One week after the mother of seven proclaimed she is an alcoholic on the Real Housewives of Orange County season 15 premiere, Braunwyn looked back on her alcoholism reveal before suggesting Bravo covered up her addiction issues during season 14 and sharing how Lala, of Vanderpump Rules, helped her through the early moments of her sobriety.
“It was intense,” Braunwyn said on the October 21 episode of Give Them Lala… With Randall of the moment she first admitted to being an alcoholic. “When I filmed the confessional where I said that, it was in the midst of quarantine so I’d been very isolated. For me, it was almost cathartic talking to my producer. It was like therapy.”
“When I sat down and told my producer we were going to do this, I think I was three or four days sober. I committed to this without thinking it through,” she continued.
According to Braunwyn, she was over drinking throughout the 14th season of RHOC but believes viewers didn’t recognize her issues because she received special treatment from Bravo.
“They tried to protect me. You don’t see me passed out on the chair later. They didn’t air the third day in Miraval when I was walking around with a bottle of tequila in my purse, drinking it straight,” she admitted.
Plus, she added, her alcoholism was easily masked by the fact that those around her were also drinking.
“When everyone else is drinking excessively, it’s easy to blend in,” she explained.
While Braunwyn had attempted to get sober on a number of occasions over the past several years, it was a moment in Miami that prompted her to reach out to her husband and let him know she needed help.
“Sean was [the first person I told that I needed help]. We were in Miami at the W Hotel. I was on a four-day bender and I knew we were going back to filming. At that point, I’d been drinking around the clock,” she recalled. “I hadn’t stopped and I was hiding alcohol. I was doing all the typical stuff [and then] I had this moment of clarity. I said, ‘I can’t stop drinking and I need to stop.’”
Following her revelation, Sean informed Braunwyn that if she didn’t stop drinking, she would not be welcomed to join him and their children on an upcoming ski trip.
“He said, ‘If you take one more drink, you’re not going on the ski trip. You’re going to rehab.’ And I haven’t had a drink since then,” Braunwyn revealed.
After agreeing to stop drinking, Braunwyn detoxed on her own.
“It was so physically painful. [Sean] literally had to sit on me because the withdraw was so painful. I was pacing around the house,” she explained.
Once she was through detox, Braunwyn reached out to Pump Rules cast member Lala in hopes of learning more about how she was able to stop drinking while filming the series.
“I messaged Lala two or three days later because I knew she was sober and I said, ‘How did you do this? Can I do this?’ And Lala was so sweet. She got right back to me. She’s like, ‘I’m proud of you. You can do it,’” Braunwyn shared. “I didn’t know in the climate of the shows we film… Is it possible to stay sober on a reality show that has a lot to do with drinking? And [Lala] was like, ‘Absolutely.’”
Although RHOC often encourages drinking, Braunwyn said that if it weren’t for the show, she likely wouldn’t be sober today.
“There has been so much support from everyone at Bravo, cast, crew, everyone,” she continued. “Someone from Evolution held my hand and took me to my first meeting and sat in that chair with me for the whole hour because I was so broken and embarrassed and I couldn’t get in that door on my own.”
Also during her interview with Lala and her fiancé, Randall, Braunwyn explained how her addiction has impacted her kids.
“I went to rehab 10 years ago so my older kids have been through this before. They’ve seen me hit bottom. They’ve been on this rollercoaster with me since they were little. So they knew and they were grateful I was getting help,” she explained. “This definitely affected everyone and everyone is in therapy to deal with it, [including Sean].”
“I put my older kids through some hellish years,” Braunwyn added.
The Real Housewives of Orange County season 15 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.