Heather Dubrow made her official return to The Real Housewives of Orange County this month after four seasons away, and the show wasted no time jumping straight into the drama.
The fan-favorite found herself at the center of the conversation when a years-old moment from the past got drudged up at the season’s first full group event at Dubrow’s home. It was such an unwelcome start to her new era on the show that she considered quitting right then and there.
On the latest episode of In The Know’s pop culture interview series We Should Talk, Heather Dubrow opened up about that disastrous first dinner party of the season and why she considered stepping away because of it, things going left with Shannon, connecting with Gina and more. She also detailed why she ultimately decided to return to RHOC in the first place.
“I was completely shocked. I thought, if anything, there would be some petty nonsense [about] where someone was sitting, who broke the bow off the cake, I’m going to look controlling as I throw my party — something like that! It’s the first party, nothing needed to happen,” Dubrow told In The Know of the dinner she hosted. “I was done. I could not believe it.”
Listen to Real Housewives of Orange County star Heather Dubrow’s full episode of We Should Talk here, and keep reading for highlights from the interview:
On how she changed during her five years away from RHOC: “Being off the show, going and doing other projects and really feeling done with it… I never felt like I hadn’t completed the mission. You know what I mean? For me, there was no unfinished business there. So, that was all really good. Coming back, I think because my children are older, because I’m older and hopefully more self-actualized as I get older and maybe also because of the pandemic, I would say that I’m just a little more relaxed. And maybe, also, because most of the people I knew were gone. I didn’t feel like I had to worry about what anyone else was filming or talking about or doing or anything. I just had to be myself, show up, play the cards in front of me and that’s it.”
On the “nightmare scenario” that occurred in the RHOC season premiere: “I was completely shocked. I thought, if anything, there would be some petty nonsense [about] where someone was sitting, who broke the bow off the cake, I’m going to look controlling as I throw my party — something like that! It’s the first party, nothing needed to happen. […] I was done. I could not believe it. I got up from the table with Shannon and Gina and I go, ‘Um, I’ll be right back.’ I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my gosh! It’s like the worst nightmare scenario that I could ever [imagine]. I couldn’t even come up with this nightmare scenario that this person who I had brought onto the show sued Terry 20 years ago and Shannon’s dug it up and spread it around and made it a thing on television. Are you kidding me?! You know, there’s a code here — no kids, no careers — and this really stepped over the lines really with both, in a way. So, I thought, ‘This was a mistake. Maybe we could just salvage it, get off and be done.’ […] First we went down to the producers. You could imagine, we were not happy. Although I can’t tell you everything, I will tell you that there were reasons that we were so upset because of other things. So, we were really shocked that this was sprung on us like this. The story still could’ve been told in other ways, and we just felt like this was on purpose and we were just not happy about it. We were like, ‘We’re done. Get out. Whatever.'”
On why she forgave Nicole right away: “Terry and I went to the side and were like, ‘Where’s Nicole?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ He’s like, ‘We need to find her.’ Then all of a sudden I’m picturing all of these girls [ganging up on her], because I didn’t see what happened! Now I’m assuming, ‘My gosh, is she okay? Are they going after her? What is going on?’ That was our objective: We need to find Nicole and make sure she’s okay. […] First of all, I think she’s a victim in this. This is her personal medical information. It’s actually defamatory to spread someone’s medical information around. I thought, ‘My gosh. [This was] something that happened almost 20 years ago — and it was dropped!’ Either she thought we knew and didn’t want to talk about it, or we didn’t know and she didn’t want to bring it up for obvious reasons. It’s so long ago! People are allowed to grow up and change and have a fresh start. Here’s the thing, [it’s not as] if there was some sinister moment where Nicole was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to start talking about this!’ She wanted this buried. This is the past; she wanted none of this. We have a lovely friendship, and she didn’t want any of that. I thought it was so rotten, and I felt horrible for her.”
On things going left with Shannon: “When I left the show, we were on good terms. The first year she joined the show, we did not have a good year. But, honestly, after that, I think she and I were always fine, and we’ve talked about it. […] But I haven’t seen her very much over the past five years. We’ve texted and I’ve bumped into her. I think we both came into this season with the best of intentions. It got derailed very quickly. Why did it get derailed? You kind of have to watch how it unfolds and how we try to move forward with the whole thing. It takes some turns.”
On why she ultimately decided to return to RHOC: “This is an amazing platform. There’s no denying it. We’ve been so lucky. We are so grateful, and we’ve worked hard in our businesses and all of that to be where we are. But it really was a conversation that Terry and I had first, and then the pros and cons [of it], because it’s not an easy show to do. As you can see, truth is stranger than fiction. You have no idea what’s going to come out. So, we had those conversations. […] When Max came out as bisexual a few years ago, it was amazing, and we got a lot of love and a lot of support, but there were also so many people who are estranged from their parents or their kids or kids that had killed themselves. I said to Terry, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could open up those conversations in other people’s homes?'”
On how her family reacted to filming for RHOC again: “When we shot that [intro], that was actually the first scene shot for the whole season for anyone — that walk and then that family dinner that I had with the kids. What was so crazy about that was obviously they knew we were going to be filming and the whole thing, and even though over the past five years obviously Terry and I have had other television projects and we do press and I have my YouTube channel. My kids are used to being on camera and they’re used to having cameras around, but Housewives is kind of a different animal. I had no idea how it was going to go. We sat down to have the family dinner and after it was done we all looked at each other like, ‘That was so weirdly normal.'”
Watch In The Know’s full interview with Heather Dubrow below, and tune into The Real Housewives of Orange County Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST only on Bravo:
If you enjoyed this interview, check out In The Know’s recent interview with Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Whitney Rose here!
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