Vicki Gunvalson Says She's Quitting Real Housewives of Orange County: 'I Will Always Be the OG'
Vicki Gunvalson, who was one of the first stars on The Real Housewives of Orange County when the show premiered back in 2006, received a loving tribute from Andy Cohen after revealing the news
The “OG of the OC” is saying goodbye.
“I will always be the OG of the OC, but it’s time to say goodbye to The Real Housewives of Orange County,” the 57-year-old Coto insurance saleswoman wrote, before referencing her famous party catchphrase. “It’s been an incredible ride for 14 years and I want to thank all of you for your support, for your love and for ‘whooping it up!'”
Gunvalson went on to share that she’s embarking on a new chapter filled with “new projects that will be exciting, empowering and inspirational.”
“My podcast with Westwood One will be launching soon and I will have much more to say about this on Whoop It Up with Vicki,” she wrote. “I hope you will join me with my new journey so please stay tuned.”
She concluded the post by thanking her fans, as well as RHOC‘s network and production company.
“I love all my fans, and I want to thank Bravo and Evolution for this incredible experience, which my family and I have will never forget,” she wrote.
A rep for Bravo had no comment, but this is a huge change for RHOC, which is prepping to film its 15th season.
As fans know, Gunvalson has appeared on the Bravo show — which was the first of what would become many Real Housewives franchises — since its premiere in March 2006.
She went on to give the show some of its most iconic moments, including her infamous “family van” freakout in season 1 and her shocking relationship with ex-boyfriend Brooks Ayers. She’s routinely made headlines throughout the years for, among other things, her controversial opinions, hot tempter (on display with her recent feud with costar Kelly Dodd), and history of trips to the hospitals during cast trips.
More than anything, she loves to “whoop it up,” especially with close pals Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador. Well, that, and to claim that she put the Housewives franchise on the map.
Last season, Gunvalson moved to a reduced role on the series, appearing as a Friend of the Housewives.
Back at BravoCon in November, Gunvalson hinted at a possible departure from the show, explaining she’d only come back to the series if it was for a full-time spot.
“I’m never coming back reduced again,” she said frankly, explaining that signing a “reduced role contract” was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
Her comments were starkly different than what she said back in August, when she told Jerry O’Connell on his talk show that she doesn’t have any plans about walking away from the reality franchise she helped turn into pop culture phenomenon.
“Our producer, Scott Dunlop, said, ‘Unless they kick you off the horse, don’t voluntarily get off the horse.’ So, I’m still on the horse!” Gunvalson said. “I’m still riding the pony.”
“I don’t know what my future is, but I’m having fun and they’re my friends,” she added. “I have very much love for my franchise — a love for what I’ve created [and] a lot of love for my cast, we’ve been through hell and back. But truthfully, it’s our reality. It’s what my life has gone through for the last 14 years. And it’s been some bumpiness.”
But that love seemed to be gone by the season 14 reunion. Days before filming, she dropped a lawsuit she originally against Dodd, Bravo, and Evolution Media — which she has filed all in an attempt to stop the airing of defamatory comments Dodd made that Gunvalson felt would harm her reputation and her business.
When at the reunion, she appeared irritated to have to wait for her camera time. “I started this show 15 years ago,” she was seen screaming backstage on the episode. “You put me on or just let me go. F—ing just let me go if you don’t want me anymore. Let me go in grace!”
In addition to her many new projects, Gunvalson recently got engaged to her boyfriend Steve Lodge after three years of dating.
The two are planning on wedding sometime soon, she has said.
RHOC executive producer Andy Cohen addressed Gunvalson’s exit with an Instagram tribute on Friday.
“I remember the first reunion I did with Vicki Gunvalson. Occasionally our eyes would meet as I grilled the other women, and she would wink at me optimistically and effervescently as both of her deep dimples shone,” Cohen, 51, wrote — captioning a photo of the two of them.
“She kept winking at me Year after year, and it always made my heart smile,” he continued. “Vicki is an original, who remained her authentic self from her Family Van-freakout through her last reunion. It’s so hard to remain exactly who you are after being on television for so long, but Vicki is one of a kind. Thank you for everything, @vickigunvalson – what a ride. And it’s not over. … ❤️ ? #RHOC.”
Previously, Cohen had revealed on his SiriusXM radio show that there was possibility of new blood on the original Housewives franchise.
“The casting for next season is some of the best casting we’ve had,” Cohen said, adding that he “[has] not been this excited about casting” in a long time.