CELEBRITY
02/24/2012 03:15 pm ET

'Real Housewives' Star Slade Smiley Compares Franchise To STD

Bravo's original "Housewives" show, "The Real Housewives of Orange County," is back and one of the show's stars, Gretchen Rossi, takes full responsibility, along with now-boyfriend Slade Smiley, for helping to start the franchise epidemic.

"Yes, it's like an STD," Slade told me on the set of my HDNet talk show "Naughty But Nice." "I think the success is based on how they are cast, because it is an inside look into the lives of these very rich, yet dysfunctional people."

Although Gretchen is the first to admit that she brings her fair share of dysfunction to the Orange County-based show, she said she's just being herself.

"At the end of the day, it's because we are real people," she said about why the Bravo-network franchise is so popular. "We are going through divorces, we are going through relationships, we have children and I think people can relate to them."

Although the pair is currently enjoying all that comes with their newfound stardom, they want to warn other "Housewives" and ex-"Housewives" that their 15 minutes of fame won't last forever.

"People need to understand that this kind of thing is fleeting," Gretchen said. "You are going to be here and gone tomorrow."

Slade also added that though people may recognize them from the show, they don't consider themselves famous.

"We don't like to think that we are celebrities ... but it does allow us to expose some of the business ventures that have come of this," he said.

Naughty But Nice airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on HDNet.

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Check out photos of other "Real Housewives," past and present, below:

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The Real Housewives of Bravo

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