Real Housewives fans were absolutely shook when word got around in the spring of 2019 that Vicki Gunvalson, the self-proclaimed “OG of the OC,” would only be returning to Real Housewives Of Orange County in a “friend capacity.” That means Vicki has had to hang up her orange and just appear on the show occasionally to choose sides in fights, drink wine, and hopefully name drop Andalé. Bummer!
In her place, though, is a new RHOC housewife who is ready to bust out and make her own mark on the long-standing franchise: Braunwyn Windham-Burke. The Orange County newbie has a long name, a lot of kids, and a friend in Kelly Dodd. According to her BravoTV.com bio, 41-year-old Braunwyn was introduced into the crew because she and Kelly Dodd are both members of the Balboa Bay Club.
Braunwyn has seven — yes, seven — children, ranging in age from a baby to teenagers. She also has nannies to help, and she’s taken all of this childcare and wild kid energy and channeled it into a mommy blog, Barefoot In Heels. Her husband’s name is Sean, and he’s the CEO of a company called Channelstars. I guess somehow, they make this whole giant family thing work.
Braunwyn is obviously more than just a mother, but since not many people choose to have seven children these days, a lot has been said about her huge family. She told PEOPLE that although she originally wanted five kids, she ended up with seven, and she’s been breastfeeding those assorted kids for about 18 years straight. Um, wow. That’s a lot of time spent with a kid attached to you.
Hopefully, spending time with all those babies will prime Braunwyn to get ready for the screaming match that is the majority of a Real Housewives Of Orange County season. Quiet these women are not, and the more established Housewives like Tamra Judge, Vicki Gunvalson, and even Shannon Beador (to an extent) are that kind to newbies. In an interview with Bravo’s The Daily Dish, Braunwyn admitted that it wasn’t easy breaking in with Vicki.
"I think Vicki’s just now starting to realize that I exist," she laughed. "Otherwise I think I had a very easy time. From what I’ve seen, I had a pretty easy time as the new girl. I was welcomed pretty quickly by everybody." She went onto say that even Shannon was nice to her right away, which is surprising, but since Shannon has a new man and a new outlook on life, perhaps she's turned over a new leaf.
Braunwyn seems like she’s ready to jump into her new role of housewife wholeheartedly. "You get me a babysitter and take me out of my house, I'm going to make the most of it," she told Entertainment Tonight. "And these women are fun. They know how to have a good time, and I just instantly had a connection with all of them."
And being on the show has actually made her family stronger, Braunwyn told ET, adding that it's allowed her to be herself, "I have another side to me and that's OK." Amen to that!