A relationship that spanned years devolved into a pair of bitter exes with major accusations of fraud.
We're talking about Vicki Gunvalson and her infamous ex, Brooks Ayers.
(Seriously, what kind of monster fakes having cancer?)
These days, their only interaction is Vicki's lawsuit against Brooks. Many fans are hoping that she'll clean him out.
But other The Real Housewives of Orange County fans are still reluctant to trust Vicki herself after the whole debacle with Brooks.
How much did Vicki know, when did she know it, and when will the truth come out? Take a look:
Brooks will haunt Vicki for the rest of her days
Knowing that he was trouble from the start doesn't change how ugly this story became or how long it took Vicki to see Brooks the way that her loved ones did.
Viewers first met Brooks Ayers in Season 7
He appeared on the season premiere in early 2012, an was at the time introduced as Vicki's new boyfriend.
He caused problems right away
Tensions mounted for weeks before things exploded between Vicki and Tamra, who had serious concerns about Brooks and his intentions.
Then, in Season 8 ...
In 2013, Vicki and Brooks were still going on dates, and Vicki was told that Brooks had had some sort of "interaction" with a porn star. Brooks insists that they two were on a break at the time. Vicki did get back with him, however.
Things got serious and GROSS
Vicki's daughter Briana got into a huge fight with Brooks, claiming that a recording exposed Brooks encouraging Briana's husband to HIT her. Somehow, that's not enough.
In 2014 ...
By this point, she and Brooks are acting like a loving couple, even bonding with RHOC newcomer Shannon Beador and her then-husband, David Beador. That same summer, Vicki reveals that she and Brooks are living together ... and that he has cancer. This is the same summer when she discovers, on-camera, that her mother has died.
A lot happens
A season-long debate in 2015 surrounds whether Brooks actually has cancer, and it's all kicked off by a psychic. Also, Briana again goes after Brooks, revealing that he'd hit on her while she was pregnant. His self-given nickname? Girth Brooks. (Look, if we can't unhear that, then you don't get to forget it, either!!)
Then, the big reveal
By November of that year, at the Reunion, Vicki is ready to admit that she doesn't believe that Brooks has cancer.
Brooks still tries to prove it
He produces alleged medical documents about his cancer, which would probably have been enough if he weren't on camera. The hospital in question shoots down claims that they treated him for cancer. WOW.
That was hard on Vicki
As Season 11 of The Real Housewives of Orange County begins in 2016, she starts her long journey to regaining the trust of her friends, her castmates, and viewers.
But that's not the end of it
Vicki has since decried Brooks as a confidence man with no regard for the well-being of others.
She has happily moved on
Earlier this year, Vicki became engaged to boyfriend Steve Lodge. Though he sounds like a total prude about Vicki's very reasonable and age-appropriate outfits, he's clearly way better for her than Brooks was.
And there's more
In April of 2019, Vicki announced that she is suing Brooks for unpaid loans.
Vicki's going after him
At the very first Bravocon in late 2019, Vicki went after Brooks, vowing ot the audience: "I’m going to get that guy. I’m going to get him. We have our next hearing in December. I’m going to get him"
Liars get their due
"I'm going after him for lying," she stated. That's ... well, that's one way of looking at it, that's for sure. She alleges that she and Brooks had an agreement that he would pay her back for a series of loans, the total of which were about $184,000.
She wants him to pay up
Brooks allegedly acknowledged his debt to Vicki (which gives her legal standing, or at least that's her hope), and she wants to see all of his accounts and sources of income in order to determine how much he can pay back and how quickly.
Vicki isn't the only one who has moved on
In March of 2018, Brooks married a woman named Christy Groves.
Vicki doesn't think much of that
"He got remarried -- I think she has money,” she said at Bravocon. “We did a little bit of research on her. She’s another sugar momma that he’s probably taking advantage of."
But is Vicki innocent?
Her archenemy on The Real Housewives of Orange County doesn't think so, clearly.
See, Vicki has her friends
She and Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge are no longer at odds as they were just a couple of years ago, and are now The Tres Amigas. Their solidarity has irked quite a few people.
But they have their enemies
During this latest season, Kelly Dodd ended up going off at all three of them because the other two were in such solidarity with Vicki.
But her main enemy remains Vicki
While Vicki was furiously screeching "SLUT!" at Kelly (which is a compliment, but don't call someone that unless they're happy with the label), Kelly fired back that Vicki was a "con artist" . . . a clear reference to enduring fan questions.
What did Vicki know, and when did she know it?
She has maintained that she never lied about Steve Lodge, but fans want to know how long Vicki suspected that his cancer was a con before she was ready to say it out loud at the Reunion.
Strange words ...
After all, Vicki predicted that Meghan King Edmonds would be divorced -- almost right down to the exact date. How could a woman so perceptive about a castmate be so, so wrong about her own romance. Did love blind her to everything that everyone, from Tamra to Briana to common sense, were telling her?
Perhaps the truth will come out
If Brooks doesn't show up to court, he risks Vicki being granted exactly what she wants. If he does show up, an intense back and forth in a lawsuit could dredge up all sorts of things about their relationship history. Fans would be very interested in hearing what Vicki knew and when she knew it, especially in the form of sworn courtroom testimony.