Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge's contentious relationship is pretty central to The Real Housewives of Orange County. These feuding frenemies are former friends, but sometimes that's how life works out.
One major gripe that Tamra has with Vicki is that she blames Vicki for spreading rumors that her husband, Eddie Judge, is gay.
That storyline has actually become pretty controversial.
Under attack from her co-star, Vicki is trying to clear the air -- not with Tamra or Eddie, but more with the general public.
As we mentioned, the rumors about Eddie Judge's sexuality and sexual history, which have come up repeatedly on The Real Housewives of Orange County, are controversial.
Not just on the show, but with outside audiences.
Mostly because sexuality rumors are never nice and can come across as homophobic. If you appear to be teasing someone with something just to hurt their feelings, one assumes that you believe that thing to be bad.
One can argue that it's just Tamra who flips out about it and that Vicki and others only repeat the rumor because it elicits that reaction, but no matter how you look at it, the allegation of gayness is being used as a weapon.
Another sticking point for some viewers is that, as too often happens, the "Eddie is gay" narrative erases the existence of bisexuals.
Plenty of people who are married to another gender had had same-sex relationships in the past. That doesn't mean that they "used to be gay."
But while Tamra doesn't come out of this looking great simply because the rumor seems to get under her skin more than it should, the lingering storyline of this rumor has reflected poorly on Vicki Gunvalson, who is often seen as its architect.
So now Vicki is out doing what looks a lot like damage control.
In a very, very lengthy interview with TooFab, Vicki Gunvalson addresses the Eddie Judge rumors and also speaks directly to the LGBTQ community.
Vicki describes how the rumor came to be passed around the RHOC stars -- and says that Tamra seemed to be the one who brought it up.
"This started in 2011 when Tamra was dating him. So this isn't anything new Tamra just started to bring up."
Tamra, she says, brought it up when the Housewives were in Ireland.
"So we get on the bus and it's pitch black out. I got my hat on and everyone has their earphones in and then Tamra goes up to Kelly in the midst of other things prior to that happening on the bus, and the cameras were off, down under the bus. No cameras were up."
Well, at least it was off-camera.
"Tamra says, 'Has Vicki ever told you that Eddie is gay?'" Vicki says.
"Now, why in the middle of the night would Tamra ask that of Kelly? Kelly shook her head because we have talked about that rumor privately but never on camera."
Vicki says that she and Tamra had discussed the rumor back when Eddie and Tamra were dating -- that Tamra had been anxious and had spoken to Vicki about it. (Remember that they used to be friends)
To Vicki, if they're happy together, she doesn't see that Eddie's sexual history matters.
"I'm glad she found Eddie, they seem extremely happy. She's the one who has made this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Because I don't care."
Vicki does say that having people discuss and question Eddie's personal history is something that he signed up for because he married a reality star.
"Our past is our past and we cannot change our past. So if Eddie had a past of being with another man then that was his choice. He's at a place now where he's married."
There are untold millions of men who are married with that kind of history, so it's a plausible scenario. The best rumors always sound plausible.
"So if you're married and you have a past that you don't want to talk about or that you don't want your wife's friends to talk about, then that means there's something more to it. He's on a reality TV show."
That argument wouldn't fly with the child of a reality star -- nobody asks to be born, and if we could all pick our parents, the Gates family and the Zuckerbergs would have many, many more children than they do.
"He married a reality star. He knew what he was getting himself into."
We might not agree that anything and everything becomes fair game for reality stars, but we'd argue that Eddie shouldn't be surprised that it's come up.
As for the scene where Eddie's supposed sexual past was brought up by Tamra's friend Ricky on camera, Vicki says that it was a surprise to her and was not in any way orchestrated.
"The producers had nothing to do with this. We were sitting at a table and we were talking like old times. It was not orchestrated, there was no script. We don't have a script."
Well, not having a script doesn't mean that things aren't orchestrated. But we're willing to take Vicki at her word that the producers didn't tell them to have that conversation.
And Vicki addresses LGBTQ fans of The Real Housewives of Orange County, saying that she absolutely does not consider insinuations that someone has a gay past as being an insult.
"Gay is not less than. If you are married to a woman and you are a man and you have had a past... deal with it! No, I don't dislike gays, I don't dislike lesbians. My best friend's daughter is a lesbian, she just got married. I don't care."
That's not the best way to phrase that, but sure. We genuinely do not believe that Vicki Gunvalson is a homophobe.
"[Tamra is] taking this and twisting it to make her feel like a victim. Eddie is a great man. I don't really give a crap what his past is."
Well, that's how Tamra gets part of her storyline. It can't all be about trying to help Shannon Beador lose weight.
"As long as he loves Tamra and he's loyal to her and monogamous to her as his wife, I'm good because I care about Tamra. I don't know what she feels about me, but I care about Tamra and I never meant for this to be hurtful."
And she has a message for the show's LGBTQ fandom.
"To the LGBTQ fans that watch the show, I adore you. I love you."
If we had to summarize all of this, we'd guess that we'd say that Vicki Gunvalson was enjoying the Eddie Judge rumors when they were getting reactions from Tamra Judge.
But Vicki has realized, we think, that the backlash over it from viewers is doing more harm than the rumor itself ever could. So, like we said, she's trying to do damage control.