'RHODubai's Caroline Stanbury Fires Back at Co-Stars' 'Snake' Label and Defends Her Marriage (Exclusive)

The 'Ladies of London' breakout is back on Bravo with 'The Real Housewives of Dubai.' She and her co-stars discuss the drama to come.

Caroline Stanbury's most memorable quote from her time on Bravo's Ladies of London might just be, "I'm not here for your amusement, you're here for mine," but the opposite is kind of true these days. The breakout star of the short-lived but beloved UK-set reality series is back on the network that made her meme-worthy with The Real Housewives of Dubai, Bravo's first-ever originally produced international Housewives offshoot. 

"I've changed city. I've changed man. I've changed life. I've had a complete three... what is it? Like, 180?" Caroline shares with ET, speaking to the evolution she's gone through since signing off Ladies of London back in 2017. "I'm just a different person. Everyone says I'm nicer, believe it or not. Maybe not my castmates..." 

"She will do things and say things and then just be like, 'Oh, darling. I don't know what you're talking about,'" fellow Housewife Chanel Ayan (who goes by her last name) says of Caroline, essentially proving the Divorced Not Dead host's point. It's not a huge surprise, though, given that Caroline's sharp tongue and low threshold for B.S. made her both hero and villain on Ladies of London. Judging by sneak peeks -- and some social media drama already unfolding -- that seems to hold up on RHODubai.

When the trailer dropped earlier this month, Caroline promoted it on her Instagram account alongside the caption, "There's always going to be snakes in the desert, except these ones bite..." That didn't sit right with Ayan and Lesa Milan, though, who were quick to clap back on Twitter with their own respective snake quips. 

"It takes a snake to know a snake 🐍," Lesa wrote, to which Ayan replied, "Always the biggest snakes that hiss the loudest! Her fangs cut deep 😏." Ayan went on to tweet and delete some more thoughts, including, "She is definitely the snake in the desert, Caroline Stanbury, that bites hard," and -- cryptically -- "I am angryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy." 

"You know what? I was responding to a comment that was made," Lesa says when pressed on her use of the snake label. "And to who the cap fits, let them wear it."

"She slithers, she slides around," Ayan adds, speaking of Caroline. "I think it's just because of the comment that she had put out, and I'm the type of person that just says what is on my mind and I just go for it sometimes without even thinking clearly. So, I just say how I feel at the moment. So yeah, like Lesa said -- did you say the cap fits the cat? What did you say?"

"I said who the cap fits, let them wear it," Lesa informs her pal. "Or who the shoe fits."

"Whoever the cap and the shoe fits, there we go!" Ayan cracks.


"I don't know why they called me a snake, to be honest," Caroline fires back. "I feel like I've taken quite a lot from them over the past however long. And maybe now I've just decided I'm not going to take anymore and they don't like that. I'm very happy in my friend group, and I have a very strong connection to the other ladies. And I think at some point you have to say, 'Enough!' And when you do hear things about your husband, your work, your this, your that, I wonder, who is the snake?"

It's safe to say these three aren't exactly on friendly terms. Caroline cropped the duo out of a group picture to promote the show's premiere, and goes bug-eyed when ET brings up the thought of befriending Ayan.

"Hell might freeze over, I suppose..." she scoffs. 

Last time viewers saw Caroline, she was leaving London for the United Arab Emirates, relocating to the desert for her then-husband, Cem Habib, for his job. The couple moved with their three children -- daughter Yasmine and twin sons, Aaron and Zac -- and put down roots in DBX. In 2019, Caroline announced she and Cem were divorcing after 17 years of marriage. In 2020, she started dating Spanish soccer player Sergio Carrallo, who is nearly 20 years younger than Caroline. The two wed in late 2021, RHODubai cameras along for the ride.

"I'm really excited for you to see that -- also for me to watch it back -- because it obviously just happened and I don't even have my wedding video, so I presume it's going to be a bit like that," she reflects, blushing. The wedding will serve as a bit of a Ladies of London reunion, with a handful of Caroline's former castmates -- including Juliet Angus, Caroline Fleming and Sophie Stanbury -- in attendance for the big day.

It's not all celebratory for Caroline, though, as a few of her RHODubai co-stars cast doubt on the legitimacy of her relationship. 

"Yawn," she offers when asked about the speculation that it's a marriage of convenience. "I've been with him three years. I don't know how convenient, when he lived in America, it is to move across [the world] when you know nobody. And he is living with my family. My family loves him, we love him. And I think when you know us, you understand us."

"I understand that being 20 years older, as a woman, isn't normal," she continues. "It's normally the men doing it, but as a mature woman, I think a lot of young men find us sexy. A lot of young men would do it. It's just society tells us we can't. Well, I'm here to say we can. And I don't really care what anyone else thinks."

In a first look at the premiere, Caroline even confesses to only marrying Sergio because he wanted it. "In my mind, I would've had no marriage. I'm fine. I'm good," she said. "[But] so many people think he's a toy-boy, you know what I mean? So I think for him, to validate himself -- 'I'm a proper person, I'm not her toy-boy...' ... I think that's really noble of him." 

A couple of the women point to Sergio's over-the-top affection for Caroline as a sign that something's not quite right about the romance, but Caroline says that's simply just Sergio.

"I've never seen it before either," she admits. "I don't know if you've ever seen that cartoon, Pepé Le Pew? He's Pepé Le Pew. And I'm always the first to go, 'Give me a minute. Give me a second.' But I wake up like that when there are no cameras, I go to bed like that. I'm like, 'Please, back the f**k off.' But he can't and it's very sweet and it's endearing. And why are we as a society trying to bash that out of him?"

"Sergio, he's an old soul," Nina Ali, Caroline's closest friend on the cast, jumps in to add. "Like, when you see Sergio, you realize he's an old soul. He might be in his twenties, but he relates to you when you talk ... and that's rare." 

"The ones that misunderstand him, they just never wanted to understand him," Caroline muses. "I want the world to see that my relationship does make sense with my husband -- and actually, shame on you all for discrediting him before he's even got going and giving us older women hope for the future."

"For anyone that's out there, that's not happy where they are, just to say, you're not a tree," she adds. "If you don't like where you are, move! I took a chance. I moved to the Middle East. I met the man of my dreams. I'm very happy. He doesn't look maybe the way you all feel comfortable with him looking, but we are happy."

See Caroline and Sergio's love story for yourself when The Real Housewives of Dubai premieres on Wednesday, June 1, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Episodes stream next day on Peacock.


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