"The Real Housewives of Orange County" faced a serious issue head-on when Part 3 of the RHOC Season 8 reunion show aired Monday night (Aug. 26) on Bravo.
Early in the episode, the conversation turns to Vicki Gunvalson's boyfriend Brooks, and why Vicki's daughter Briana refuses to be around him. Vicki immediately gets very edgy, and attempts to shut down the discussion at every turn.
"He's done some things that are very shocking and extremely disrespectful," Briana reveals of Brooks. "And he's proven himself to be somebody that I don't trust around my family."
Vicki insists, "And that's that," and threatens to walk off the set if the conversation continues from there. But host and moderator Andy Cohen coaxes her to explain how she is feeling. "We go back to [ex-husbands] Don and Mike -- they've both been disrespectful to me too," Vicki says. "So maybe there's a pattern that I have to look within to help myself."
When the other housewives ask Vicki why she would stay with Brooks, she backtracks. "There's been a few instances," Vicki says. "It's not an every day thing or I wouldn't be around it."
Briana then tells her mom to "break the pattern" and says, "It should be a one-time thing. Cut the cord; bye."
Just like in earlier episodes of Season 8, Vicki waffles on whether she and Brooks are still an item.
When Vicki's RHOC co-star Heather Dubrow asks whether the "disrespect" is "physical," an edgy Vicki replies, "No it's never been physical." Briana's facial expression indicates she is biting her tongue, and Vicki raises her voice to insist, "It's never been physical. Never has he touched me. Ever."
At that point, Briana motions zipping her lip. But when she then calls Brooks "creepy" and says, "He talked to me about his d*** size," Vicki gets up and storms off. She quickly returns to the couch, however, when Brooks is brought out.
Brooks starts by apologizing to Briana for carrying on a relationship with Vicki while she was still married to Don. As far as the alleged "disrespect," Brooks says, "We have all said things -- done things, drunk, angry or whatever -- that we wish we could take back." But Briana gets heated and starts dropping F-bombs on Brooks when he denies telling her husband to start hitting Briana "to get her to fall in line." Briana says that the 45-minute conversation between her husband and Brooks is recorded.
"Do you know I was physically abused as a child?" Brianna asks Brooks. "You tell my husband to start hitting me? ... I heard the recording probably a million times. I listened to that over, and over, and f***ing over." Brooks says the comment was taken "out of context" and Vicki leaves the stage again.
But she comes right back to defend Brooks against the "bashing" he is receiving and tells Cohen, Briana and the housewives, "I'll say this. [Brooks has] never laid a hand on me ... He has never touched me. Never has touched me, ever." Vicki admits she knows about the recording, but has refused to listen to it.
The topic is so intense that Vicki's co-star Lydia McLaughlin gets up and leaves the set in tears. As Brooks continues to press the issue, Briana makes it very clear: "I don't stand for abuse."
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers help 24/7 at www.thehotline.org or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE.
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