In November, The Real Housewives of Orange County fans were appalled to hear Eddie Judge dismiss Ryan Vieth as just a loser.
As shocking and inexcusable as some of Tamra Judge's son's behavior as an adult has been, mental health is a real issue.
Ryan has debilitating depression and Tamra is fearful that her eldest son's state of mind could worsen.
At least, she was fearful.
Tamra now says that Ryan has made tremendous strides thanks to therapy.
Gina Kirschenheiter has also spent time around Ryan. What does she have to say about it?
Ryan Vieth is a troubled man
Ryan is an adult man in his thirties. He is a father. He's Tamra Judge's eldest child. He also has a lot going on in terms of his mental and emotional health, including a frightening arrest on charges of domestic violence.
Recently, it has gotten worse
Though many months have passed since this, Ryan tweeted something horrible about a young transgender British child. Tamra ended up having to partially disavow his post because it was so distressing. Ranting about a marginalized child and that child's parents is just not okay, and Ryan's outlandish social media raised cries of alarm..
And then there's ... this
Ryan has, in Tamra's words, poured his own identity and self-esteem into Donald Trump. That's worrisome for a long list of reasons, from displaying a terrible taste in character to simply being an unwise emotional investment. On the other hand, Ryan distracting himself from his misery by spitefully supporting the orange menace might explain a lot of what's going on in the country right now.
Ryan has been open about his misery
Tamra more or less tricked Ryan into going to the therapy that he sorely needs, which is when he made some distressing admissions.
For example ...
Ryan feels that he is worthless, that his life has no value or meaning, and that he's a piece of garbage.
That broke Tamra's heart to hear
She has made no secret of the fact that she blames herself. She had Ryan when she was a teenager. She graduated high school while pregnant. When she married Simon Barney and Ryan experienced a structured household at 13, he experienced culture shock and rebelled.
Now, she is haunted by her choices
Tamra knows that she cannot fix the past, but is there something that she or Ryan can do to change the present? Part of that equation is the therapy that Ryan has been attending.
Eddie Judge has been less sympathetic
Eddie spoke on RHOC and later claimed that it was taken out of context, but it sounded like he was suggesting that Ryan should just "get over" his childhood and personal history. There's a huge difference between holding someone accountable for their actions and acting like someone's debilitating depression is no big deal. Eddie sounded like he was doing the latter.
Now, it sounds like Ryan may be taking real steps to improve his cognitive wellbeing and to turn his life around.
Tamra has an update
Tamra sat down with castmate Gina Kirschenheiter for the The Real Housewives of Orange County after show, where the Housewives reflect upon what went down on the show.
Tamra opens with the usual spiel about Ryan
She feels so guilty for the way that Ryan's life turned out, becuase she knows that if she'd made different choices, things now would be very different.
She notes that he's envious
Her son Spencer has opportunities that Ryan did not, and not all of those are financial and educational, but she does refer to college, specifically.
Gina listens sympathetically
She has her own opinin to share, but she lets Tamra talk first. Ryan is Tamra's son, obviously.
Even the show has impacted things
Gina notes that even the show can help give the kids of Housewives new opportunities -- from Instagram endorsement deals to social clout, though of course it's not without its pitfalls. Ryan didn't have any of that, and his recent appearances ... are not really going to have most brands seeking his endorsement. We're not being mean, just honest. But Ryan can turn part of that around.
Gina is totally in Ryan's corner
"I think he gets a bad rap," Gina opines. "I don't know Ryan very well but I have hung out with him a handful of times."
Here's her assessment of him
"And he's like a really nice, sweet, polite guy..." Gina praises. "Very good dad."
Tamra chimes in
"He's super nice, polite, just a homebody," Tamra says. "Doesn't even really drink, hardly ever. Doesn't do drugs."
Is it from the therapy?
A producer asks that very question, and Tamra says that yes, it's the result of therapy.
So, has he REALLY changed?
It might not matter. True or not, Tamra just handed Ryan a giftwrapped opportunity to rehabilitate his image in the eyes of Real Housewives fans. Will he take the opportunity? Or will he self-sabotage and double down on some of his more polarizing public statements because he doesn't think that he deserves to be liked.