The Real Housewives of Washington White House Scandal Explained

This week, a slew of Bravo shows began airing on Peacock, including the short-lived "The Real Housewives of DC," which debuted in 2010 and lasted just one season. Even if you didn't see it in its heyday, you've almost certainly heard of it.

Months before the show premiered, actor Michaele Salahi and her then-husband, Tareq Salahi, made national headlines for storming a White House event.

Forget "Scandoval" or Salt Lake City's Reality Von Tease, the OG Bravo scandal rocked the nation's capital and marked a big first for The Real Housewives .

scandal itself

On November 24, 2009, US President Barack Obama hosted his first state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

According to ABC News, the Salahi family showed up at the White House with a Real Housewives film crew and managed to get through not one, but two security checkpoints. This includes a name-checked guest list and a metal detector.

Media figures such as The Washington Post 's Roxanne Roberts recognized Michael and Tariq at the event and claimed to have raised questions about their attendance given they were not on the guest list, but any doubts were brushed aside.

After traveling to the Blue Room of the White House, the Salahi family interacted with high-profile figures, including President Obama.

President Barack Obama greets Michelle Salahi and Tariq Salahi at the White House. MCT/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

By their own account, the couple left the reception around 9 p.m. when Michael became ill, NBC News reported. Coincidentally, this is also the time when invited guests take their seats.

After leaving the White House complex, Michael and Tariq shared a Facebook status on their joint account, saying, "It was an honor to join President Obama and our First Lady at the White House for the State Dinner for India!"

The couple's online activity reportedly first came to the attention of White House security. The next day, a White House official confirmed that Michelle and Tariq "were not invited" to the event, sparking a formal investigation and a media frenzy.

chaotic consequences

The story attracted widespread attention, and the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee invited the Salahies to attend a hearing on the security breach on December 3, 2009. The couple "respectfully declined" the request and instead appeared on TODAY to show off.

"We're invited," Michelle insisted to the White House event. "We are deeply saddened by all the circumstances in which my wife and I were portrayed as party guests. I can tell you that our party did not storm the White House."

About a week later, President Obama weighed in on the controversy during an interview with "60 Minutes," calling the incident a "screw-up."

Michael Salahi and Tariq Salahi. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Homeland Security Committee ultimately voted to subpoena Michaele and Tareq for a January 2010 hearing, where the couple invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions.

While the Secret Service considered criminal charges against the couple, they escaped any legal consequences. However, their personal and professional lives have been greatly affected.

Soon after, Tariq resigned from the Virginia Department of Tourism at the request of Gov. Tim Kaine, who ran in 2016 as Hilary Clinton's running mate. As for Michaele, her tenure as a "Real Housewife" ended abruptly in April 2011. , when Bravo canceled DC . franchise — marks the first time a network has canceled a Housewives show.

In 2015, host Andy Cohen cited the couple's White House incident as the reason for the cancellation. "I love 'The Real Housewives of Washington' and I want to bring it back for a second season," he said. "But the show was really ruined by the Salamis." ...Those two people really stunk. ” (The show enjoyed something of a revival in 2016 with the debut of “The Real Housewives of Potomac,” which Cohen described as “adjacent to Washington, D.C.”)

As for the couple themselves, Tarek filed for divorce from Michael in September 2011, citing adultery and abandonment as the reasons for their split.