Dr. Jen Armstrong and husband Ryne Holliday were experiencing marital issues before she began starring on The Real Housewives of Orange County. But as she explained after the latest episode of season 16, the show made their personal struggles much bigger.
While looking back at the moment in which Ryne packed his bags and left their home, Jen reflected on how the series impacted their relationship as she also took aim at the way in which Noella Bergener, who was struggling to navigate her divorce from James Bergener at the time, responded to their drama.
“Ryne and I had already been having some problems but it blew it up even bigger,” Jen admitted on the February 17 episode of the RHOC: After Show.
During Wednesday’s show, fans watched as Ryne stormed off during what Jen would hope to be an emotional conversation about some hardships she’d been dealt at work.
“Not only did I not get anything in return, I got somebody walking out,” Jen recalled. “We ended up fighting because [he] walked out. It was very frustrating [and I was] hitting a wall.”
Because Jen felt like the issue was a recurring theme in her marriage, she became highly upset, especially after he left. And the following day, before she ventured to Shannon Beador‘s home for a party with Heather Dubrow, she nearly backed out of the filmed event.
“I talked to the producer that day and I said, ‘Look, I’ve been crying all day. I don’t want to go to this.’ I was crying my eyes out [on the way there]. I was like, ’Should I even go in? I don’t want to be Debbie Downer at Shannon’s party,'” she shared.
Although Jen didn’t initially want to go to the event, she found that (nearly) everyone there was quite supportive of her.
“Everyone was very supportive probably except for Noella,” she explained. “[Emily Simpson] had some really great advice that night. She had come to the breaking point as well with Shane and kind of came back from that so that was helpful.”
While Shannon was taken aback by Jen’s willingness to live separately from Ryne for “awhile,” Noella said she never related to Jen more than she did at Shannon’s party.
“Talk about PTSD! For the first time I felt really bonded to Jen,” Noella revealed. “I just wanted to help her and talk to her and give her everything I’ve learned and just really, just love on her and just be like, ‘Okay, all of our silly stuff is really irrelevant at this point. What can I do to help?’ And this is what I’ve learned. This is what has helped me.”
Unfortunately, Jen didn’t feel the same and was looking for a different type of advice.
“It’s not what I’m looking for. I’m sad right now. This is a man that I want to be with. We’re obviously at a crossroads. We’re having an extremely difficult time communicating and moving our family forward. I want to solve a problem here. I don’t want to tap out and go attack somebody. That’s not my goal. It was so far out of left field,” she said of Noella’s comments.
Also on the RHOC: After Show, Heather admitted she understood why Jen was more interested in what she had to say about marriage than the rest of the ladies.
“I think out of the group, everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses, we all do, but in the relationship space, I think I’ve got that one sown up,” Heather said.
The Real Housewives of Orange County season 16 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.
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