If there’s one thing Jules Wainstein is remembered for from her single season on The Real Housewives of New York City, it’s the awareness she brought to eating disorders by sharing her own lifelong struggle with one.
In a new interview, the RHONY one-season wonder is looking back on her decision to open up about her battle with bulimia, how it was received by her fellow Housewives and the impact her story had on fans watching the show.
“I have no regrets talking about my eating disorder on the show,” Jules said to Bravo’s The Daily Dish in a new Life After Bravo segment. “Eating disorders are a very secretive disease. I thought it’d be really healthy and a big part of my recovery if I did speak about it. I always say, ‘secrets keep you sick.’ By speaking about it, then I could do the opposite. It was one of the biggest moments of my recovery.”
Jules spent much of Season 8 going toe-to-toe with Bethenny Frankel over the subject, with the veteran Housewife bringing up her mother’s past demons surrounding her own eating disorder. However, instead of bonding the two women over their common ground, the topic exacerbated tension between them, with Jules constantly feeling judged and ridiculed by both the OG and Carole Radziwill over her weight, appearance and eating habits — silverware in the calzone, anyone? — and Bethenny constantly projecting her childhood trauma onto the vulnerable newbie. Eventually Jules tearfully and bravely confessed during one particularly explosive meal at Joanne Trattoria that she had relapsed while filming.
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“It’s OK to say that I had, I’ll call it an episode or a binge-and-purge moment,” she said. “I feel like the girls on the show didn’t understand that. They were giving me a hard time like, ‘Oh my god…’ I remember I said, ‘Yeah, three days ago I did,’ and they were like ‘[gasp] Like, you’re so sick!’ I’m like, ‘No! Like, that’s so brave [and] amazing of me to tell you that because someone who is sick won’t tell you that.'”
Ultimately, regardless of whether the other ‘Wives understood the battle she had gone through to conquer her bulimia, Jules sees her time on the show as positive because of how many other people her story was able to reach.
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“I’ve received thousands of letters, DMs, Facebook, Twitter…like from strangers, of how much I’ve helped them in their recovery,” she revealed. “I would get letter from fans that would say, ‘You were that light switch’ or ‘I just needed somebody that gave me hope.’ It was just so amazing that my one season, I gave someone that hope. It was so worth it; it was everything.”
Jules also posited during the interview that it’s possible her cast mates could’ve come to a deeper understanding regarding her eating disorder if she’s stuck around for Season 9.
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“That one season, I was maybe misunderstood,” she said. “You know? ‘Cause if I did a second season, maybe people would’ve understood my recovery better. I would love to show people that in my recovery, life is normal. I don’t think about food, like, all day, all night, in therapy, suffering from an eating disorder.” She concluded, “I live my life like everybody else; I’m doing great and I’ll keep on doing better. That’s how it works.”
TELL US – DO YOU WISH JULES HAD STAYED FOR ANOTHER SEASON? DID SHARING HER EXPERIENCE WITH AN EATING DISORDER HELP YOU?
[Photo Credit: CJ Rivera/Getty Images]