During last night’s episode of the Real Housewives of Orange County, we watched longtime cast member Vicki Gunvalson learn of her mother’s death. Her reaction to the news was captured by Bravo’s cameras in what was unequivocally the realest moment in the history of this show.
This segment had been teased in promos for the season, but many viewers (myself included) were unaware of what exactly was happening in the scene. The subject was cleared up by Gunvalson herself after the promo clips were released on—wait for it—Mother’s Day.
The scene occurs at a party at fellow cast member Shannon Beador’s home. Vicki receives a phone call from her daughter—interestingly, she took the call from what looked like a landline in Beador’s house and not her cell phone, which signals that the production team may have been involved in at least the staging of the scene. We see Vicki sobbing on the floor, devastated.
The other women rush in and rally around her all looking genuinely shaken and upset for Vicki. Heather Dubrow ducks out to call her husband to tell him the news, but mostly, it seems, to tell him that she loves him. And the heartbreak continues, as Vicki calls her brother asking what happened. Even though she was 83 years old, Vicki says that her mother wasn’t sick, making the news all the more shocking.
In what looks like a previously taped interview, Vicki sits down with Andy Cohen to discuss her mother’s death. He notes that during the course of 10 seasons we’ve seen her go through so much life—marital troubles, divorce, a relationship with a new man, becoming a grandmother, and now this.
In response to objections that Bravo should not have aired the footage, Vicki gives the somewhat expected answer that when she signed up for reality television she signed up for both the good and the bad to be exposed. She says she harbors no ill will towards Bravo or the production company for continuing to film.
Ironically, Vicki also shares that her late mother hated the Real Housewives of Orange County and didn’t like that Vicki participated in the show. Knowing that, it makes you wonder what she would have thought of this moment playing out on air.
But in a way, it makes sense that the woman who has been with the Real Housewives franchise longer than anyone—in her tagline this season, she calls herself “the OG of the OC”—would live out this moment on camera.
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