Both on Bravo and on social media, we have all been horrified by Noella Bergener’s brutal divorce.
More than just sad, the The Real Housewives of Orange County divorce is mostly just very odd.
For some reason, Noella was served with divorce papers from Puerto Rico.
Noella has had a lot to say. Now, her ex-husband is claiming that she’s been lying about everything.
As Noella’s painful and shocking story has played out on our screens, Noella has been reliving it all five months later.
In addition to the severed finances and alleged abandonment of their young son by James, much of the discussion has been about Puerto Rico.
Why did James refuse to sell the house to settle his massive debts? Why did he file for divorce from Puerto Rico?
James has now taken to Instagram to insist that Noella’s version of events range from misleading to totally false.
According to him, he and Noella moved to Puerto Rico in late 2020, establishing permanent residency in early 2021.
Though Puerto Rico is part of the United States, it is a Commonwealth, and James says that they signed legal documents pledging to permanently reside there.
According to James, Noella — who had previously appeared on RHOC in a guest role — only left their Puerto Rica home in May of 2021.
The sole reason for her departure, he alleged, was to appear on the reality series.
James added that he did not follow her, but instead remained in Puerto Rico.
James claims that he informed Noella in late July that he did not want their son appearing on the show.
Their son is two years old.
According to him, it was around this time that James learned that Noella planned to file for legal separation.
The next day, he filed to divorce her.
James’ post says that the divorce was not "fraudulent" as Noella has described it.
He adds that a local judge ruled that Puerto Rico was an appropriate venue for the divorce.
James insists that the divorce was fair, as both parties were represented in court by attorneys.
Apparently, their marriage formally ended on December 8, 2021.
Financial and custody issues remain unresolved, James says, despite mediation.
James also writes that he has repeatedly made efforts to see their son.
One particularly cruel and painful part of Noella’s account has been that James has not seen their son even once.
According to her, he has expressed interest on a few occassions, but backed out or flaked out.
James posted screenshots that he seems to believe prove that Noella was admitting that they lived in Puerto Rico.
While she certainly seemed to be enjoying the Commonwealth, she had previously acknowledged that they had purchased a vacation home there.
Noella was quick to re-share another post calling out James and accusing him of making this move to avoid paying his debts or any alimony.
Puerto Rico does not have standard alimony payments as part of divorce.
As we here at THG have noted in the past, some couples are stunned to discover local divorce laws and wish that they had obtained a prenup.
However … this is an unusual situation, even among divorces that include nasty surprises.
Noella and James were together for six years.
They were married for about one year before things fell apart.
In all of that time, it sounds like they only spent a period of several months residing in Puerto Rico.
We here at THG do not claim to have any special knowledge of the divorce, the facts of their marriage, or the veracity of either party’s claims.
However, while some of what has been said could be open to interpretation, some statements made by one ex are contradicted by another.
It seems that Noella and James are accusing each other of lying. We’re sure that this will get a lot uglier before it’s over.