Jules Wainstein Says Her Real Housewives of NYC Costars 'Didn't Understand' Her Eating Disorder
“I have no regrets talking about my eating disorder on the show,” the mother of two, 38, says in PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at Bravo’s new digital series, Life After Bravo, which finds former Bravolebrities looking back at their time on reality TV.
“Eating disorders are a very secretive disease. I thought it’d be really healthy and a big part of my recovery if I did speak about it,” Wainstein adds. “I always say, secrets kept you sick. Speaking about it, then, I could do the opposite.”
Wainstein joined RHONY in its eighth season; She left the franchise to focus on her children (son Jagger, 11, and daughter Rio, 8) amid a contentious divorce from her husband of eight years, Michael.
On the show, she spoke out about her lifelong struggle with anorexia and bulimia, even admitting to having a binge-and-purge moment while filming. That left her fellow Housewives confused, the ladies often questioning her recovery on camera.
“I feel like the girls on the show didn’t understand that. They were giving me a hard time,” Wainstein recalls. “They were like, “[Gasp] You’re so sick!’ I’m like, ‘No! That’s so amazing of me to tell you that, because someone who is sick won’t tell you that because they’re sick.'”
“That one season, I was maybe misunderstood,” Wainstein adds. “If I did a second season, maybe people would have understood my recovery better.”
Ultimately, Wainstein calls getting real about her eating disorder on TV “one of the biggest moments of my recovery.”
She went on to explain that since filming RHONY, she’s received “thousands of letters, DMs, Facebook [messages], and tweets — all from strangers — about how much I’ve helped them in their recovery.”
“I would get letters from fans that would say, ‘You were that light switch.’ Or, ‘I just needed somebody that gave me hope,'” Wainstein remembers. “I could cry. It was just so amazing that my one season, I gave someone that hope. It was so worth it. It was everything.”
RELATED: RHONY‘s Jules Wainstein on Her Struggle With Anorexia — ‘I Had No Energy. I Was Depressed. I Slept a Lot’
These days, Wainstein is 17 years into her recovery.
“It’s going upward,” she explains on Live After Bravo, stressing that experts say “you’re never cured from an eating disorder.”
“I would love to show people that in my recovery, life is normal,” she says. “I don’t think about food. [I’m not] all day, all night, in therapy, suffering from an eating disorder. I live my life like everybody else.”
“I’m doing great and I’ll keep doing better,” she adds. “That’s how it works.”