He may be called “Mr. Gretchen Rossi” behind his back, but Slade Smiley’s history with The Real Housewives of Orange County runs deeper than just his fetching fiance and minor squabbles with the other Housewives.
So just who is Slade Smiley?
We don’t know a great deal about Slade prior to him joining The Real Housewives of Orange County. Born October 29, 1973, Slade grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and attended college briefly at the University of Alaska at Anchorage before transferring to California State University, Long Beach.
Slade Smiley spent a good deal of the 1980s racing bicycles competitively, and claims to have raced in the Tour de France once. He also had a fairly successful modeling career, shilling for brands like Adidas, Gillette, and Cherokee Clothing. Somewhere along the way, Slade even found time to become fluent in Japanese.
But his personal life was a bit less steady. In the 1980s, he was married to Rose Smiley and had one son, Gavin, who’s now in his early 20s. He has another son, 12-year-old Grayson, with ex-girlfriend Michelle Arroyo. Sadly, Grayson suffers from a serious neurological disease called diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma. He underwent an invasive surgery last year to remove as much of his brain tumor as possible and has been recovering well ever since.
In 2006, Slade joined the Real Housewives of Orange County with then-fiance Jo De La Rosa. According to Vicki Gunvalson, Slade and Jo’s addition was a total fluke after the two of them won an opportunity to appear on the show in an auction.
Unfortunately, Slade and Jo parted ways in 2007 when Jo decided to move to LA to pursue her music career. Strangely enough, the pair reunited (professionally, at least) for the reality show Date My Ex, in which Jo went on a series of dates and received advice about her various suitors from Slade and two of her best friends.
Following his breakup from Jo, Slade also dated RHOC co-star Lauri Waring briefly before really hitting it off with Gretchen Rossi in 2009. The two are still together and happily engaged now too! Gretchen threw convention to the wind and proposed to Slade on April 14 atop the AT&T building in LA.
Although tongues have wagged in the past about Slade’s money problems (his real estate business floundered during the economic downturn, and he’s been accused of being a deadbeat dad as well), he’s now gainfully employed as a talk radio host on Orange County station Playlist 927.
With a wedding to plan and babies to be had, we have no doubt Slade will continue to be a fixture on Real Housewives of Orange County for a long time to come!