One of the first things Real Housewives of Orange County viewers wonder about Gretchen Rossi’s boyfriend, Slade Smiley, is what he does for a living. When Wetpaint Entertainment recently spoke with the radio host, we had to ask how he spends his time when he’s off air. Slade gave us the lowdown on his work life — and the negative impact some of his castmates have had on his business.
It turns out the serial Housewives dater has had several careers. “I was in real estate,” Slade explains, “I was technically a consultant.” His new company, Grayson Entertainment, does brand integration. For example, he says, when Kim Kardashian drinks Vitamin Water on one of her many shows, that deal was orchestrated by someone like him. Just like the real estate business, however, Slade says there are lulls between his contracts. It’s not that he’s not working during those times; he’s just negotiating new deals.
But as we’ve seen in Season 7 of Real Housewives of Orange County, there’s more to Slade than his work. Not only did he compete in the Tour de France, he can carry on a conversation in Japanese. “I’m just old, so I’ve done a lot,” jokes Slade.
But he’s hoping viewers will take time to get to know him beyond the accusations several of his castmates have lobbed at him during his time on the show. Slade’s son Grayson, 11, is battling diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma and a brain tumor, and both Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Barney said the father of two wasn’t paying child support.
“The most disheartening was obviously the whole ‘deadbeat dad’ accusation,” says Slade. “That was the hardest on me, because I had full-custody of my kids, and I fought for full custody of my son. So to have his medical condition brought into this and have people assume that I was a deadbeat dad all of a sudden, that was the most difficult.”
According to Slade, the economic downturn has impacted his business and he couldn’t keep up with the monthly payments. “My biggest issue with all of that is, all I did was file for reduction of support,” he explains. “I was ordered to pay almost $4,000 a month, which means the first $8,000 I make, half goes to taxes, half goes to support. So I’d have to be making 20 to 30 grand a month to keep up with that type of order. And I just don’t have that type of job anymore.”
Though the Housewives’ attacks hurt Slade emotionally, they also took a toll on his company. Slade says, “It affected my ability to earn for my son. A lot of my contracts, they got cancelled” because the brands he was repping didn’t want to be associated with him.
“So by those girls, using me as content, and making those accusations, they literally hurt my ability to earn for my son,” Slade tells us. “If they were so concerned about him, why would you make such public accusations? If you want to help, do a charity event. Come and ask me what the truth really is. How can we all work together to help him and kids like him?… Don’t accuse me of being a deadbeat just because my income has changed.”
Despite the fact that Slade is still suffering from those claims, he thinks his name will be cleared in time. “I’m hoping that the radio show and as you go on and continue to watch, you’ll start to see more about who I really am, not just those 8 minutes that Bravo’s editing into [each episode of] their TV series.”