Brooks Ayers is opening up after admitting in November he forged medical records relating to his cancer diagnosis.
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE, Ayers details how the public scrutiny that came with appearing on four seasons of Real Housewives of Orange County alongside ex Vicki Gunvalson made him “the subject of much ridicule and hate,” and ultimately contributed to the end of his relationship with Gunvalson.
“I have made my share of mistakes which I regret. I pride myself in apologizing when I am wrong or have wronged others either intentionally or unintentionally,” Ayers says in the statement. “Through the first five years of dating Vicki, I was coined as a con man, low life, gold digger, dead beat, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth in reality, yet this alone makes for great TV and for controversy.”
In November, Ayers admitted he had forged documents to make it appear he had been a patient at cancer hospital City of Hope. At the time, he apologized and said he faked the documents because he did not want to disclose his real medical records. The revelation came after his cancer diagnosis had been called into question by some of Gunvalson’s RHOC costars, with the diagnosis becoming major storyline on the show. Ayers maintains he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2013.
In his statement to PEOPLE, Ayers denies speculation that Gunvalson encouraged him to forge the cancer documents or sought to use his illness as a storyline on RHOC. Ayers says when he received a cancer diagnosis in 2013, he attempted to keep it a secret. He told Gunvalson but asked her not to share the news publicly.
“However, Vicki felt compelled to share a private email later that night with Tamra Judge and Lauri Peterson along with a text to Shannon Beador asking for all of their support during this time rather than conflict. I was not okay with that at all when I found out about it, however the information about my diagnosis was out,” says Ayers.
Ayers says that when season 10 of RHOC started filming, “the antics of Vicki’s friends” put “enormous pressure on our relationship,” causing him to stop sharing details of his medical treatments with his then-girlfriend because he did not want her castmates to be privy to the information. The couple broke up in July 2015 as season 10 aired.
Ayers would go on to do a number of interviews, including a lengthy sit-down with E! News, in which he produced cancer documents the outlet later proved were fake.
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“I took the opportunity to share my frustrations of the past five years in various media outlets for the sole purpose to demonstrate to the world that I too could manufacture ‘gossip/fakeness’ and create a lot of unnecessary drama that simply didn’t make any sense,” Ayers says. “I have since apologized in a statement that showing fake documents was absolutely wrong, that Vicki did not have anything to do with it and hindsight I should have never showed anything at all. ”
Ayers closes the statement by defending Gunvalson.
“Vicki was not ‘in on any cancer scam or created storyline.’ There is no scam,” Ayers says, adding , “Second, Vicki never has paid me to be quiet regarding this ‘supposed’ scam nor has paid me to release any statements.”
Gunvalson, 53, was critical of Ayers and questioned his diagnosis during last year’s RHOC reunion show.
But in a statement to PEOPLE, she thanked her ex for speaking out.
“First of all I would like to thank Brooks for once and for all speaking out on this, and for reiterating what I have said numerous times,” Gunvalson tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “Over the last year I have been bullied, belittled, and humiliated by viewers, the media, and my so called ‘friends’. I am not now, nor have I ever been involved in covering for Brooks. I continue to wish him nothing but the best and hope that we can both now move past this difficult chapter in our lives.”
Read Ayers’ full statement below:
Once and for all, I would like to address several issues concerning my life that keep circulating in the media that I would like to clarify and get out. I completely understand that people may not believe what I am saying to be true, yet it will not keep me from telling my side of the story along with my rationale as to why I did what I did as it relates to my health and my private life.
Since I began dating Vicki in the Fall of 2010, I was the subject of much ridicule and hate. I underestimated the power of social media, fellow cast mates’ accusations, and others from my past that were given a platform to air their grievances toward me. No one is perfect. I have made my share of mistakes which I regret. I pride myself in apologizing when I am wrong or have wronged others either intentionally or unintentionally. Through the first five years of dating Vicki, I was coined as a con man, low life, gold digger, dead beat, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth in reality, yet this alone makes for great TV and for controversy. Vicki is a lot of things, but stupid? Hardly. A liar? Hardly. She is known for being a driven workaholic who demands perfection. One of Vicki s famous quotes is: You don’t mess with her family or her money. To say that I took advantage of her in these ways is absolutely disgusting and quite frankly one must "consider the source" for anyone who discounts her ability to make her own mature decisions. The same is true about me. What one never saw was my drive professionally to continue to provide for my kids and advance my career. When it comes to a TV show, drama sells and every story needs a villain and I was the villain.
Now, onto the reason why I am writing this. Prior to filming Season 10 (which began in December 2014), I was given the unfortunate news of my cancer diagnosis. Having lived under public scrutiny for the prior five years along with being wrongfully positioned as something that I wasn’t and knowing that I had a large battle ahead of me, I simply made a request to Vicki that we deal with this in a very private manner so as to keep out the noise of any questioning of my treatment choices moving forward. After all, it was MY choice and no one else’s. However, Vicki felt compelled to share a private email later that night with Tamra Judge and Lauri Peterson along with a text to Shannon Beador asking for all of their support during this time rather than conflict. I was not okay with that at all when I found out about it, however the information about my diagnosis was out. I was approached by a few media outlets to confirm my diagnosis and made a calculated decision to address it via a statement and an on camera interview in hopes that we would "put this to bed" and allow me to move forward in private. When filming began, so did the gossip with the women introducing my diagnosis on the show by referencing a blog and a Psychic’s "feeling" that there was no cancer. Looking back, it was quite ridiculous actually.
As the season progressed, I grew more weary of the foolishness of all of the antics of Vicki’s friends which, in turn, created enormous pressure on our relationship. As a result, while filming continued I began to not include Vicki in any of my medical appointments and/or details because I simply wanted to be left alone. It wasn’t because I had anything to hide, yet I wasn’t going to be bullied into doing something that I wasn’t comfortable revealing to coworkers/cast mates of Vicki’s who did not have my best interest at heart. Vicki and I broke up in July 2015 while Season 10 was still airing. I took the opportunity to share my frustrations of the past five years in various media outlets for the sole purpose to demonstrate to the world that I too could manufacture "gossip/fakeness" and create a lot of unnecessary drama that simply didn’t make any sense. I have since apologized in a statement that showing fake documents was absolutely wrong, that Vicki did not have anything to do with it and hindsight I should have never showed anything at all.
In closing, I would like to address a couple of additional issues. First, Vicki was not "in on any cancer scam or created storyline." There is no scam. I simply didn’t continue to give her information about my illness when I learned of the devious nature and intentions of the cast. Second, Vicki never has paid me to be quiet regarding this "supposed" scam nor has paid me to release any statements. Again, just because I am exercising my right to NOT share my actual medical records doesn’t mean that I am guilty of making something like this up. Who even would question anyone dealing with this disease?
Finally, I would respectfully ask that one would recognize that I am no longer on the show as I have moved on with my life in the private world and am requesting to leave me out of future discussions or conversations. Vicki was my partner for five years and I believe the show was the demise of our relationship. She is a woman of integrity and compassion, and would never lie about something so serious as this.