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Fans of the Housewives series are obviously used to witnessing drama on a grand stage – or a not-so-grand stage – but the past week has been a tad more hectic than normal for Real Housewives of Orange County's hiatus. O.G. star Vicki Gunvalson officially quit the show after her demotion in Season 14, and less than a full day later, longtime star Tamra Judge also announced she is leaving the Bravo reality show ahead of Season 15. What's more, Judge almost immediately purged RHOC-related people from her social media.
Let's break down Tamra Judge's Real Housewives drama a bit.
Why Did Tamra Judge Quit Real Housewives of Orange County?
Having joined the Real Housewives franchise back in Orange County's third season, Tamra Judge was the longest-running full-time cast member through Season 14, largely because of Vicki Gunvalson's recurring "Friend" status that year. It appears the show's producers sought to give Judge a similarly limited presence in Season 15, and the reality star was not interested.
Here's how Tamra Judge explained her exit to People:
It’s been a wild ride, and after all these years, I’m looking forward to life away from the cameras. I was offered a chance to come back to the show in a limited role, but would prefer to walk away on my own terms.
It's strange to think about a reality star's exit being comparable to a scripted show like Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going out on its own terms with its upcoming season, but it's clear that Tamra Judge decided that opting out completely was a better route than signing on for whatever limited role the producers offered. After twelve years as a main attraction, Judge was not interested in getting a sideshow consolation in Season 15 that was only as long as her Tamra's O.C. Wedding spinoff.
For those wondering what the limited role consisted of, a report from RadarOnline claims Tamra Judge was offered three episodes out of the presumed 20+ installments on the way for Real Housewives of Orange County Season 15. The biggest insult was reportedly the pay; while Judge was making $900,000 a season previously, she would have earned $20,000 per ep. for a $60,000 total in the upcoming season. If those totals are genuine, then it would have been quite a demotion on all fronts.
Those same sources claim that Tamra Judge was the last to receive her pick-up contract for Season 15, where all of the updated limitations were listed. It was also reported that the network producers wanted Tamra Judge to be the connective tissue between the veteran cast members and the new wave of Real Housewives that are meant to draw in younger viewers. Neither one would inspire very optimistic thoughts from the receiver, and Judge's recent social media activity implies she's had some negative thoughts indeed.
Tamron Judge Goes On Real Housewives Social Purge
Tamron Judge went public with her Real Housewives of Orange County exit on social media, as seen below. But notice how she does it without ever using the Real Housewives name or an RHOC hashtag.
Beyond that, Judge went on an unfollowing spree. As TooFab notes, the list of now-former co-stars and Real Housewives-related accounts that Judge stopped following includes long-time co-star Shannon Beador, Kelly Dodd, Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, the Real Housewives official page, and franchise executive producer and head promoter Andy Cohen, who also hosts the reunions and other specials.
It's worth noting that Tamra Judge didn't unfollow Vicki Gunvalson on social media, signifying a camaraderie between the women. Here's how Gunvalson responded to Judge's announcement:
We have shared so many great and not so great times together and it has been the ride of our lives. Thelma and Louise .... now where do you want to go?!
With the recent exits, there were questions about whether or not Shannon Beador would be returning for Season 15. Though not confirmed, her presence was hinted at by Judge's choice to remove her on IG while still keeping Gunlavson around. If only social media existed in Sherlock Holmes stories.
Sans Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunlavson, Real Housewives of Orange County will return to Bravo for Season 15 presumably in Summer 2020. Check out all the big shows premiering before then with our Winter and Spring TV schedule.