bravo) Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, Heather Gay, Andy Cohen, Jen Shah, Mary Cosby and Lisa Barlow at the "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" reunion.

Coach Sharrieff Shah calmed the troubled waters on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” before the conversation returned to who’s racist and who’s not.

The third and final part of the “RHOSLC” reunion — the 16th and final episode of Season 1 — features the five husbands: Jen Shah’s husband, Sharrieff; Whitney Rose’s husband, Justin; and Lisa Barlow’s husband, John, are in the studio, while Meredith Marks’ husband, Seth, and Mary Cosby’s husband, Robert Sr., are there via video links.

And Robert Sr. is “not at all” happy to be there. He says he was “very much” hesitant for Mary to be on the show “because I knew everything that’s happening right now was going to happen.” Mary says that’s not true.

Robert Sr. was, of course, married to Mary’s grandmother until her death. About two years later, he married Mary. He objects to people thinking “that we got married just for the money. Everything is money, money, money. And it’s not like that.”

And he’s angry that Jen (and others) have made references to Mary having sex with her grandfather or step-grandfather. “This granddaddy stuff is stupid,” Robert Sr. says. “I was 22 years old when I married Mama [Cosby]. Now, whose granddaddy was I? I wasn’t even anybody’s daddy yet. I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. It is very offensive for somebody to say. That’s hurtful.”

(Photo courtesy of Bravo) Sharrieff and Jen Shah on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

And Sharrieff, who’s an assistant football coach at the University of Utah, agrees with Robert Sr.

“I’m with Robert,” Sharrieff says, adding that he told Jen, “You are going to have to come from a very real place to seek a level of forgiveness and even personal cleansing so you can put some things behind you and maybe people will reciprocate. And if they don’t, put it in God’s hands and let it ride.”

“Will you be my coach?” asks host/executive producer Andy Cohen. “I need this guy.”

“The pep talks are pretty good, right?” says Jen.

Sharrieff says when he saw and heard his wife making those comments about the Cosby marriage, he told her. “You don’t talk about what they do. That was unacceptable. And my wife knows I was upset and hurt for that. I said we can’t degenerate to that kind of talk.”

Sharrieff apologizes directly to Robert Sr. “That’s not my wife,” he says. “That was in the heat of the moment. And that’s not an excuse. God willing, she’ll be better going forward because I believe in her. And, hopefully, she gets a chance to at least demonstrate who she really is.”

“You don’t have to worry about it,” Robert Sr. replies. “I see a double date in the future!” Andy says.

Later in the show, Jen apologizes to Robert Sr., who replies, “That’s OK. Don’t you worry about it, sis.”

So … maybe a real truce this time?

“The odd thing is,” Andy says, “had you not gotten off so poorly, you could see the two of you being friends.”

“I am in a place where I have to accept who people are, and I never gave her that chance,” Mary says, and Jen thanks her.

(Photo courtesy of Fred Hayes/Bravo) Heather Gay and Whitney Rose in “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

More talk of racism

After the husbands leave the stage, an argument between Heather Gay and Jen takes a turn when Jen points out how triggering it was when five of the Housewives visited a therapist/hypnotist in Las Vegas — and the woman repeatedly silenced Jen. Mary did not go on the trip.

“Mary would know. She’s a woman of color,” Jen says. “It means something different to be told, ‘Don’t talk.’” And Mary says she “would’ve got up and left” if she’d been in Jen’s position.

Jen said the incident “took me back, like, 30, 40 years. That’s [expletive] PTSD. People don’t understand.”

Andy asks what the other women have done to make her feel “marginalized.”

“Telling me I’m aggressive before things happen,” Jen says — and Whitney and Heather immediately jump in to tell her she’s wrong and aggressive.

“Telling a woman of color she’s aggressive and using these terms, it is very dangerous,” Jen says loudly. “You don’t know because you’re not in those shoes.”

There’s more arguing about the time Jen threatened to drown Whitney in the lake behind her house. Lisa points out that Whitney threatened to “smack” Jen, and that has not become an issue.

“There is a double standard,” Jen says. And Mary once again sides with Jen.

“You do get that vibe from Whitney and Heather,” Mary says. “I feel like it’s [inbred] that they’re better than women, people of color.”

”Like white girl privilege,” Heather says. “I get it. I know it exists. But like, you’re my girl. So, like, if that’s happening, let’s talk about it. Don’t make innuendo on Instagram.”

When Jen says she wants to “educate” Heather, Heather shoots back, “I don’t want you to educate me. But I don’t want you to slander me on social media, either.”

Heather is REALLY mad about stuff Jen posted on Instagram. It’s ugly. Whitney and Jen argue, and Whitney says, “I’m trying to tell you I’m trying to learn.”

Meredith interjects, “I don’t think that anybody here denies white privilege. I think we all know that it exists.” But the “real issue” is “that making an accusation to someone that they are racist, especially … in our current environment is a HUGE statement.”

“I didn’t want to get into this [expletive] because it is painful and you do not know,” Jen says, getting up and storming off the set.

Jen goes backstage and cries on Sharrieff’s shoulder, telling him the other women “don’t know how painful this [expletive] is. … This is what we’ve been fighting for so many years, and it’s in my own circle.”

“Some people can’t listen. Some people won’t listen,” Sharrieff says.

Whitney’s on the phone with her husband, who’s also backstage. “The racist accusation just came up,” she says. “I was the one being threatened and accused … so I’m just trying to understand how to swallow this one.”

Jen returns to the stage, and she’s calmed down.

“Coach Shah knows we’ve lived through this all. It’s very painful for our family and loved ones. And he just said, ‘Baby, not everybody understands it,’” Jen says. “I said, ‘I know.’ And if we’re going to have change, we have to, you know, just make people aware of it. And I’m not saying you guys are wrong. I’m just telling you why that hurts a person of color.”

She says she experienced that growing up in Utah. “But I just think the movement made it possible. … People were willing to listen more than they were before.”

“I learned a lot the past year,” Heather says. “I think a lot of people have. And I think it’s great. I think it’s good. And it needs to get better. And you know that I champion that. You know that I want to do whatever I can.”

(Photo courtesy of Fred Hayes/Bravo) Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, Lisa Barlow and Jen Shah in “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

Heather vs. Jen

It’s a pretty ugly episode for Heather all around. She’s openly aggressive toward both Lisa and Jen, and her face is dark and angry.

“When we’re together, we have a great time,” Heather says. “The hard part about Jen Shah is she is as fabulous as she is horrifying. … I want to be friends, but I don’t want to be friends under the terms of me just eating [expletive] all the time.”

“Well, that’s the thing is I feel like I’ve [eaten expletive],” Jen says.

“I’m sure you do,” Heather shoots back, “but you haven’t.”

She’s harboring huge resentment for “absolute horrific, horrible, mean, low blow things you said about me behind my back.” Things like, “She buys off the rack at Dress Barn. She thinks she’s an actress. The only role she’s going to get is that of a manatee or Shrek.’”


Whitney’s husband, Justin, says that he was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 10 years ago. “When you grow up Mormon, it’s the worst letter you can get,” he says.

“It’s my same story,” Heather says. “I might get a letter, too.”

But Justin seems to be over it. He and Whitney have “chosen to kind of take a different path” that’s “within just our own belief system.” And, he joked, it “probably would have been a little easier if there was a tithing rebate that came with that letter.”

Andy asks if divorce remains a big deal in Utah/the LDS Church and we get a revelation from Lisa — her husband, John, was married before he married her. And Andy is confused why John wasn’t excommunicated.

“We stepped outside of our temple covenants,” Whitney says. In other words, she and Justin were both married in the temple to other people when they began an affair with each other.

(Photo courtesy of Heidi Gutman/Bravo) Heather Gay and Andy Cohen in the "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" reunion.

Heather vs. Lisa

When Lisa points out that many of her family members have been divorced and that it’s not as big a deal in the LDS Church any more, Heather — who misses no opportunity to argue with Lisa — disagrees.

“I’m still married to my husband in the eyes of the church,” Heather says. And when Lisa tells her she can “cancel the sealing,” Heather shoots back, “I cannot cancel the sealing unless I have another worthy priesthood holder.”

(For not the first time, Heather is wrong about the church and its policies. It’s a bit complicated, but it is possible to cancel the sealing.)

Later in the show, Heather goes on the attack when she isn’t even part of the conversation. Lisa tears up when she talks about how affected she was by Meredith’s separation. As is generally the case, Heather makes it all about her and her divorce. “That’s what I feel, Lisa. That’s why divorce is a big deal to me,” she says, adding that Lisa “dismissed” her feelings about her divorce.

(If so, we didn’t see that in the show.)

“I didn’t dismiss it,” Lisa says. “I don’t have those kinds of conversations with you, Heather. I don’t have conversations about your divorce.”

Heather apparently wants Lisa to cry over her divorce the ways she cried over Meredith’s separation. It quickly turns ugly.

(Photo courtesy of Bravo) Steve Lesh is the father of Whitney Rose, who's one of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Whitney’s father

Whitney’s father, Steve, who’s battling an addiction to painkillers, made several appearances on the show. But she doesn’t know how he’s doing now because “currently, he’s not speaking to me.”

“We actually, after the show, had built back a very beautiful foundation and we were communicating very well,” Whitney says. “He came and saw me for my birthday and I never saw him again.”

“We’re all rooting for your dad,” Andy says.

(Photo courtesy of Bravo) Seth and Meredith Marks make decisions about their marriage in Episode 8 of "The REal Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Meredith’s marriage

Meredith is very prickly with Andy when he asks about the state of her marriage. It’s “fantastic,” she says, and when Andy presses her she says, “Why would I really openly discuss anything about my marriage with this group right now?”

She confirms what we already knew — Seth filed for divorce before filming began and withdrew that petition. “We’ve had a tumultuous marriage,” Meredith says.

And she surprises Andy by saying, “I think Seth and I would both agree that the show really did help save our marriage” because it forced them to “address things.” Seth agrees.

Asked if he dated other women while they were separated, Seth says, “Not really.” Andy doesn’t follow up on that non-answer.

Meredith vs. Jen

Meredith is still super angry at Jen for gossiping about her marriage. To hear Meredith tell it, it wasn’t the battles she had with Seth, it wasn’t the separations, it wasn’t Meredith dating other men that adversely affected her family — the really big problem was Jen talking about it.

“Can I ask you a yes or no simple question?” Meredith asks Jen, who agrees. “If I treated you the way you treated me, would you feel that I was a loyal friend to you? Yes or no?”

“No,” Jen says. “But it wasn’t just me. And I feel like you’re just blaming me. Because I was an easy target.”

It’s true that Heather, Whitney and Mary all gossiped about Meredith’s marriage, too. But Meredith seems mostly mad at Jen.

(Photo courtesy Fred Hayes/Bravo) Whitney Rose, Meredith Marks — in the mask — and Mary Cosby in "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Final thoughts

Andy asks the six Housewives to share “if there’s one thing that you’ve learned from watching yourself on this show.

Lisa: “I talk a lot, and I think I’m definitely going to work on listening more.”

Mary: “The way I say things can come across offensive or wrong. And I need to really kind of tune in more to how it’s expressed and conveyed and explained.”

Jen: “I need to work on my communication and making sure that my group of friends feel that they can come to me, trust me, and not feel threatened or afraid.”

Whitney: She needs to work on “my timing and delivery. I need to learn how to own my voice and speak clear and more confidently.”

Heather: “I hope that I can speak up and embrace everyone exactly where they are and not hold back.”

Oh, and Meredith apparently didn’t learn anything about herself. Her response to the question was, “I treated every single woman here with kindness and respect, and I do not feel that I was treated the same as what I gave. And it’s disappointing.”

She lists the apologies she’s received, adding, “but apologies don’t make things just go away. And I will forgive everyone because that’s for me. I have to move forward.”

Reportedly, filming has already begun on Season 2 of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” And there are reports that there will be cast changes … but no confirmation.