Spending

Heather Dubrow of 'Real Housewives': What Terry and I learned from being 'swindled' out of millions

Share
VIDEO4:0204:02
Heather and Dr. Terry Dubrow of 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' and...
Key Points
  • In 2015, Heather and Terry Dubrow say they were swindled out of $1.75 million.
  • "I really feel that was a defining moment in our financial lives that allowed us to plan and rebuild," says Heather Dubrow, star of the Bravo show "The Real Housewives of Orange County."
  • "We weren't necessarily communicating about financial matters the way we should have," says Dr. Terry Dubrow, star of the E! show "Botched."

Heather Dubrow, who stars on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County," and her husband, Dr. Terry Dubrow, who stars on E!'s "Botched," often reveal details of their lavish lifestyle. They've taken viewers on a tour of their 22,000 square foot Los Angeles mansion and given TV audiences access to their daily lives.

But the couple is not afraid to share their financial missteps, too. "Terry ended up making an investment that turned out to be a scam and that really was our financial low. We ended up being swindled out of a couple of million dollars," says Heather Dubrow.

The fraudulent investment changed the couple's relationship with money. "I really feel that was a defining moment in our financial lives that allowed us to plan and rebuild," Heather says.

She and Terry are teaming up with experts to share the wisdom they've learned about money and marriage, along with other relationship advice, to help couples on the brink of divorce in an E! special called "7 Year Stitch," which premiers March 1 at 10 p.m. ET.

The $1.75 million investment gone wrong

Heather alleged on her podcast "Heather Dubrow's World" that the couple lost about $1.75 million after their accountant of more than 20 years convinced the Dubrows to loan the money to a woman to invest in real estate.

When the Dubrows attempted to collect on their investment, their money was gone, Heather said on her podcast on December 15, 2015.

"When this large sum of money was sort of swindled away, when I heard what was going on and got involved in all of it, I wasn't angry, because I realized it was also my fault, because I was not involved," Heather says.

She realized that gender roles played a part: She had made, she says, what could be called "a classic female move, which is I thought that my partner was handling things and that wasn't entirely true, because as brilliant as Terry is in so many arenas ... in the financial world, there were holes."

After the loss, 'we became a true partnership'

While recovering from the financial loss, the Dubrows came to realize the importance of being financial partners. "I always thought of our relationship as a partnership, but I think it wasn't until that happened, that we became a true partnership, all the way around, and discussed everything," Heather says.

'We had to have a major sit down and say, 'Okay, wait, our system of checks and balances has completely failed here," Heather says.

I wasn't angry, because I realized it was also my fault, because I was not involved.
Heather Dubrow
"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

"I came to the realization that I'm better if Heather is 50/50 in the financial decisions," Terry says. "There have been many times in our financial relationship where we weren't necessarily communicating about financial matters the way we should have."

Especially since he considers himself more aggressive with their finances, while Heather is more conservative, "we balance each other out," Heather says.

Now, 'we talk a lot about money'

When it comes to money and marriage, "there are fundamental basic principles you need to both talk about. And I really think it starts with communication and to a certain degree, education," Terry says. "It shouldn't be a mystery, how much money you have, you should both understand what's going on, where your assets are, where your liabilities are."

Talking about money isn't easy, but it's essential, the Dubrows agree. "Money is the great divider, isn't it? It's so funny," Heather says. "When you go to get married, you talk about the flowers, you talk about your dress, where you're going on your honeymoon? Does anyone ask credit scores, or, what their pension plan looks like? Do they have debt?"

Now, "we talk a lot about money," says Terry. "We focus on how to earn it and preserve it."

Most importantly, "we make financial conversations enjoyable. They're not a chore to us, they're exciting in a weird way," he says. "If you can make money and money concepts – not focusing on the making money aspect – but what your money can do for you, in many ways, it can be a fun hobby."

More from Grow: