Tamra Judge's post comes more than a week after her ex-husband Simon Barney exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that he has been diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer

By Natalie Stone
February 26, 2020 04:22 PM
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For Tamra Judge, family comes first.

In a sweet Instagram post on Tuesday, the former Real Housewives of Orange County star, 52, shared an adorable family photo, admitting she has been hugging her children “extra tight lately.”

“My ❤️ is full , hugging these kiddos extra tight lately ?,” the former Bravo star wrote.

The snap, captured in Coto de Caza, California, featured Tamra, her husband Eddie Judge and three of her children: Spencer, 19, and Sophia, 14, whom she shares with ex-husband Simon Barney, and eldest son Ryan Vieth, 34, from a previous relationship. Absent from the snap was Tamra’s eldest daughter, Sidney Barney, 21.

Tamra Judge
From left: Spencer Barney, Eddie Judge, Sophia Barney, Tamra Judge and Ryan Vieth
| Credit: Tamra Judge / Instagram

Her post comes more than a week after Simon, 55, exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that he has been diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer.

“I’m a private person, despite what my time on reality television might say,” Simon, 55, said with a laugh. “But I wanted to speak before someone else does and uses their words, not mine. And to speak out about it so others can see how I’ve taken this fight on with optimism, and the good this has ultimately brought my life.”

“I think everything happens for a reason, I think your destiny is pretty much set for you, and you’re here to learn lessons,” Simon added. “This has been a tough lesson for me. And I’m hoping it can be a lesson for others, too.”

Despite the diagnosis, both Tamra and Simon say his current battle with cancer has brought their fractured family together.

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Tamra Judge, Sidney Barney and Simon Barney
| Credit: Simon Barney/Instagram

“It’s kind of like a new beginning for me and my family,” Simon told PEOPLE. “It’s really brought everyone closer together.”

That statement might be surprising to RHOC fans, who have been aware of longstanding tensions within the family of five.

Tamra and Barney were married from 1998 until 2011, their contentious divorce sparking an ugly custody battle. In the years that followed, Tamra and her daughter, Sidney, stopped communicating entirely, as did Simon and Spencer.

Around Smashbox Studios - MBFW Fall 2008 - Day 5
Simon Barney and Tamra Judge
| Credit: Katy Winn/Getty

Though attempts at reconciliation were made in the past, Simon’s cancer scare has changed everyone’s perspective. All now speaking again, both exes say. Simon has also seen an increase in contact with Vieth.

“The kids were split after the divorce and chose sides but, at the end of the day, none of that matters,” Tamra said. “All we have to do is rally together to make it through this.”

The mother of four also said that Simon’s diagnosis, mixed with her husband Eddie’s recent heart problems, played into her recent RHOC exit.

“It made me reevaluate my life,” Tamra said.

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Tamra Judge and Eddie Judge
| Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

“Simon had told me about his health back in November and I was completely destroyed,” she revealed. “I was a mess! This is the father of my children. Any ill will between the two us just vanished. My first thought was, ‘I don’t want to take my kids to their dad’s funeral.’ And my second was, ‘I don’t want to go back to the show.’ “

“The reality of it is, after Eddie’s heart condition and now Simon with cancer, it’s just very hard for me to want to go on a show where people are screaming and yelling and arguing about things that don’t even matter,” Tamra added. “They’ve taught me that life is precious, and you don’t get that time back.”