After last week’s maddening cliffhanger in which Heather Gay revealed her black eye to Jen Shah and Meredith Marks the morning after a wild night out in San Diego, the Dec. 21 episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City seemed to promise Bravo fans an answer to the question that had been teased in promos all season: How did Heather Gay get a black eye?
Yet the episode raised even more questions about what exactly happened that fateful night without providing any definitive answers. Security footage of Heather’s room shows someone knocking at her door and attempting to open it before she approaches to answer it in a towel at 4:50 a.m.; what happens after the door opens hasn’t been shown — the footage either doesn’t exist or Bravo is saving it to reveal at a later date. The morning after, Heather first summons Jen to her room to show her the damage, to which Jen replies, “What the f*ck happened?”
“I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, Jen. That’s why I need you to help me figure out if someone wants to talk about what really happened last night,” Heather says. “We need a cover story, is what I’m saying right now.”
After Heather also shows her eye and scratches on her arm to Meredith, she has no choice but to show the rest of the women, all of whom react with shock and concern. But while the women point fingers in confessional interviews (Whitney Rose suggests that Jen, who has admitted to having anger issues, got physical with Heather after their dinner fight and is keeping quiet to protect her amid her ongoing legal woes), Heather ends the episode on a cryptic note.
“Why do you not want to talk about it? Who are you trying to protect?” a producer asks Heather in a confessional. She takes a long pause before answering: “Myself.”
So what actually happened? Did Heather get in a fight with another Housewife, or is this all a misdirect for a drunken accident? Below, the best theories.
Jen Gave Heather A Black Eye
The Dec. 21 episodes seems to point in the direction of this theory. Why, after all, would a Housewife choose to protect someone who hurt them when they could call them out on television, getting justice and a potent storyline in the process? The only reason, amateur detective Whitney Rose suggests, would be to protect that person. And who needs protection more than one Jen Shah, whose legal case was — and still is — working its way through the court system? At the time of filming this episode, Jen had not yet changed her plea to guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and was asserting her innocence in the case. Wouldn’t a physical fight on a television show cast doubt on that claim?
“I am solidly on the theory that it was Jen, but Heather won’t ever f*cking tell us because she doesn’t wanna mess up her bail conditions,” Reddit user hisosih wrote, to which user artisticflame replied, “She’s telling us indirectly by continuing to draw attention to it.”
Jen Hit Heather — And It’s The Reason She Wasn’t Invited To BravoCon
Andy Cohen has previously stated that Jen Shah’s decision to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud spelled the end for her time on RHOSLC, and fans suggested that was the reason she did not attend the Housewives extravaganza BravoCon in October. Shah has said that she was barred from the Season 3 reunion in September, only for Bravo producers to extend an invite to her in November, which she then declined out of respect for her ongoing legal case.
But Bravo fans are putting on their tinfoil hats to suggest a physical altercation could be the real reason — or at least, another reason — Shah was barred from BravoCon and the RHOSLC Season 3 reunion.
It Was An Accident & Heather (And Bravo) Are Milking It
The RHOSLC After Show offered some more interesting clues as to what happened. In an interview with Whitney Rose and friends Danna Bui-Negrete and Angie Katsanevas, Whitney suggests that perhaps Heather’s injury wasn’t the result of a fight. “I’ve seen black eyes. That was not a black eye of roughhousing,” she says. “That’s like a shiner. This was like her whole eye was black. It was like blunt force.”
Danna also notes that the last three people awake that night were Heather, Jen, and Meredith — notably, Heather and the two women she called first the next morning in a panic. In a separate After Show interview, Lisa Barlow weighs in. “I’m like, OK, they were pretty wasted. Heather drinks all day pretty much every single day, so I’m like, maybe she tripped and fell and is humiliated about it,” she says. “The fact that Heather’s being so coy about this, and not flat out saying what happened to her — we would all stop talking about this,” Lisa continues in another After Show clip. “I’m like, Heather, do you need more attention? Is this a diversion from like, last night’s conversation?”
Reddit user bellbert, meanwhile, supports the accident theory. “I’m probably reading way too much into it but it seemed like they zoomed in on that British flag table (with pointy corners) at the beginning of the ‘eye reveal’ scene. Her wig was on the floor right next to the table and as Jen hands her the wig, Heather says ‘omg where did you find that?’ So it looked to me like she fell, hit her eye on the table, and her wig fell to the floor.”
A less charitable reading from Bravo fans on Twitter is that Heather had an accident, and is staying quiet to build intrigue and give herself a storyline this season.
It Was… A Botox Side Effect?
Bravo Historian Samantha Bush had another theory that would suggest Heather really is protecting herself by staying mum: it was Botox! Though bruising is a common side effect of Botox according to dermatologists, it certainly wouldn’t look great for the owner of Beauty Lab + Laser to experience such dramatic side effects on-camera from alleged procedures done by her own med spa.
“My theory: no one punched Heather, she got bruised from bad Botox and wants to cover for Beauty Lab and Laser. And those aren’t scratches they are lipstick marks,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet. Bush also pointed out that it appears Heather’s swelling had started earlier that day, lending more credence to her theory:
Other Twitter users started doing their own digging and amateur medical analyzing, comparing Heather’s swelling eyelid to the typical appearance of a black eye.
For context, dermatologists often discourage patients from drinking alcohol after Botox, as it can increase blood flow to the injection site and lead to more bruising.
Though we don’t know if Heather had recently gotten Botox — this is all speculation, to be clear — it’s not out of the realm of possibility: she’s openly discussed her love of Botox and other injectables like filler, and says she gets them all for free as the owner of Beauty Lab + Laser. Add that to the fact that she did have quite the alcohol-soaked night before she woke up with a severely swollen eye, and perhaps this theory isn’t quite as wild as it sounds.
Or perhaps this is the biggest television mystery since who shot J.R.
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