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Jo De La Rosa: My Life After the Real Housewives

The RHOC alum released an album, got a normal job—and found love after Slade Smiley.

What happens to our Real Housewives once they've left a franchise? Each week, we're looking into the lives of past cast members after their exits. This week, former Real Housewives of Orange County star Jo De La Rosa.

She's one of the five women who started it all, but these days, Real Housewives of Orange County original cast member Jo De La Rosa is living a surprisingly normal existence in Los Angeles where she works at a marketing and advertising company. Although her life has taken quite a few twists and turns to get there.

Even though it's been seven years since she was a series regular, Jo still gets recognized "every day," she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in 2013. "I feel like it would die by now, but it's the reruns—and it just wont die!"

Jo was just 26 and dating Slade Smiley when she made her debut on the first Real Housewives series. She left left after Season 2 in 2007 as she and Slade ended their engagement and she headed north to L.A. to pursue a singing career. Jo didn't, however, leave reality TV far behind.

By 2008, Jo was following her dreams of being a recording artist and released an album, Unscripted that August. That summer, she and Slade both appeared on a RHOC spinoff, Bravo's Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, which followed Jo as she dated a group of men who shared a house with Slade. Let's just say that neither endeavor was ultimately successful.

Slade, meanwhile, soon started dating Jo's friend Gretchen Rossi, who went on to become a RHOC star herself. Gretchen famously proposed to Slade in 2013 and although they still haven't tied the knot, they've now been together for five years.

In 2013, Jo—who went on to be successful in her new, current career as a marketing and ad sales exec—and was asked to weigh in on her feelings about Gretchen and Slade's romance for RHOC's 100th episode. She said she felt that Gretchen had broken "girl code" by moving on with her ex. "Considering she had met Slade through me while we were dating, it was just kind of interesting to see that once I moved to L.A., they ended up together," Jo told Andy last summer. "But I'm happy for the both of them because I truly feel the two of them deserve each other." (Gretchen, however, has insisted that she already knew Slade pre-Jo.)

Despite the tension, make no mistake—Jo has definitely moved on. She's been dating Mark Lovette, CEO and founder at marketing and advertising firm Empire Digital, for more than two years, and it sounds serious. "Happy two year anniversary to my other half," Jo wrote along with a photo of her and her man on New Year's Day 2014, "a man who makes me laugh everyday and who I'm so proud to call my best friend. I'm so lucky to have found you."

How do you think Jo De La Rosa would fare amongst the other Housewives if she returned to RHOC for Season 9, which premieres April 14 at 9p ET/PT? Tell us in the comments.

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