Real Housewives of Orange County begins its 10th season Monday. How does one sum up a decade’s worth of shouting, crying, and backstabbing? “It’s really been a blur,” original cast member Vicki Gunvalson says to EW. “There are some things I wish I didn’t put on TV. I get more private every year. People don’t need to know every little thing,” she says. Eager viewers who dissect cast members’ every glance and word would probably disagree, but Vicki’s quick to assure staunch fans that this season is going to be a great one.
There will be plenty of drama, despite Vicki’s assertion that she hates fighting and conflict. “That’s not who I am. I want to walk away or cry when it happens.” Tension may arise from the addition of new housewife Meghan Edmonds. “I don’t know Meghan very well. She doesn’t really live in California,” Vicki says. “I’m 53 and she’s 30; I could be her mother. She doesn’t have children. She doesn’t work, I don’t think. We don’t have much in common. But she’s good eye candy and she’ll bring in younger viewers.” (Expect fireworks later this season after Meghan accuses Vicki’s boyfriend, Brooks Ayers, of faking cancer.)
To get ready for tonight’s premiere, we asked Vicki for her best and worst memories from the past 10 seasons of RHOC. Among her favorite memories:
Taking erstwhile assistant, Tammy, to get a bikini wax. “Tammy had never had one before and absolutely hated it. She thought she’d never be able to go potty again,” says Vicki. “She actually quit a week later. Little did she know it would be on TV and DVD for all of posterity.”
The limo switch. Headed to Europe with ex-husband Don and five others, Vicki ordered a big stretch limo with amenities galore. “What showed up was a tiny blue minivan. I thought Bravo had done this on purpose as a joke. They called and wanted to film my departure, saying sometimes it could make for good footage, so when that van showed up, I thought I was being punked. But Bravo didn’t have anything to do with it and my order was just screwed up.”
Visiting Italy with her mom and daughter. “It was great because I had my mom and Briana there; three generations of women from our family. I remember my mother wouldn’t throw coins in the fountain because she didn’t want to have to go back. Briana and I still talk about this trip.”
And Vicki’s worst memories include:
Brooks and Tamara’s Evil Eye Fight. At Heather Dubrow’s house, Tamara Judge and Vicki’s boyfriend Brooks got into a skirmish about throwing the stink eye around. “Any conflict involving Brooks is really unfortunate. He’s not a cast member. He’s a grown up and no one should be yelling at him. Every time he films, he seems to be the subject of mockery and criticism. This season, you won’t see him much because he’s got to focus on his cancer and his business. And cancer isn’t funny, so the girls shouldn’t make fun of it.”
Filming after a nose job. After getting her nose redone, off-camera, Vicki got back to filming a bit too quickly. “In between season six and seven, I had surgery and didn’t think we’d start back as fast as we did. I got my contract a week after and the next week we were filming. I was still very swollen and I remember showing up to shoot at Heather’s house and looking like a moonface.”
Divorcing Don. “This was like a bad dream. We weren’t filming when I filed the paperwork, but the press got ahold of it. It was so difficult on Don and I, and the viewers and my fellow cast members found out so fast. It was horrible to see our personal life dragged into the spotlight like that.”
Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.