There’s no doubt about it that Real Housewives of Orange County’s, Vicki Gunvalson, has had her share of ups and downs that have been captured on camera and shared with us viewers. From dramatic life changes, to not so nice fans, she sat down with digital spy, and opened up about what the experience has been like for the past eight seasons. Here’s some of what she had to say
You’re the original O.C. housewife. Why do you think you stuck around on the show while others left?
Well, most of the others leaving was not voluntary. The network had a different cast member that they wanted to bring in or the other ones weren’t performing up to their level or standard, so they terminate them. So they haven’t terminated me because I’m a businesswoman, and I think they needed the good balance of what it’s like to really work and take care of your family and a lot of the other women, that was their only job. Most of America doesn’t want to see that, they want to see what it’s like to juggle and get through all this. So I haven’t been fired! I keep going on. I think that’s the biggest thing – the other cast members have been fired.
There’s a lot of talk about being famous for being famous when it comes to reality shows, but you obviously work so hard. Is it important to you that it’s in the show?
Yeah, because that’s my reality. I don’t script or fake my reality. My family’s number one, my insurance business is number two, and the Housewives franchise is a close third. Beyond that, I try to fill in my life with what my truth is. My truth is, I work. I’m not going to give up my career for a reality TV show.
Have you ever thought about leaving or thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this’?
Every year! Every year. Every year. It’s not easy to be judged, to be ridiculed, to be talked down to, to get nasty emails about: ‘You’re ugly, you’re this, you’re too old, you’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re too short’. I mean, the viewers are not typically very nice. I don’t need that in my life. I need positive people in my life and positive influences just like you do, and yeah, there’s days where I go, ‘What the heck am I doing? Why am I doing this?’ But you kind of sift out the good and the bad and you hope you have enough good to make it worth it. But every single year I have a meeting with myself and my family and we decide if it’s worth it or not. There’s many years where we’ve said, ‘No, it’s not’, and something happens that makes us do it again. It’s definitely hard. It’s not an easy choice.
What do you think it is that has kept you saying yes? Is there something in particular you really enjoy about it?
I’m not a quitter. I’m not a quitter, and I feel like the viewers still want to see me. I feel like I inspire a lot of people, and I feel that I still have… My story’s not over, and it never will be over until I’m dead. So I try to bring some good to the show, as best as I can, to inspire single women that maybe have never worked and they don’t have a degree and how are they going to support their family, well, if there’s a will there’s a way. My story is that. I’ve never had my hand out for a man to take care of me, not that I wouldn’t like it! It just hasn’t been in my cards. I think that the viewers know after seeing me for nine years, they get a pretty good picture of me. I’m not a liar. I don’t make stories up. I don’t look at the mirror every day and say, ‘Okay, how can I be skinnier and prettier?’ Sure, I want to be, I do. But that’s not the center of my universe. That is not my goal. My goal is to make the world a better place and to inspire people and to be a good provider for my family. Beyond that, I just do what I do.
You mentioned this year that you have ‘divorce remorse’ – has it been hard having your relationships played out on television?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s been very difficult. I think the show had a lot to do with me getting divorced. I think it was too much pressure on a weak marriage. I wonder where Donn and I would be now if we didn’t do the show. But we elected to do the show together as a family. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. A lot of people it does, and a lot of people it doesn’t, so it’s hard.
Do you ever regret appearing on the show?
“Absolutely, because I think that my family would still be together. But we’re at where we’re at right now, and I’m not going to look back and say ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’. There’s some really great things that have come from the show. But one of the downsides was that it broke up my family, and that’s tough to take.”
Is there anything that you wish hadn’t been filmed and put on television?
Oh, over nine years, you betcha honey, there’s a lot of that! Because I am so real and authentic, I don’t have any filter, let’s put it that way. I’m pretty transparent. Beyond that, it’s been a good experience, but there’ll be a day when the curtain closes. And when that day comes, I’ll be sad, but it’ll all be okay. At least I have a career and I have a really good one. I’ll keep building my business and that’s where I become happy.
Were you surprised by how big the show became, and all the other franchises that came after you?
I have really been surprised on how popular our franchise has become, and how the viewers really favor towards one cast member or the other. It’s been fun to talk to them when I travel around the country asking me how so and so is doing. It’s almost a bit surreal.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve had since being on the show?
I think one of the strangest experiences was when I landed at O’Hare airport last December, and a fan somehow knew what flight I was on and had a stack of over 50 photos of me that he asked me to sign.
Thoughts on what Vicki had to say? Do you think she should not return to the show since she believes it tore her family apart?