RHOC’s Heather Dubrow Addresses Backlash Over Son Ace and Slams Critics Accusing Her of Using Transition to Stay Relevant, Plus She Thanks Bethenny Frankel for Support
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Heather Dubrow Says She Has “PTSD” from Season 17 of RHOC, Reveals Conflict with Tamra & Gina, Talks Taylor Armstrong Joining the Cast, Plus Responds to Claims She “Exploits” Her Kids

Heather Dubrow is no stranger to the world of Housewives. The Seven Year Stitch host made quite the impression when she joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County for the franchise’s seventh season. After a years-long hiatus from the show, Heather returned last year for season 16, and she revealed that the new season of RHOC was her most “difficult” yet.

“It was so weird coming back last year,” Heather reflected. “And then that first sushi party at my house was such a disaster that, I mean, I guess I thought it couldn’t be much worse than that, right?”


“This was not an easy season for me,” Heather admitted to Entertainment Tonight of season 17. “I think, first of all, I was dealing with a lot in my life, in my personal life with my children.”

“I could very easily sit here and say, I had a terrible season, and everyone was mean to me, and it was just the worst,” she explained.  “I mean, do I have PTSD from some things that happened? Yeah, I really do.”

A main source of contention for Heather was the return of RHOC veteran Housewife Tamra Judge, who reportedly went “nuclear” on her this season — a description Heather says “wouldn’t be inaccurate.”

Heather describes the relationship she has with Tamra today as “cordial,” but she admits they “have some things to work on.”

“There’s a few things I’m especially dreading, yes, but there’s one trip in particular that was really, really, really difficult,” she teased. “And it made me question many people and many things.”

Much to her surprise, Heather says one of those people she ended up questioning was Gina Kirschenheiter, who Heather says she thought she had a close connection with. Heather says after bonding during season 16, Gina basically ghosted her, leaving her “flabbergasted.”

“I feel like Gina should know me better than what was portrayed,” Heather told the outlet. “I mean, the season ended last year, and we were still hanging out together. I put together lunches for everyone, we all hung out together, I had Gina’s parents over for dinner, which was so fun — and her dad brought me coasters, ’cause you know I am coaster-obsessed, which was really sweet — and we had seen them in New York, we’d had dinner with them, and so it was really lovely, and I felt like we had all this time together… and then I never heard from her or saw her again and, in watching the first episode, I was like, hmm… maybe I have to re-think what happened there.”

Heather seemingly blames “head cheerleader” Tamra for the devolving friendship.

Emily [Simpson] and Gina had told me that the cast pretty much ignored them for their first three years, and I was the first person that sort of came in and was like, ‘Hey! Who are you? Let’s get to know each other…’ and that whole thing, but sometimes when the head cheerleader comes back to town, that is appealing.”

Season 17 of RHOC is making Housewives history with the crossover addition of a former diamond holder, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills OG Taylor Armstrong. She joined the RHOC cast in a “friend of” role.

However, Heather didn’t feel any warmth coming from Taylor as she revealed that the two didn’t quite mesh as well as she had hoped.

“We’re here as women to support each other, and I felt like I was supporting her and that really wasn’t taken in the way that it was offered,” Heather explained. “It went really south.”

Heather also took time to address the long-running rumors that she has pull with Bravo production and has dictated who gets hired or fired among the cast due to her “Fancy Pants” reputation.

“I mean, it’s attributed to me that I can fire people, that I can hire people,” Heather said. “There was a story that I had this season pushed four or five months because I was trying to get scenes taken out of the show. I mean, it’s silly. Obviously, I don’t have any power, at all.”

As for her people being labeling her as “pretentious” and “unrelatable?” Heather doesn’t get it.

“I mean, do I like to have a perfect party? Do I like to bring a perfect gift? Yeah, of course I do. Do I wanna try and be the perfect friend, the perfect mom? I mean, there is no such thing as perfect, but do I want to shoot for it? Yeah, of course I do,” she confessed. “I don’t look down on anyone, for what they have, for what they like, for what they do.”

Striving to be “the perfect mom” in the public eye has not come without its challenges, though. Heather faced criticism after she posted to social media that her youngest child was transitioning, and he would be going by the name Ace and using he/him pronouns. Heather’s eldest daughter, Max, came out as bisexual in 2020, and her middle daughter, Kat, announced she identifies as a lesbian last year.

“I want to make something clear: we weren’t making an announcement,” she said, referring to the Instagram post. “That subtle post … it was to stop other people from talking about our child. It is what we’re doing to try to protect our child.”

“We do have a platform. I would never tell my children’s stories for them,” Heather asserted. “I would never exploit them, but we are already known, and I want other families and other kids to know, it’s OK. This is normal, this is biology, and you’re all gonna be OK. Let’s just love each other. So, if we can help in any way? That’s a win.”

Season 17 of The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on Bravo.

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