Elizabeth Vargas opened up about something very personal on the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County.
And also very disturbing.
“From zero to 13, I was raised in this religious environment,” the new cast member explained during a confessional, adding:
“My grandmother was the head of the religious cult and my father was one of the main preachers as well.”
Sounds sort of unusual and maybe a little bit troubling. But then Vargas continued as follows...
“As a young girl, I knew something was wrong with what was going on in this church.
"We couldn't wear anything else but this uniform. We couldn't eat anything but what they made us or what they shot.
"We couldn't leave the ranch — we were stuck on a commune.
"We couldn’t even go to a hospital, they knew how to control every single person on that property.”
Vargas went on to detail just why this was a terrible experience and environment.
"I felt for years I had to hide my sadness and show people I was happy," she said.
"And I found that laughter attracted people to me — it was easier to live in a fantasy world of happiness than live in my reality of depression."
When Elizabeth asked if revealing her secrets made Braunwyn Windham-Burke “think differently” about her, the latter reflected on her past problems with Vargas.
“It just makes me think better of you because now it's like I have context for all of this,” Windham-Burke said, referring to the fact that she had earlier claimed she couldn’t get Elizabeth’s stories straight.
At one point, Braunwyn even dug into her fellow cast member's personal and financial background.
“This puts everything into perspective, I regret digging up the petty stuff,” she added in a confessional.
“I wasn't a good friend when I could have been. I definitely have to make a big amends to her.”
Vargas didn't come clean with any major specifics about what happened to her.
But she did say simply on air:
“Religious abuse is the worst kind of abuse."
Later in the same episode, Elizabeth and Braunwyn joined Gina Kirschenheiter and Kelly Dodd... and Vargas broke down, saying that she was “kicked out of the church” when she told a neighbor what was going on.
“I went through a situation as a young girl that no one, no woman, should ever go through -- no girl should have to go through,” she told the group.
"We were in a church environment and all this s--t the fan, and I told my neighbor what was happening inside the church and the FBI came to shut the church.”
“You were molested?” Gina asked, to which Elizabeth said yes and added, “by many situations.”
Wait, by many men?
Elizabeth said yes again.
“We misplaced everybody,” Vargas said of her family's departure.
“I feel like I hurt the family by talking, because I was told not to say anything == I was told by the church, ‘Do not repeat what's happening, or you will get kicked out.’ … I just felt guilty.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.