On Tuesday, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah was indicted and arrested on charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering along with her “first assistant” Stuart Smith aka Stu Chainz. The indictment revealed that much of Shah’s opulent lifestyle—the head-to-toe couture, the constant beauty procedures, the over-the-top parties—was allegedly paid for by unknowing victims in a wide-reaching scheme. But according to Page Six, Shah’s home, the enormous Shah Chalet where half of Shah’s scenes were filmed, was also a front.
The Chalet, which Shah boasted about repeatedly, was apparently a rental. “Instead, the 9,420-square-foot home featured on the show is owned by the Texas-based real estate rental company, Univesco Inc.,” Page Six writes. Now in the world of normal people, a rental is a common occurrence. Home is where you hang your hat and all that other shit. But in the cutthroat world of the Housewives franchise, there are two things that need to be rock fucking solid to avoid the mockery of your castmates and the fanbase: your home and your marriage.
The marriage is of course flexible because the rate at which Housewives get divorced is slowly approaching 100 percent, but the house is truly everything. If you rent, like Tinsley Mortimer, then that needs to be clear and you need to own your rental status—as opposed to lying about it for absolutely no reason, like one Mrs. Karen Huger.
Although reflecting back on the show, a few small moments between Shah and her husband, Coach Shah, make a little bit more sense factoring in that the house was a rental. Firstly, Coach Shah and the two Shah sons were rarely in the home. This was mostly chalked up to Coach Shah always being away for work as an assistant coach at the University of Utah, where his oldest son was a linebacker. But in 2019 when the season was filmed, Utah only played seven away games, which wouldn’t account for how frequently Coach Shah and Young Shah Jr. were absent (I assume the youngest Shah was absent because he didn’t want to be on TV).
In a different scene where Coach and Jen Shah are recovering from a bad night out, Coach walks into what should be their shared bedroom and asks, “Can we visit for a minute?” Initially, I chalked this up to a colloquialism and thought nothing more, although the Housewives group chat I’m in saw it as a red flag. Was Coach barely living there because the house was just a showpiece?
Shah’s rental status, while a secret to some fans, was apparently not well kept in the Housewives multiverse. In February of last year, Brandi Redmond, a castmate from the Dallas franchise, claimed on her podcast that she knew for a fact that one of the SLC housewives was renting a house for filming because “they’re renting some friends of mine’s home.” This checks out because Univesco, the owner of the home, is a Texas-based business. According to Page Six, Shah heard this comment and clapped back, writing on Instagram that she owned four other homes and an apartment in New York adding later, “You want to come for me with your red hair and bullshit, come harder honey. You’re about to get a taste of SHAH SQUAD and I don’t mess around. PERIODT.”
Keep that same energy during the trial, Jennifer. I think you might need it.