Tamra Judge and her husband Eddie Judge have been together going on eight years now. But although their relationship is one of the strongest in the history of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, the 49-year-old CUT Fitness owner has wondered whether their love might actually be the thing that pushed her estranged daughter Sidney Barney away.
On Monday’s all-new Real Housewives of Orange County, Tamra once again opened up about her quest to reunite with her 18-year-old eldest daughter — with whom she hasn’t had regular communication since Sidney decided to live full-time with her father (and Tamra’s ex-husband) Simon Barney in 2015.
In a tearful conversation with Eddie, Tamra compared her situation with Sidney to the way she alienated her father as a kid when grappling with her parent’s divorce.
“My dad ended up marrying my mom’s best friend. And I felt like he was choosing this woman over our family,” Tamra revealed, explaining later that she had isolated herself from her father for nearly a decade. “I didn’t really talk to [my] dad for 10 years. I mean, we talked, but we weren’t close for 10 years. And it was all divorce. Divorce just destroys families.”
“I never really thought about the pattern that exist in my family,” Tamra confessed to viewers. “I turned my back on my dad because I didn’t like how he was dealing with the divorce. I do feel like Sidney’s doing exactly the same thing to me.”
Eddie wondered whether Sidney might feel the same thing about her mom’s relationship with him.
“I don’t know, it could just be a coincidence, but truth of the matter is is that she left four months after we got married,” Tamra said. “Even though she thinks you’re good for me, I think maybe it could have been too much.”
“Maybe that’s what pushed her over the edge? Maybe I was too wrapped up in my new relationship and my wedding — I just didn’t give her the attention that I needed,” the Orange County Housewife added, breaking down in tears. “Maybe if I just stayed married to Simon, I wouldn’t be going through this.”
That could be the case — but Tamra surely would have had a slew of other problems on her hands had she stayed with Simon. The former couple, who were married for nearly 12 years, had a contentious relationship and were often seen fighting on camera over Simon’s frustration about the way Tamra parented, dressed and carried herself around her friends.
“He doesn’t like me,” a tearful Tamra revealed on the season 5 finale, her last before divorcing Simon. “I’m scared that he’s going to get mad at me. I’m scared all the time. His words hurt me. He gets this look on his face — he looks like hate. I don’t know anymore. I’ve never felt so much pain in my whole life. Nobody knows.”
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Since leaving Simon and marrying Eddie, RHOC fans have seen a complete transformation in Tamra. “Our love has grown,” she said Monday. “I knew the first two times I got married that I probably wasn’t going to stay married. I would say those were practice marriages. All I can say is third times a charm.”
That was only made clearer by the way Eddie supported Tamra as she poured her heart out about Sidney. “It’s nothing you did,” he told his wife. “You can’t change the past. It’s just a matter of time until you’re going to have a relationship with her again. But you got to be patient.”
“I don’t really have a choice. It’s not in my hands,” Tamra responded. “It’s like sudden death — here you have a child in your life and then all of a sudden they walk out the door and you just don’t see them again.”
As emotional as things were between Tamra and Eddie on Monday, it was nothing compared to a candid phone call between Tamra and her mother Sandy seen elsewhere in the episode.
While Tamra seemed poised for a fight about Sandy’s absence at the Erasing Families event and the ways in which her mother had been avoiding trying to help Tamra with Sidney, she was taken off guard when Sandy broke down in tears.
“This whole thing is so hard for me,” Sandy told Tamra. “I can’t do this anymore. I mean it’s almost worse than a death. Because she’s there and we just can’t get to her. It’s just too much. I keep praying and praying and praying and God doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t fix anything for us.”
“Every time I get my hopes up I get slammed right back down to the ground again,” Sandy continued. “I just don’t know how to handle it anymore.”
Tamra understood — admitting mistakes have been made on both sides and assuring her mom “it’s getting a little bit better.”
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Sadly, since filming ended, it appears things haven’t gotten better.
Despite all uniting at Sidney’s high school graduation in June, Sidney went off on her mother in a lengthy Facebook rant on Aug. 8. In the post, she accused her mother of doing “things that were toxic” and called Tamra “the true parent alienator” — alleging Tamra of being “neglectful,” selfish, and “mentally and emotionally abusive” during their time together and adding that Tamra, “was no mother to me.”
Her words were hard for Tamra. “All I’ve ever done is love you from the second I found I was pregnant,” Tamra wrote Sidney on Facebook. “I’m sorry you hate me so much. I fought so hard for you. I will always love and hope you realize one day how wrong all this is. So hurtful and not necessary.”
She also pushed back on Sidney’s claims of neglect and abuse later on Instagram, writing, “I love my daughter and I would NEVER abuse, hurt or neglect her in any way.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.