The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7 two-part reunion kicked off tonight with a bang… or, rather, a series of shouts. Tamra Barney, Alexis Bellino, Heather Dubrow, Vicki Gunvalson, and Gretchen Rossi all joined Andy Cohen to chat about the many, many changes that have come up this season, and needless to say, the girls got a lot miffed at each other over the things that went down.
First, Andy Cohen walked the girls through a few status updates: Vicki had a challenging year, with Brian’s surprise wedding and cancer scare. Newbie Heather is surprised how much she likes everyone, because she “heard you all were crazy.” Things are still “great” between ex-frenemies-turned-friends Tamra Barney and Gretchen Rossi.
Andy then asks Vicki about her fur coat (yes, she really does need one in the OC) and teases Alexis about her various foibles (thinking Costa Rica was in Mexico, for one). Yawn. Then the real meat gets put on the table.
Andy introduces footage of Alexis trying to make it as a Fox 5 correspondent, with Jim reminding her, “there’s only so much time in the day for you to raise my children.” A reader asks why Alexis lets Jim put her in such a position of control, pointing out that she looked like a little kid, and that’s when Heather chimes in. “You did, you looked like you were asking his permission, and it was sad to me that he was having this power over you because in your interviews you were so strong and sort of forthcoming.”
When the girls continue to make comments about her relationship with Jim, Alexis closes the book on the subject by declaring, “That’s just the way our relationship works. So, if it’s strange to some people, I mean, we’re still married, so…” From the look on Tamra’s face, it seems like she understands that was directed at her.
Andy then asks Heather whether she thinks Alexis improved with her Fox 5 job to change the subject, and that segues into the fact that Alexis poked fun at Heather’s career, saying she was no Angelina Jolie. Heather points out that Alexis had no training for her gig and that perhaps she should consider that before she “maligns” someone else’s career. Alexis apologizes for hurting her feelings.
“When you feel like something was negatively said about you, you shut it down, but when you say something about me, I let it go,” Heather adds. Alexis then points out that while she’s had very little to say about Heather, she thinks Heather’s run her name through the dirt many times. Tamra and Gretchen disagree with that assessment.
Alexis points to a time when Heather called her dumb, but Heather corrects her, “I said you weren’t that cerebral.” “Exactly,” Alexis bites back. But then Heather points out that she called her pretentious, which Alexis counters with “I never said you were pretentious. I said you were stuffy.” Clearly, we’re grasping at straws already tonight, and it’s not even a quarter of the way through Part 1!
The subject rolls onto who’s said what about whom. Heather claims Alexis made fun of her for claiming to do stand-up back in the day, but Alexis says Heather interrogated her about home-buying. Heather says, “I’m sorry I can’t talk about shoes and handbags for three days,” regarding the campfire home rental discussion. Alexis says she just thinks her decision to rent or buy is no one’s business but hers, and Heather says that bottom line, at least she’s never lied to anyone.
Moving on, the spotlight turns to Tamra, who has gone through a lot of changes this year: divorcing Simon Barney, opening up a fitness studio, getting Simon’s name tattoo removed from her hand, and getting engaged to Eddie Judge. Tamra explains that the kids took the proposal well because Eddie re-proposed in front of them. The couple moved in together shortly after the proposal, and Simon didn’t react well to the engagement.
“The day after I got home we all went to therapy as a family in front of the therapist,” she explained. “And, you know, it is what it is. He’s been living with his girlfriend for over a over now, they’re not engaged, and I feel like there’s really no words I can say that’ll make him feel better about it.” What is going well, though, is her fitness studio project. According to her, it will be open in three months tops.
The subject of Tamra’s mouthiness comes up, but she’s got no apologies for it. “Listen, I’ve had this mouth my entire life. It’s gotten me into a lot of trouble. It is who I am,” she said.
That’s when Andy asks whether Alexis takes what Tamra says to heart. “I feel like it’s nasty, but it probably offended me more before we had coffee and I got to see what I’m really dealing with,” she answered. That’s when she takes her own effective stab at Tamra and explains that the coffee chat “released” her. “In order for someone to offend me I have to value their opinion.” Ouch! Good one, Lex!
Vicki’s relationship with Tamra is next on the agenda, and Vicki nearly bursts into the tears as she explains that she’s disappointed at the distance that’s come between them and she misses Tamra. Tamra admits to being sad about it too, saying, “I watch the show and it makes me cry.” Vicki shrugs.
Naturally, the focus then turns to the emergent friendship between Tamra and Gretchen, who had been enemies for so long. “It’s kind of a little weird for me too,” Gretchen admits of the newfound friendship. Tamra explains what happened. “After last year’s reunion, I just felt like we were fighting just for the sake of fighting, and things were just getting so out of hand and there was just this vicious circle of nonsense,” she said. “We do have a lot in common. We do talk a lot. I don’t feel like I hold much back from her.”
Vicki, of course, is a little miffed by the friendship, especially given the deterioration of her own friendship with Tamra. “You know, I wanted them to be friends. I never thought it would be an alienation friendship.” Vicki then points out that Tamra’s been critical of some of the men in the circle, pointing to Jim but really meaning her own boyfriend Brooks, and then asks whether Tamra could ever accuse her of going after Eddie. “You have no reason to go after Eddie,” Tamra spits back.
Vicki then points out that she’s had a lot to say about others’ relationships, and Tamra points out that Vicki’s had her fair share of commentary on Jim Bellino and Gretchen’s guy Slade Smiley, “so stop being a hypocrite.” That’s when Gretchen pipes in and points out that Vicki’s said a thing or two about people too.
Andy brings up Vicki’s Bravo blog in which she said that Tamra focuses on only one friend at a time. Tamra denies it and calls them fighting words, but Vicki sticks by her guns on the issue and declares, “I feel like if she didn’t have Gretchen’s friendship right now we would still be dear friends.”
Heather pipes in and indicates that maybe her relationship with Brooks — spending so much time with him — is the problem. Gretchen then asks whether she’s trying to say she’s the problem. Vicki takes the long route to a “Yes,” essentially. Tamra thinks Vicki’s just putting the blame on her. Oh, this Brooks stuff is nowhere near done yet.
Andy brings up another Bravo blog, this time from Tamra saying she was upset to hear Vicki claim to be friends with Alexis only because she’s “not in her ear telling her not to.” Tamra calls it B.S. and points to Vicki disliking Alexis of her own accord. “It’s not my fault if you agreed with me,” Tamra shouts. Vicki admits that Tamra never told her not to like Alexis. Vicki says that you can be influenced by who you hang with, though, and that’s when Alexis points to the fact that Heather doesn’t like her because of Tamra’s opinions. Heather quickly rebuffs that suggestion. It’s not Tamra’s doing if she doesn’t like her.
The subject turns to what Gretchen thinks of Vicki and Alexis’s relationship. “I do feel like it seemed like it came a little bit out of convenience when something was going on [between herself and Tamra],” she answers. Alexis speaks up to say that she and Vicki were already working on their friendship before, but this year it just happened to work out.
Andy changes the subject back to the Brooks topic. A montage of Brooks’s many hyperboles comes through, and Vicki informs everyone that she and Donn are currently in an amicable place. She’s sticking to her guns, though, that she shouldn’t have to give spousal support to a 60-year-old man even if he helped raise the kids. She doesn’t want to get “effed” from both divorces, since she didn’t get child support from the first marriage.
A question comes in about whether Donn approves of her being intimate with Brooks while she’s still legally married, and Vicki points out that Donn’s doing the horizontal mambo with his own girlfriend too, so que sera. “Legally we’re still married, that’s the facts.” Also, she’s okay with the idea that Brooks is just telling her what she wants to hear all the time. “Who doesn’t like to hear that?” Heather agrees: “I say Terry, come here, listen to Brooks!”
The subject of Vicki’s hypocrisy over people talking smack about Brooks comes up. She used to be all about “no boys allowed.” She claims she just wasn’t happy at the time, so she didn’t understand why the girls wanted to spend time with their men. Gretchen steps in on this one big time. She thinks Vicki is a hypocrite, and she won’t quit until she admits it. Alexis thinks she’s apologized already and that the group should move on, but until Vicki owns up to being a “hypocrite” by definition on the issue, Gretchen won’t drop it.
“If you want me to label myself a hypocrite, then I’ll say okay I’m a hypocrite,” Vicki says. “Absolutely, I was not in a good marriage, I wasn’t happy with Donn. I didn’t understand.” When Gretchen continues to discuss the issue anyway, Vicki starts to take it personally, saying that she thinks the girls aren’t happy that she’s happy.
Gretchen insists they’re just looking out for her. “Wait a minute, when I was happy. When I said stop talking about Slade, you didn’t,” she snaps. “Don’t say don’t say something about Brooks. You said something about Slade, you said something about Jim and Simon and everybody else… don’t act like we are out of line for having something to say about Brooks.”
Then the conversation turns to the matter of unpaid child support. Both Slade and Brooks have been accused of this. But it was fair game when Vicki said something about Slade. “I’m all about women. And I’m all about being provided for in the child support sector… so a hypocrite would’ve said Brooks don’t pay your exes,” she explains. She was a single mother herself, after all. Vicki indicates that Gretchen stood behind Slade when he wouldn’t pay his support, and Gretchen points out that Vicki wrote a letter to the court in support of Brooks getting out of jail for unpaid child support. Vicki says that it was just so that he could pay the child support owed.
Gretchen says it was the same situation with Slade. “Tamra and I felt at that time that he was putting his pay under Gretchen’s Social Security Number,” Vicki explains, which Gretchen denies vehemently.
After the break, a bird — yes, a real live bird — attacks the set and lightens the mood a little bit. “This gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘tweet,’” Heather observes. Love her!
The mood switches back to boiling pretty quickly when the subject of Terry Dubrow calling Alexis Bellino “phony” and the Costa Rica ambush comes up. Alexis admits she was most hurt by Gretchen’s involvement in that conversation. “It’s really hard to have it done in the way it was done. If Gretchen had a problem with me she could come to me and talk to me in private and I could hear it,” she explains. Also, she thinks Terry knew her “all of twenty seconds,” so the assessment is uncertain. Heather points out that Alexis knew her the same amount of time before calling her pretentious.
The subject of Alexis and Tamra’s lunch comes up, and Tamra defends herself from the suggestion that she was “vile and cruel.” Tamra says that Alexis was beating the subject to death and she couldn’t “sugarcoat it.” “I don’t want to be around bitter, nasty people… I just wanna be around happy, upbeat people that encourage and uplift,” Alexis says. Tamra points out that everyone had a happy moment without her in Costa Rica.
Alexis’s accusation that Gretchen threw her under the bus gets some attention next, with Gretchen maintaining that she told Alexis what was going to go down on the plane ride over. Alexis denies it and claims she asked Gretchen to have her back but that she didn’t. “She did not sit on the plane and tell me she was about to have an intervention with me… I would never have come to ‘Mexico’ [a.k.a. Costa Rica] if I had known,” Alexis insists.
Vicki sticks up for her and says Gretchen should’ve asked the girls to drop it, and that’s when Heather brings up the fact that Alexis is well-known for being rude to people. “Truthfully, it’s about the way you treat people… I know I’m not Angelina Jolie, but I’ve been working for many years, and I have never seen somebody treat a crew the way you do,” she snaps. “Don’t shake your head no at me. Take this as a moment to look inside yourself and see that if everyone says you’re dead, it’s time to lie down.”
Evidently, there’s an entire Facebook group of Nordstrom people who Alexis treated badly, and when that comes up things get loud! Tamra calls Alexis “Psychotic Jesus Juggs.” Tamra suggests nobody likes her husband Jim Bellino, and Alexis points out that Vicki does because she’s going to their birthday party… on the private plane. That sets the girls off, as they point out that’s exactly what they’ve been talking about with the materialistic show-y business.
Gretchen concludes, plainly: “Honest to God, Alexis, please listen to me. I care about you. I don’t like going out in public and hearing nasty things about you… Here’s the difference: I come to you and say, ‘Lex you’re giving off this perception’… I love you enough to jeopardize the friendship to tell you the truth.”
To be continued…
Part 2 of the reunion airs on Monday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on Bravo.
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