Tamra Judge Calls Heather the “Biggest Disappointment” of RHOC Season 17, Discusses “Boundaries” With Shannon, and Vicki’s Return, as Taylor Talks “Learning Curve”

by Lindsay Cronin Comments
RHOC's Tamra Judge Says Heather Was "Biggest Disappointment" of Season 17, Talks "Boundaries" With Shannon, and Vicki's Return, Plus Taylor's "Learning Curve" and Live Viewing

Credit: Judy Eddy/Cover Images, Charles Sykes/Bravo

Tamra Judge didn’t have a great time filming the 17th season of The Real Housewives of Orange County with former friend Heather Dubrow.

Ahead of the RHOC season 17 premiere, Tamra and Taylor Armstrong spoke about the upcoming episodes, with Tamra taking aim at Heather, sharing her status with Shannon Beador and Emily Simpson, and commenting on Vicki Gunvalson‘s highly-anticipated return.

“I’m in such a happier place now in my life, I thought it would be fun to just go have fun with the girls and not feel the pressure of my home life and everything,” Taylor told Entertainment Tonight on June 6 of her decision to return to the Real Housewives. “My life has changed completely.”

In the years since leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor, who pitched herself for a return after appearing on Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip, has married attorney John Bluher and moved to Orange County with her 17-year-old daughter Kennedy, who she shares with late ex-husband Russell Armstrong.

But while she has plenty of history with the franchise, Taylor said joining RHOC wasn’t easy.

“Walking into an existing cast vs. a cast where we started together has been a bit of a learning curve,” she admitted. “I’m like, wait, what are you guys mad [at] each other about?!”

As Taylor joined the show as a “friend,” Tamra rejoined the cast after a two-year hiatus.

“I kind of came back not knowing what where my spot was, either,” Tamra stated. “People danced on my grave when I was fired, people thought I didn’t have a place on the show anymore.”

In August of last year, Tamra accused Emily of dancing on her grave when she was demoted on the show. However, months later, she claims the two of them are actually “really good friends.” Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about her and Heather, who questioned how she could return after becoming a “blogger” on her and Teddi Mellencamp‘s podcast, Two Ts in a Pod.

“Emily saying she’d dance on my grave when I left, I wouldn’t expect anything less of her because we didn’t really get along,” Tamra shared. “I think [Heather’s podcast] was the most shocking, because I was like, wow. You know, I’ve always supported this person. I’ve always wanted them back on the show, and then when they got back, they made that comment, so that was more hurtful than anything.”

In addition to her issues with Heather, Tamra also faced drama with Shannon — at least at first.

“It didn’t end well,” she admitted of their initial conversation. “I walked out on her, and it took awhile for us to — a little while — for us to get back on track, but once we did get back on track, it was like no time has passed.”

Now, Tamra claims their relationship is “easier” now than ever.

“She’s in a better place in her life,” Tamra noted. “Like, back then it was… Shannon was a lot. She was unhappy, and we would talk all day long, and now I feel like she’s in such a better place.”

“We’ve put up boundaries, and I think you’ll probably see that and us talking about that,” she continued. “And we stick to those boundaries. We learn, and it’s just… you know what? We are truly like sisters. I love her, I hate her, I love her, I hate her. We can argue about things, but at the end of the day, Shannon’s a good person. She’s got a good heart and that’s really all that matters to me.”

As RHOC fans will recall, Vicki also experienced challenges with Shannon but was able to make amends with her longtime friend amid filming for the new season.

“Do you know that that’s the first secret Vicki’s ever kept in her entire life, I think?” Tamra joked about Vicki’s return to the show. “I had no idea she was coming. We had invited her, but she said that she had to work, so when she knocked on the door… I started screaming, she started screaming.”

Also on season 17, viewers will be introduced to newbie Jennifer Pedranti, who was once a close friend of Tamra’s.

“She met her boyfriend at our gym which caused big havoc,” Tamra teased of their drama. “Where the confusion lies is that she told me prior… ‘Oh no, I told the whole story…’ So I openly talked about it! And then I heard, ‘Well that’s not what she’s telling people…’ and I’m like, huh?!”

“But she’s a great girl, she’s a lot of fun, I think she fits in, I think that she’s in for the long haul,” Tamra added.

Looking back, Tamra said Heather was her “biggest disappointment” of the season, and Taylor agreed.

“And I don’t mean that in a negative, mean way,” Tamra explained. “Just something happens at the end that I was really shocked… and disappointed.”

Meanwhile, Taylor said her feelings were hurt by Heather.

“I had known Heather prior, just socially, and always had a nice hi/bye kind of relationship with her. So, I was really surprised, of all the people that I thought it would have friction with, I never saw that coming,” she revealed. “And it kind of comes out of nowhere.”

“I felt… dismissed,” Taylor added.

As for the rumors claiming season 17 could be Heather’s last, Tamra said she doesn’t believe them.

“I think that Heather definitely has a spot on the show. We need fancy pants, for sure. I don’t think it’s the end for Heather by any means,” she stated, before adding, “Well, I might’ve ended her … If she doesn’t come back, it’s because of me!”