Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is renowned for its cutaway shots; lizards scurrying across a pristine white dock in Miami; the cotton candy sunset over the Pacific Ocean; Sarah Ferguson’s erstwhile financial adviser cavorting in a polka-dot scarf.
In 1992, the separated Duchess of York vacationed in St. Tropez with her “financial adviser” and boyfriend John Bryan, a man she would later refer to as “the binge that cost me most dear.” The poolside photographs of their vacation caused a worldwide sensation and lead to Fergie’s banishment from the royal family. “Can’t you just see it?” Bryan later asked the writer Elizabeth Kaye. “Can you imagine, being with your mother-in-law over breakfast of kippers and kedegree and those picture come out and she’s the Queen of Fucking England?”
Bryan reveled in his notoriety, attending The Best awards in Paris and participating in a profile in Esquire magazine. Those halcyon days ended in 1995, when Bryan’s international construction and development corporation Oceonics Group PLC collapsed owing £10 million.
A creature of the pre-Internet era, Bryan re-invented himself in his native land. Now based in Los Angeles, Bryan is the CEO of The Watley Group, which specializes in corporate restructuring and turnaround services. He is married to a Belgian violinist named Astrid, whose 2009 rock/violin album Astrid Taking Over was released by Watley Recordings.
In 2011, Bryan and his wife attended Pandora Vanderpump’s engagement party. Pandora is the daughter of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Lisa Vanderpump–guests signed release forms and the party was featured on Season 2. As fellow housewife Kyle Richards showed off at her reality-TV-friend’s daughter’s Arabian nights-themed engagement party, a beaming Bryan carefully positioned himself in every shot.