From reality TV meltdowns to fraud allegations, trainer Sharrieff Shah has stood by Jen Shah throughout.
While Bravo watchers first met the couple when The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City launched in late 2020, the couple met in the ’90s while attending the University of Utah.
“We had a class together. I saw her, my heart immediately stopped,” Sharrieff recalled of his wife in Season 1. “I go up to her [and ask her], ‘Is that seat taken?’ She looks at me like, ‘There’s nobody there. . I suppose not’. That’s how we met.”
The couple were still in college when Jen became pregnant with their eldest child, who was born in 1994. They would marry that year.
“By the time I find out, I’m devastated because I’m like, ‘You don’t understand. My life just ended. This goes against everything I’ve ever been,'” Jen, who was raised Mormon, recalled on the “Currently Cringing” podcast in 2020 about struggling to tell her parents she was pregnant. “And it was very weird for me because Sharrieff was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so happy.’ Because her mom calls her dad, her dad gets on the phone and says, ‘Jen, I’m so excited baby.’ And I’m like, ‘Hey, this is really weird. Because we’re not married.’”
After getting married, Jen converted to Islam and they welcomed a second son, Omar, in 2003.
“When I was married about five years, we had our first child, and it was time to start thinking about how to raise him under one religion. It was important to me that we have consistency. I didn’t want my son to get confused about what mommy practices and what daddy practices,” she explained to E! News.
While Jen certainly drew attention for her antics during RHOSLC Season 1, things turned real during the production of Season 2 in March 2021 when she and assistant Stuart Smith were arrested for their alleged involvement in a smuggling scheme. telemarketing that scammed hundreds of victims who were mostly finished. the age of 55
“Jennifer Shah, who bills herself as a wealthy and successful businesswoman on reality TV, and Stuart Smith, who bills herself as Shah’s ‘first assistant,’ reportedly generated and sold ‘top lists’ of innocent people to other members of your plan. to repeatedly defraud,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss explained in a statement at the time.
The reality television personality and his assistant initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. While Smith changed her guilty plea in November 2021, Jen agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a plea deal, which included a sentencing range of 11 to 14 years under counseling guidelines, in July. of 2022.
Before her sentencing, which is set for January 6, 2023, after several schedule changes, Jen and Sharrieff asked the judge to reduce the amount of time she should be ordered to spend behind bars to just three years.
“Jen has never been arrested or detained for any crime. My wife’s current legal situation was caused by a confluence of events that came together at various points, causing it to spiral out of control,” the University of Utah special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach wrote in a letter to judge in December 2022.
Sharrieff alleged that problems in their relationship led Jen to “make catastrophically bad business decisions and develop relationships with horrible people.”
“Because of my absence, I couldn’t see how much my wife suffered,” he continued. “As I think about it now, I saw her spend more time alone in our room. She often fell asleep in our children’s bed waiting for me to come home. She constantly told me that she feels so alone.”
While her husband claimed that Jen “took the first big step toward making things right by acknowledging her own guilt and responsibility,” the government argued that the Bravo star’s “late expressions of remorse ring hollow” and recommended a sentence of 10 years.