Elizabeth Vargas has been accused of being money-obsessed, but her childhood was anything but luxurious as she’s revealing just how traumatic and humble her upbringing really was. During a recent podcast interview, Elizabeth shared stunning new details about growing up in a cult and how it affected her.
Elizabeth’s fellow Real Housewives of Orange County cast members haven’t quite been able to figure the new co-star out just yet. They’ve claimed that her stories are inconsistent and Braunwyn Windham-Burke admittedly even played detective by doing some digging into Elizabeth’s financial background.
During a dramatic conversation with Braunwyn on the December 23 episode of RHOC, Elizabeth opened up and admitted that she saw her ex-husband, Bernt Bodal, as a “meal ticket.” Bernt was actually married when Elizabeth met him, but she explained to Braunwyn that marrying him was the opportunity she needed in order to escape poverty and her horrific background. She confessed that she became obsessed with the wealth and lifestyle her ex provided, even going as far as to call herself a “monster.” However, she claims she has seen the light and that’s not really the person she is or wants to be going forward.
Then, Elizabeth unexpectedly broke down and reluctantly revealed that she grew up in what she called a “religious cult,” describing it as a “very abusive, religious environment” where she was told “to shut my f*cking mouth or I’d be thrown under a bridge.'”
“I was raised in a very, very religious situation where I was told to absolutely not open my mouth, or tell the truth about what was happening,” she revealed. “And I have a very, very hard issue with stopping the compartmentalization because I grew up in this horrible situation. It’s why I don’t let people get to know me — I throw big parties, but no one really knows me.”
In an interview earlier this month with Heather McDonald on the Juicy Scoop podcast, Elizabeth dove even deeper into her past and revealed that her paternal grandmother was actually the leader of the “cult.” When asked if the followers were required to tithe 10 percent of their earnings like other religious organizations, the star explained that the members were actually required to hand over their entire income to the leader, her grandmother.
“More than [10 percent], your whole income,” she explained. “We all lived on a ranch; we all lived on the same property. We lived in trailers and some of them were homeless on the farm and [my grandmother] lived in a mansion.”
Elizabeth obviously loathes her grandmother, who is now deceased, and she even joked about the manner in which she died.
“In fact, when she died, she died of constipation. No sh*t,” she quipped with a roaring laugh. “She got everything she deserved and I’m very bitter about it, so yes I have some anger about her.”
After her breakdown on the show, it’s unclear if Elizabeth actually sought out or received therapy, but she does seem to be in a better place since filming wrapped on season 15 of RHOC and says she’s proud of how far she’s come.
“It was very, very intense what I went through. And to be where I’m at today, I’m very proud,” she declared.
RHOC Live Viewing – This is also the live viewing thread for tonight’s new episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County season 15, which airs at 9/8c on Bravo.