Braunwyn Windham-Burke, the Real Housewives franchise’s first-ever openly gay star, is speaking out about her traumatizing two years on the show.
While sitting down with Page Six for a candid interview alongside her 19-year-old daughter Rowan, who is also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Braunwyn detailed “homophobia” she experienced on Real Housewives of Orange County. And it’s honestly pretty f**king sad given the circumstances.
The 44-year-old claimed on Monday:
“Making off-color jokes about me being intimate with a woman, that’s not OK. Those are microaggressions.”
So awful! But it was all part of the drama the network was selling.
Windham-Burke came out as lesbian in December 2020 during her two-season stint on the reality series. The life change was heavily covered, but she believes Bravo missed the opportunity to tell an honest, uplifting story since they focused on the drama and negativity of her co-stars during that time. And the negativity was palpable. She explained:
“After I came out, having to prove that I was gay, that should never have been tolerated. That is a microagression. That is homophobia.”
As Perezcious readers may remember, Kelly Dodd, who also left the show in 2021, was frequently captured mocking Braunwyn for being romantic with a woman. Rumors spread through the cast, who shared their doubts about Braunwyn’s sexuality.
Emily Simpson even called the TV personality “selfish” for exploring her sexuality while still married to her now-ex-husband, Sean Burke. During Season 15, Braunwyn did admit it was somewhat self-serving but also believed things worked out the way that was best for her family; she remains close with Sean as they co-parent. Looking back, Braunwyn is furious with how her storyline was edited on the series, including her sobriety journey. She argued:
“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.”
On how difficult it was to deal with her mother’s onscreen portrayal, Rowan chimed in:
“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.’”
Preach it, gurl!
Of course, Braunwyn isn’t naive to the franchise she stepped into though, adding:
“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.”
Ugh. That’s so sad to hear. It’s hard enough to come out; we wish Brauwnyn had been more supported by those around her. Innerestingly, her journey did leave a positive impact on her family, specifically on her daughter! Rowan, who identifies as pansexual, happily shared:
“ 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.”
After watching her momma embrace her authentic self, Rowan was able to do the same:
“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.”
Aw, that’s amazing!
Because of how “toxic” the series was, Braunwyn — who is happy these days in a relationship with Victoria Brito — has no intention of returning to the show or anything “salacious that destroys family.” But that doesn’t mean they’ll be gone from the small screen for good! It sounds like they have a special project in the works and this time around, the kids are actively involved, she revealed:
“There have been some opportunities presented to us, one in particular, and I did ask the kids, ‘How would you feel about this?’”
“When we were doing some of the beginning stages of it, I made sure that the older kids were on the Zoom and they had a chance to talk and get to know the people behind it and get to know the process.”
The kids seem to be on board this time around, the LGBTQ+ and sobriety advocate noted:
“After the kids got to know the people behind this , they were like, ‘OK, I’m comfortable saying yes. I can do this.’”
That’s not all either! Braunwyn is ready to spill all the tea with a new book! She teased:
“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. It’s all in the book I’m writing.”
Ooooh! That’s bound to be a page turner! Check out Braunwyn and Rowan’s full interview (below).
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