Noella Bergener never thought she’d go toe-to-toe with Heather “Fancy Pants” Dubrow during season 16 of the Real Housewives of Orange County.
“The only person I never had that deeper level of connection with was Heather,” the RHOC newbie tells Page Six. “I get that she perceives me as a threat and wants to keep me at arm’s length because I’m being honest.”
Throughout season 16, Heather and Noella butted heads on several occasions. Heather became disenchanted with Noella after she gave her 17-year-old daughter, Max, a Pride-themed card set that turned out to be “pornography” as a gift for the release of Max’s LGBTQIA+ memoir.
“If I knew what was in it, I would not have given it as a gift to anybody,” Noella explains, noting that she was completely unaware of the card deck’s explicit content.
“I literally went on Amazon and put in ‘LGBTQ+ gifts for teenagers’ and if it’s bisexual-friendly, even better. I just bought the first five things and put it in a nice little rainbow bag with rainbow tissue paper. Obviously, the thought was there. Obviously, I meant no malice,” she added before agreeing that the card deck was “insanely inappropriate.”
Noella chalks up Heather’s outrage over her gift to “straight fragility,” a claim Heather denies stating she has several LGBTQIA+ kids.
“Me going out of my way as a bi woman to give a bi girl [Max] — who celebrates her sexuality in a very beautiful way, as do I — I didn’t think that that could ever be twisted into something that’s pretty disgusting and pretty gross and pretty dark,” Noella explains. “Leave it to Heather to take this magnificent moment of celebration and turn it into something that just makes my skin crawl.”
Oddly enough, Noella initially thought she and Heather would hit it off when cameras started rolling for season 16 of RHOC.
“As somebody who’s watched the show, I always thought that she was phenomenal. I had no clue that we’d be bumping heads. That was nothing I wanted. I was very happy to just be in her presence,” Noella says, claiming she was turned off by Heather’s inauthentic persona.“When I found out that [Heather] was putting on a facade and I went deeper, it was like, ‘Oh s—t.’ [It was a] never-meet-your-heroes kind of thing.”
Despite their issues, Noella is hopeful that one day she and Heather can repair their fractured relationship.
“I’m hopeful. I think that everyone’s capable of change and growth,” she says. “That’s what we’re here on this planet to do and I will never say never. I’ve forgiven far worse. So, yeah, if she’s game, then I’m game. But it’s hard because so much has happened and honestly, I do feel like the injured party in it.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs on Wednesdays at 9 pm EST on Bravo.
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