How RHOC Alum Lauri Peterson Is Honoring Her Late Son Josh Waring

Lauri Peterson
Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Fans of the Real Housewives of Orange County will remember Lauri Peterson from the early episodes in 2006. During the first season, Lauri was recently divorced and left to raise her children, including her son, Josh Waring. Vicki Gunvalson helped out by teaching her the ins and outs of the insurance business. Eventually, Lauri found her happily ever after with her husband, George Peterson. But her life wasn’t perfect as she stood as Josh’s protector while he struggled with substance abuse

Lauri was always a fountain of unwavering love and tireless support for Josh, who never gave up her support. For years, Lauri fought alongside Josh, never waving in her belief that one day Josh could overcome his addiction. 

Josh passed away on Easter

Lauri took to her Instagram to share a sad update on her son, Josh. He sadly passed away at the age of 35 on Easter. Lauri shared a collage of photos, including Josh posing with her at her wedding. Lauri penned a few emotional words. She wrote, “Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, or his life. But this past Sunday, the challenge was too great.”  

The former RHOC star wrote about Josh’s childhood. “[It was] filled with deep intellect, humor, pranks, athletics, snowboarding, body boarding mountain hikes, reading, friends, and his love for music. Even during adult hardship, Josh continued to maintain his sense of humor, continued to be optimistic, continued to be kind to others, defended those that were unable to defend themselves and continued to love his family so so much!”

Over the years, Josh found himself in the headlines for numerous legal troubles. Josh’s most recent charge was in 2022 when he was found in possession of fentanyl and methamphetamines. At the time, Josh pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. In 2016, Josh spent four years in prison for the attempted murder of Daniel Lopez. Daniel did survive the attack. 

Lauri always believed Josh had been set up by the police. In a 2018 Instagram Story, she shared some thoughts. “After keeping silent for nearly 2 years in regards to my son’s arrest, I am going to begin laying out the facts of his case. And how easily it is to be falsely accused!” Lauri quit the series in 2008 after Josh relapsed from his heroin addiction. He was sentenced to eight months in jail. At the time, cameras followed Lauri, who was visiting her son at the local jail.  

Lauri adopted Josh’s daughter

Josh had a daughter, Kennady, whom Lauri and George adopted. Kennedy was born in 2012. Josh and his wife at the time couldn’t figure out how to get on the same page. Lauri once shared with the Daily Dish, “He’s really struggling, and, well, they’re both really struggling. And so George and I elected to help out and we actually adopted Kennady, and so we’re raising her.” To honor Josh, Lauri has done everything in her power to raise Kennady in a stable environment. Kennady has grown up enjoying father/daughter outings with George, a love of dance, and a doting mother. 

Josh’s sister pays tribute

Fans will recall that Lauri also had an older daughter, Ashley Zarin, who often tried to protect her brother. Ashley took to her own Instagram to share a few snaps of her baby brother from easier times. She shared with followers that Josh “was brilliant and had limitless potential, but addiction veered him off course. My heart aches for the lost opportunities for us to grow together as adults.”

Ashley’s moving words called for change within our own health system. “I mourn not only for the loss of my brother. But also for the countless others who have been failed by a system that should have been their lifeline. Their stories, like his, are a reminder of the urgent need for change, for reform, for a healthcare system that prioritizes compassion and support above all else.”

All of us at Reality Tea extend our heartfelt condolences to Lauri and her family.