The Real Housewives Of Orange County is returning to our TV screens on July 10th, and Tamra Judge says it’s a very different season than we’ve ever witnessed before. Unsurprisingly, the drama between Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra continues, with Tamra indicating that there’s not a lot of resolution in sight. But boomerang cast member Lydia McLaughlin lands back on the scene to try to broker peace among the fractured group (HA! She’ll need extra glitter for that trick.)
In a recent interview, Tamra admits that she’s still not on good terms with Vicki and Kelly Dodd, and she didn’t really get to know newcomer Peggy Sulahian as well as she could have. She shares that “it’s such a different season this year. The cast was a little bit split almost three quarters of the way through filming. I don’t know what Kelly and Vicki did most of the time because I was filming much more with Meghan [Edmonds] and Shannon [Beador]. Peggy is the new girl and I didn’t film with her all that much either.”
Tamra told the Huffington Post that season 12 tended to focus more on private family issues in the Housewives’ lives rather than forced drama among them. (Really?!) “This season, there was lots of filming done individually and a focus on family stuff, whereas in the past there was lots of group stuff. I could be wrong but that’s how it felt,” she shared. Topics include Tamra’s estrangement from her daughter, Shannon’s battle with her weight, and Meghan’s life as a new mother.
Despite her issues with Kelly, Tamra confesses she’s okay with her return – and that we’ll be seeing a different version of her this year. “I think she’s good TV,” says Tamra. “There’s a fine line and Andy Cohen talks about this. When people love to hate you, It’s still makes for good TV but when people hate to hate you, it’s uncomfortable and the line has been crossed. She was really close to that line and I didn’t know if she could redeem herself, but she does this season. I mean, she’s still Kelly, but you see a softer side of Kelly.”
Previews show Lydia and Shannon butting heads, which Tamra finds herself in the middle of. She shares, “Actually, it was very stressful for me. You see that I try to be a peacemaker and I explain to Lydia that ‘Shannon is expressive, she’s not yelling at you’ and I’m trying to tell Shannon that Lydia’s really sweet which Shannon wasn’t buying. The thing is, Shannon is intense and people take something she says in a way that she really doesn’t mean. You have to get to know Shannon and once you do, it’s easy. Shannon and I are extremely close and we didn’t start out that way when we first met.”
Despite the criticisms that Jim Edmonds seemed less than enthusiastic about having a child with Meghan, Tamra thinks he’s a great dad and that we’ll get to see that side of him. She also reserves judgment about Vicki’s new love tank filler, former homicide detective Steve Lodge. Tamra comments, “I don’t know him really well but he seems like a nice guy, also a very handsome one.”
Well, Steve may be a stand up dude, but I’m sorry – Vicki will never wash the stank of Brooks I Faked Cancer Ayers off of her. You just can’t come back from that, in my opinion. (And Vicki might not have actually quit him just yet, given speculation about them cavorting in Cabo!)
Tamra’s relationship with Vicki’s daughter, Briana Culberson, has also changed – per Vicki’s demands! Tamra explains, “I like Briana but have had to pull back because I don’t have a relationship with her mother. So, out of respect to Vicki, I don’t initiate conversations or really see her. Of course, if she writes me, I’ll write back but Vicki did say to me at one point that she would not like me to talk to her daughter. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I try to put myself in her shoes.”
Not giving too much away before season 12 airs, Tamra does hint that there will still be plenty of drama in store! “There are some friendships that get strained, but that will occur towards the end of the season so I’m not going to spoil it for you. You will have to stay tuned.”
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Photo Credit: Tommy Garcia/Bravo