For Bravo fans, one way to keep track of time during this hellscape of a year is by following our favorite shows. And late summer is dedicated to The Real Housewives of Potomac, which returns on August 2.
This season will bring us Gizelle Bryant’s rekindled relationship with her ex Jamal Bryant, new Housewife Wendy Osefo, and some more allegedly suspish activity courtesy of Michael Darby.
But, the real pièce de résistance of Season 5 is the fight between Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard Bassett.
The trailer for the upcoming season teases the alleged physical altercation between the former friends, and includes a flashback of broken wine glasses on a restaurant floor.
And this fight is no surprise — since Monique and Candiace pressed charges against one another, the alleged incident made headlines in October 2019, long before it was set to hit TV screens. (The Maryland state attorney’s office dismissed both cases back in December.)
The Dipp reached out to Candiace and Monique for further comment on the altercation and about the current status of their relationship, but did not hear back.
Monique and Candiace have had quite the tumultuous relationship in the relatively short amount of time they’ve known each other — the women only met during Season 3. But the quick ups and downs are part of why fans love RHOP.
“These ladies have always been able to shift dynamics with ease,” says Dylan Hafer, an assistant editor at Betches who runs the Bravo fan account @bravobybetches. “From blowout fights, to genuinely caring [for] one another, to being shady as hell, the Potomac women keep it moving like no other cast.”
But will Monique and Candiace be able to keep things moving after this fight? Here’s a look back at their history on TV and everything we know about the incident so far.
April, 2018: Monique and Candiace Meet
Candiace joined RHOP as an acquaintance of Ashley Darby (the season premiered on April 1, 2018) who she knew through the pageant world. Candiace and Monique got off to a very strong start when they first met. The two were introduced at a brunch thrown by Ashley and bonded immediately over the fact that they both perform (“I sing!” Candiace said. “I rap!” Monique responded), both have partners named Chris, and both have a connection to Howard University.
“I really like this Candiace girl,” Monique said in her confessional. Commenting on how wildly Candiace gestures when she talks, Monique joked, “She might hit ya and you might have to hit her back!” The foreshadowing…
Candiace even wrote in her Bravo Blog about meeting Monique, “Monique is bae!!! I love her energy and her spirit. She’s fun and likes to laugh (loud). She’s a little shady boot, which always makes for a fun time!” The foreshadowing again…
May, 2018: Things Get A Little Rocky
As Season 3 went on, a situation arose involving Monique, Candiace, and former Housewife Charisse Jordan Jackson. Charisse, who was friends with Monique, made a snarky comment about Candiace’s engagement ring. (Asking if her mom paid for it. You know, the main dig these women have against Candiace.)
Then, during a cast trip, which aired May 6, 2018, Candiace felt that Monique was playing both sides and stirring up any jealousy Charisse might have had over their budding friendship.
This was sort of a sign of things to come with Candiace. Monique didn’t seem to be purposely pitting Candiace and Charisse against each other (I mean, she might have done it by accident, though), but Candiace seems to have this idea in her head that she should always be looking out for cast mates playing her.
It makes sense to feel like that on a show that’s all about drama and gossip, but it’s also become an ongoing issue as she’s had a focus on picking sides and keeping friendship dynamics constant.
Anyway, Monique and Candiace were able to settle that issue and ended the season as friends.
May, 2019: Season 4 Kicks Off
Monique and Candiace got along fine for about the first half of Season 4. Candiace’s drama was with Ashley, and Monique was focused on her pregnancy.
But their relationship began to take a turn when Monique made a comment about Katie Rost involving the film Amistad, which is about a slave ship. Monique later clarified that she was commenting on Katie’s free spirit by using a quote from the film, “give us free,” but Candiace, saying she felt uncomfortable about the comment, told Gizelle about it, but chose to describe it as Monique saying Katie looked like a slave.
In her Bravo blog, Monique wrote: “Candiace totally twisted what I said when I made the comments about Katie.” She continued: “I was very disappointed to see my ‘friend’ discussing me with someone she knows I don’t get along with.”
Gizelle and Monique were already enemies. It all started when Gizelle met Monique and immediately questioned whether she had a house and Monique corrected her, “I have four homes,” and it moved on to Monique inviting Gizelle’s boyfriend’s ex to events. Classic. So, this was a pot-stirring move by Candiace, whether it was intentional or not.
June, 2019: That Dinner Party
As with every Housewives series at some point, there was a Dinner Party From Hell. Potomac’s aired June 30, 2019. Candiace invited the women to her home, but she and Ashley went off on each other about… well, all sorts of things.
Ashley confronted Candiace about Candiace’s comments about her drinking while she was trying to get pregnant. Candiace said she felt that Ashley’s husband, Michael, was fake crying about their miscarriage at a party. Ashley took a jab at Candiace about her mother giving her financial help. And, this was all to the background of the other women’s gossip about Michael supposedly expressing an interest in men in front of them.
(In a later episode, Ashley said, “Michael said he did not say that … He was livid. He was like, ‘Why are they making up things about me?'”)
Candiace may have said “the elephant is on the table,” but that was only, like, three of the elephants. In the end, Candiace threw a butter knife; Ashley was kicked out of the house.
Monique didn’t say much at the dinner party, but she didn’t approve of Candiace’s behavior. During this time, Monique and Ashley decided to move forward from the issues they had in the past — namely, Ashley gossiping about Monique falling asleep while driving and crashing into a tree, which somehow didn’t become the most memorable storyline of the season — and they became closer.
July, 2019: “Drag me!”
This all set the stage for Candiace and Monique’s argument at Katie’s farm, which aired July 14, 2019. Or, as Bravo expert Hafer refers to the moment, “the throwdown at the hoedown.” (Bravo titled it “Showdown at the Hoedown.”) Candiace was upset that Monique didn’t support her in her feud with Ashley. You might recall this exchange:
Monique: “Don’t start. I will still drag you, pregnant and all.”
Candiance: “Oh, you’re gonna drag me now? Drag me, Monique! Drag me!”
Again, the women tried to get back on track, but this time it didn’t stick — especially when Robyn and Gizelle got involved. They told Candiace about Monique sharing one of their text conversations with Ashley.
Monique was trying to prove to Ashley that she was supportive of her when her husband Michael had a sexual assault allegation brought against him while other women in the group weren’t. (The charges against Michael were dropped due to insufficient evidence, as reported by PEOPLE.)
In a statement, Michael said: “Our good name and reputation have been upheld through the abandonment of this case by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s office. It is unfortunate that high-profile people are often sought out as targets, and in this situation, someone tried to take advantage of me.”
This only added to Candiace’s belief that Monique betrayed her by befriending Ashley.
July – September, 2019: A Twitter Feud & the Reunion
In July 2019, when Season 4 was airing, Candiace and Monique traded tweets about the dinner party episode. Candiace called Monique, “the fake mannequin poised for any opportunity to jump up and look like Mother Theresa [sic].”
Monique said that she hadn’t talked to Candiace recently and added, “Watching these episodes have been very revealing. I try to be consistent in real life (after filming) and during filming but the same doesn’t apply to some.”
Of course, fans are seeing what they’re up to on social media, too, and while opinions are going to vary, Hafer has more positive feelings towards Candiace at the moment. “I have mixed feelings about both women, but in the last couple months, I’ve been really impressed with how Candiace has used her platform with the BLM movement,” Hafer tells The Dipp.
“Both of them are excellent Real Housewives, but I appreciate when a Housewife has her head screwed on straight in the real world. For all her antics on the show, Candiace seems like a genuinely good person.” (To be clear, both women have posted about the recent protests and Black Lives Matter movement.)
Marsha Reaves-Feggins, an admin for the Real Housewives of Potomac Conversations Facebook Group is a Monique fan. “As a fan, I prefer Monique,” Reaves-Feggins says. “She is more down-to-earth. I can relate to her more. A little bit ratchet, professional, and bougie all wrapped into one.” Janet Howard, another admin for the Facebook group, also finds Monique more relatable and calls Candiace “a brat.”
The rivalry between Monique and Candiace continued on to the Season 4 reunion. Candiace admitted that it was “stupid” to take the Amistad comment to Monique’s “sworn enemy” Gizelle, but other than that, they couldn’t agree on anything. Candiace said Monique used her “as a ladder” to get to Ashley; Monique said that Candiace was too focused on people picking sides.
At the end of the reunion, they hugged each other, but any Housewives fan knows that doesn’t always mean much.
October, 2019: The Fight
And now, finally, we’re to the fight that will be shown in Season 5.
In October 2019, while the women were filming the show, Monique and Candiace got into an alleged altercation and both ended up pressing charges against each other for second-degree assault. PEOPLE reported that Monique allegedly “grabbed [Candiace] Dillard by the hair and pulled her down.” Bravo cameras are said to have filmed the alleged incident, which took place at a dinner party with other cast members, according to the magazine.
At the time, in November 2019, Candiace’s lawyer said in statement that he didn’t wish to comment on the charges; Monique’s lawyer told PEOPLE that the charges against his client were “completely one-sided, inaccurate and unwarranted.”
December, 2019: The Fall Out
In December 2019, both charges were dismissed by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, as reported by PEOPLE.
Back then, Monique’s lawyer said, “We are pleased with the final determination by the Montgomery County’s States Attorney’s Office to not proceed against Mrs. Samuels for assault charges brought against her by Candiace Dillard Bassett.”
Candiance’s lawyer said, “We are very, very pleased that the prosecutor did not charge Ms. Dillard Bassett with any criminal charges or pursue the criminal charges against her. As you may recall, the defendant’s legal team made the accusation that our client was the aggressor and assaulted Ms. Samuels by throwing a wine glass at her. However, it is very clear by today’s decision that this was a false allegation.”
Candiace also talked about the fight during an interview on Houston’s 97.9 The Box. While she explained that she couldn’t share much, she claimed, “I was attacked by a cast member. And there are consequences for actions and those consequences can play out in many different shapes and forms.”
She added, “It’s embarrassing from the standpoint of being only the second all-Black ensemble cast on this network and wanting to uphold a certain standard.”
As for Monique, on the day the charges were dropped, she tweeted this:
And on the same day posted this maybe-related-but-we-can’t-actually-say tweet:
As seen in the trailer, some of the other women in the group, like Gizelle and Karen Huger, take the fight very seriously. The trailer ends with Monique saying, “Then maybe I don’t need to be a part of this anymore.” Even more… foreshadowing?
Howard from the Facebook group hopes not. “I think Monique should stay,” Howard says. “Candiace can kick rocks lol.”
Her co-admin, Reaves-Feggins would prefer the fight wasn’t even going to be on the show. “I know we all need drama when it comes to reality, but I wish the fight wasn’t going to be aired,” the superfan says. “No matter how it started, it seems Monique is getting a bad rap.” Howard disagrees: “They signed up to show it all, the bad, the good, and the ugly.”
Which brings us to…
2020: Where Things Might Stand Today
Well, things aren’t great between Monique and Candiace, of course.
And while neither is coming right out and saying that much, Monique recently did some interviews in promotion of Season 5. In one with Essence, which was published July 30, 2020, she said she started therapy after the fight, had no intention of pressing charges until Candiace dragged things out, and wants to move on in her life.
To which Candiace replied on July 31 on Instagram:
The same day the interview came out (July 30), Candiace posted another maybe-related-but-we-can’t-actually-say tweet: “People will really get in these interviews and lie to save themselves from imminent and timely death. It’s laughable.”
For Hafer, a renewed friendship between Monique and Candiace seems unlikely due to the legal action they took, “but this is Real Housewives, and we’ve certainly seen stranger things happen.”
For instance, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore pressed charges against Porsha Williams after she and Porsha had an alleged incident at the Season 6 reunion. On the premiere of Season 7, Porsha said: “I had to turn myself in, whatever.” She was booked with a misdemeanor, posted bond, and was released in 2014. Her rep told E! News that the charge was “unfounded.” (The Dipp reached out to Porsha’s team for comment on the 2014 arrest, but didn’t hear back.)
Years later in Season 12, Porsha and Kenya were on OK terms and bonded over both being new mothers. These shows go on long enough that anything can happen.