When RHOC alum Braunwyn Windham-Burke came out as a lesbian in December of 2020, she became the first openly gay housewife in Real Housewives franchise history.
While it was an important moment in Housewives history, Braunwyn is now speaking out about how her castmates treated her when she decided to live her authentic life publicly, including making jokes about her sex life and doubting that she was truly gay after she came out.
In a new interview, Braunwyn and her daughter Rowan sit down to discuss the emotional stress of filming during her time of personal discovery.
Braunwyn opens up about the discrimination she felt while filming
“Making off-color jokes about me being intimate with a woman, that’s not OK. Those are microaggressions,” Braunwyn told Page Six while speaking about her co-stars. “After I came out, having to prove that I was gay, that should never have been tolerated. That is a microaggression. That is homophobia.”
Rowan, who is 19 and also part of the LGBTQIA+ community, defended her mom, saying, “It’s really invalidating that people were saying they didn’t believe it or they didn’t think it was true. Not just for my mom, but for other people who come out later in life. It’s insanely invalidating to hear people say, ‘Oh, she’s just lying. Oh, it’s not true.’”
Current Housewife Emily Simpson said in a confessional that Braunwyn was selfish and narcissistic for exploring her gay identity while still married to now-ex-husband Sean Burke. She and Sean are still best friends and work together to co-parent their seven children.
Braunwyn blames production for letting a comment like that be aired on Bravo. She also revealed that the production crew manipulated the storyline to make it more salacious, telling PageSix, “One one hundredth of what we film makes it onto the show. So you can choose what you want… It was not easy to be the first gay ‘Housewife.’ There should have been a little more grace.”
She explains, “At the end of the day, it’s a show about drama but you need to have some humanity at a base level and I didn’t get that with my cast members.”
Braunwyn feels at peace about her exit from the show
The mom of seven and motivational speaker left RHOC in 2021 after only two seasons on the show. Both she and her daughter adamantly said they would never return to Housewives, and called the environment toxic.
Braunwyn also plans to pen her memoir, which will surely include secrets from her time as a reality star. “Filming takes a lot of time but the emotional stress that my cast members put me through, there was a lot of lies made up about me. Most of them I haven’t even addressed,” she revealed. “It’s all in the book I’m writing.”
As far as her daughter Rowan, Braunwyn was honored to be a part of her own discovery. “[My mom] was a big part of me actually being able to find that identity and that label. I went by bi for a while but then I realized that it wasn’t actually bisexuality because I love every single different kind of gender and everyone,” the 19-year-old dancer said. “That helped me a lot, not just with sexuality but knowing myself as a whole, which helps along my journey of becoming a better person, a better me — better mentally, better physically, just knowing myself.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.