Vicki Gunvalson was a mainstay of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and of the entire franchise, for 13 seasons.
Then, for Season 14, she accepted a demotion to "Friend" in order to stay on the show ... as a guest star.
Many had assumed that this meant that Vicki was desperate to remain on the show and would accept whatever Bravo wanted.
That no longer appears to be the case.
Vicki has announced that she's done filming for the Real Housewives and is moving on. Wow.
Vicki is done!
As you're about to see, Vicki is making it clear to her fans that she has no problem leaving RHOC in the dust.
It started on Friday
On Friday, November 8, Andy Cohen snapped a selfie, announcing that the Season 14 Reunion special was about to be filmed. "About to start filming the Season 14 #RHOC reunion. FOURTEEN YEARS!!!!!"
Vicki was on the hype train
Sharing a glimpse as she prepared for the special, she captioned her post: "Are you ready to Whoop it up? I’m getting ready for season 14 #rhoc Reunion. #keepitclassy #standmyground #ogoftheoc #bravo #woohoo"
It's been a complicated season
Vicki was one of the very first Housewives, ever, and she reigned for 13 seasons. Only this season was she demoted to a mere "Friend" of the Housewives, losing her Orange.
Fans say that it's beneath her
One commenter wrote to Vicki: "Vicki, you need to be done with that show. In my opinion, outside of Shannon, at times, you are so much better than the females on that show. I had to stop watching many season's ago. Mainly because of Kelly and Tamra. Please let it go and look forward to the life you have long wanted with Steve!"
Some even boycotted
"Never watched the season boycotted it when you were not a regular," a fan shared. "And I have been a faithful watcher since day 1."
She has many fans in her corner
"Vicki I will be watching!" a commenter vowed before the Reunion taping. "You are such a beautiful person inside and out. They better bring you back as a full time for season 15! We all love you!"
Then, Vicki posted THIS
"It’s a wrap," Vicki Gunvalson's Instagram update announced. "Season 14 reunion done."
She made a stunning announcement
"Now onto my new projects," Vicki wrote. That's not what you write, generally speaking, when you are looking forward to your role on Season 15.
Her message ended:
"Thanks stevelodge_oc for being my rock," Vicki concluded. While it's not unusual for a Housewife to give a shoutout to her fiance, it almost sounds as if his advice or at least emotional support played a role in this decision.
Is the OG really out?
Like we said, announcing that you've finished filming and then declaring that you're moving on to other projects sure doesn't sound like you're sticking around for the next season.
Fans are worried
Vicki has been central to the show and few can imagine what it would be like without her.
Others are cautiously optimistic
Some are even hopeful. Real Housewives casting shakeups can breathe new life into the show -- sometimes.
Has Vicki's time on TV run its course?
There is an alternative theory floating around that would explain the apparent finality of Vicki's post.
Maybe it's a tactic
Last January, Vicki was locked in negotiations with Bravo to try to remain a Full Housewife. That fell through, and despite reportedly promising to get engaged in order to have a storyline, Vicki was still dropped to just a "Friend." She doesn't want history to repeat itself.
Maybe she's playing hardball
Making a show of not needing your reality career is the professional version of playing hard-to-get. It sounds like Vicki could be laying the groundwork to negotiate her way back to the top.
She was very relevant in Season 14
Even as a "Friend," Vicki showed up constantly and was integral to some of the drama. Sure, Shannon clashed with Kelly Dodd, but that's nothing like Vicki's feud with Kelly.
The hate that these two harbor for each other -- despite their brief truce after hugging it out -- would be hard to duplicate. Most of the Housewives just get moderately annoyed with each other. Vicki and Kelly truly despise each other. It seems like a shame ot not capture that on camera.
What makes us think that Vicki may want back in?
Well, just days ago, Vicki dropped a lawsuit against Bravo, NBCUniversal, and Kelly Dodd personally so that she would be allowed to film the Reunion. Kelly had said something that was allegedly defamatory about Vicki's business, and Vicki was trying to preven it from airing.
Vicki wouldn't have done that ...
... Unless appearing in the Reunion mattered to her. Some Housewives have done Reunion specials just to say goodbye. Others have skipped their final Reunions because they were so over it. Vicki abandoned a legal battle, risking her business being badmouthed on TV, just to film the show again. That seems eager to us.
But maybe she does quit
Whether she has quit or isn't asked back, it sounds like Steve Lodge would support her if she doesn't return to the show.
But of course he would
We never really got the vibe that Steve Lodge was looking for fame, even though he did appear on the show with Vicki. For Steve, it was probably more like indulging in her hobby.
Is this the end of the Tres Amigas?
On the show, it might be. Then again, the drama of the Tres Amigas might be a factor that encourages Bravo to pull out their checkbooks and ask Vicki what it will take to get her back.
But that could take a while
NeNe Leakes herself had to spend a whole season off camera before Bravo came crawling to offer her a tremendous payday to take back her Peach. Vicki may need to sit out a whole season if she really wants the payoff -- if that works for her.
For now, prepare to say goodbye to Vicki
If this is a ploy and she ends up returning to the show, we should hopefully know by January. Just ... don't hold your breath.