Braunwyn Windham-Burke was arguably front and center on this season of RHOC.
Now the season is over, and it looks like there is a lot more of Braunwyn’s story to tell.
There’s just one problem: Braunwyn’s castmates have been so cruel that she’s had enough.
Braunwyn opened up to Access Hollywood in a recent, lengthy interview that served as a postmortum on the season.
She is beyond hesitant to return for another season.
Braunwyn knows after this year in the spotlight that she’d once again be the center of attention "and be attacked all year again."
She has experienced this once, lamenting that "it was stressful."
"It’s not healthy," Braunwyn affirms in the interview.
She also states that it’s frankly "not fun" to be ganged up upon by all of the other Housewives.
Braunwyn has more than enough on her plate as it is without feeling that harpies (or an eagle) are feasting upon her liver only for it to regrow anew each day.
Speaking of her liver, however, she reveals one staggering effect of all of the pressure from her castmates.
The vicious attacks made her feel tempted to, in desperation, drink just to avoid them.
“Before the reunion I was right there next to my bed, on the floor, crying hysterically,” Braunwyn confesses.
She admits: “I almost drank — I mean this is horrible to say — I almost drank."
Rather than drinking to cope directly, Braunwyn explains, she was tempted to do so "because I thought if I drink, I can go to rehab and won’t have to go to the reunion.”
Braunwyn explains that, at the time, it “seemed like a perfectly logical explanation."
If you have ever been in a desperate situation where you felt like anything would be preferable if it allowed you to escape, you know how real that kind of irrational thinking can be.
“I almost drank so I wouldn’t have to do my job,” she shares, her eyes welling with tears.
“My sobriety is not fake," Braunwyn affirms.
"And this is hard," she emphasizes, "and I do struggle.”
Sadly, some people have ghoulishly declared that her alcoholism, sobriety, and even sexuality are "made up" for storylines. In addition to being absurd, these accusations are backed by no evidence — only contempt.
On the season finale, Braunwyn was confronted by her various castmates. In some cases, it was a real challenge to face them. Others just had questions.
Gina Kirschenheiter asked if she still loves her husband, Sean Burke, since she had just come out as a lesbian.
“I love him,” Braunwyn answered. “We made a commitment that we’re going to fight for our marriage and that was the commitment we made and that’s what we are currently doing.”
Of course, Emily Simpson had her own thoughts to share during the confessional, calling Braunwyn "selfish."
“I think every decision Braunwyn makes in life is to better Braunwyn," Emily opined.
In addition to being bold words coming from an apparently unashamed Trump supporter, that’s … barely even an insult, if at all.
Braunwyn and Sean have resolved to remain committed to their marriage.
The two of them have seven children together and have shared their lives with each other for decades.
Of course Braunwyn holds great affection for Sean. They don’t have to share a bed with each other to do that, or to cherish and co-parent their children.
Countless couples have dealt with the same issue after one — or, in some cases, both — come out as gay.
Accepting and embracing your sexuality and who you really are does not magically erase your former life.
If you want to put it all behind you, that’s one thing. But when you have kids and so much personal history, many people over the years have chosen to simply redefine their marriage instead of end it.
Other fans have questioned how Braunwyn didn’t know that she was a lesbian some time before Baby #7.
The delicate answer is that, in a homophobic society, it takes incredible courage and introspection and a little bit of luck for most people to break through cultural expectations and recognize who they really are.
The indelicate answer is, well, she was drunk.
Braunwyn began drinking as a form of self-medication when she was in her early teens, getting wasted at a party and realizing that suddenly, she wasn’t so miserable.
This was the beginning of her alcoholism, and she remained more or less in an alcoholic blur for most of her adult life … with one exception.
Braunwyn would stop drinking when she got pregnant. When it was safe to drink again, she would go right back to perpetual intoxication.
Braunwyn had had sex with women before — in "threesomes" with Sean, though she said that he did not actually participate.
Still, she identified as a straight woman.
It was only after she confronted her alcoholism and began her sobriety journey that Braunwyn actually began to view herself honestly.
The result has no downsides. Braunwyn has a girlfriend, Kris.
Her husband seems to have a new gal pal of his own.
Meanwhile, the couple’s amazing children get to continue to have the support and affection of both of their parents.
Braunwyn and Sean are married but not together. Is it weird? Well, it’s probably pretty weird for them. Adjusting to a new dynamic is rarely easy.
But ultimately, the people who have a problem with Braunwyn’s life — which does not impact them at all — are probably at least a little homophobic. Otherwise, why do they care so much?
We hope that her castmates tread carefully and do not catch themselves straying into being homophobic themselves. There’s a fine line between an on-camera "learning opportunity" and getting canned for bigotry.