Braunwyn Windham-Burke’s Daughter Reveals Near-Death Experience With Eating Disorder as Rowan Shares Where it Stems From, Plus RHOC Alum Braunwyn Teases Memoir

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Braunwyn Windham-Burk Reveals Rowan’s Eating Disorder, Opens Up about "Terrifying" Time When Her Daughter Was on "Brink of Death"

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Although Braunwyn Windham-Burke left The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2021, her unshakable honesty made an impact on fans.

After her first season aired, Braunwyn opened up about her struggles with alcoholism, and she came out as the first openly gay ‘Housewife.’

In a Page Six interview with her daughter Rowan, Braunwyn shed light on the teenager’s eating disorder, which almost became fatal.

“All I wanted as a mom was to fix it. What can I do to fix it? And there was nothing I could do,” said the Bravo star. “Once she hit 18, it was becoming harder. I wanted to fix it. She wanted to be left alone. There was definitely a power struggle, I would say. [She] wanted to do it [her] way, I wanted to do it my way.”

She went on to say, “When you’re a parent and you see a kid who hasn’t eaten for, like, 30 days, is 25 pounds underweight than they should [be], literally on the brink of death, and can’t even eat a single vegetable, that’s scary, it’s terrifying.”

The mother and daughter used to argue about her food intake, and sometimes, it reached a level of screaming. In a now-deleted YouTube video, the RHOC alum begged Rowan to “eat a f—king vegetable.” The comment (which was made in 2020) “stuck with [Rowan]” for a long time.

Now, Rowan realizes Braunwyn’s words were expressed “out of fear.”

“It was her first time dealing with this,” said the teen. “So, obviously [she] didn’t know how to deal with it; I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

“I was so afraid we were going to lose her,” said the mother-of-seven. “She was so close to dying.” At one point, Rowan was exercising four hours each day.

“I remember begging her to eat this carrot, holding her baby sister who’d just been born, saying, ‘Please eat this for her.’ In her mind, I kicked her out of the house,” continued Braunwyn. “In my mind, I sent her [to spend the night away] with Sean because I was so afraid that she wasn’t going to wake up — and I didn’t want her little brothers and sisters to find her [in that state].”

Rowan said she “would have died” if she hadn’t gone to treatment a few days later. “When you’re in the mindset that I was in, being sent away to treatment is the worst thing that can possibly happen to you,” she explained. “But it was actually something that was completely needed.”

The teen then praised her mom, saying, “I feel like, with everything that you’ve been through and everything that I’ve been through and the amount of self-growth and development that we’ve both been doing, you’re able to understand me a lot more than you ever have.”

She added, “I’m also able to understand you the most, the most out of everybody in the family because we’re the most similar.”

The Bravo star is now in her third year of sobriety, and both she and Rowan are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Braunwyn will share more stories about her life in an upcoming memoir.

“Some of [the stories] are about my sexuality. Some of them are about my own battles with food,” she said. “[Rowan] didn’t realize that I had struggled with a lot of the same things that she did. Although I’ve been open about other parts of my personality, like my addiction with alcohol, my relationship with food was actually the one I had the most shame around and I never shared that.”

For Rowan, hearing her mother’s stories “made everything make so much more sense and it also was like, ‘Oh, OK, I know where it comes from. I know the source, so I know now how to deal with it and how to work with it… I don’t think that there is a ‘fully recovered’ when it comes to these types of things because it is an everyday battle and struggle.”

She added, “But I definitely am the best that I have been since it started, 100 percent. I am the best and the healthiest, not just physically but mentally, that I have been since I was 15.”

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