Meghan King Edmonds is in many ways an underrated “Real Housewife “in the Bravo franchise. Part of the cast of Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOC) she reportedly almost didn’t become a main cast member this season since she spends significant time away from the OC. Thankfully, however, she is back and I’m glad. She’s an outspoken woman unafraid to verbalize her concerns and address the elephants in the room. What viewers don’t see on TV is how she is also an ardent feminist and passionate about social justice issues. On RHOC, she was the one that famously got to the bottom of Brooks Ayer’s cancer claim, exposing Vicki Gunvalson’s (now former) boyfriend for the fraud he was.
Unlike prior seasons, the drama on RHOC - which is really the “magic” of any Housewives show - has been notably stilted so far in Season 12. It seems that the ladies filmed separately and there’s chemistry lacking between cast members. New addition Peggy Sulahian, who has been in the U.S. since she was a year old and was an English major in college (according to her daughters), seems to be either word-challenged or putting on an act, while insane accusations fuel the blogs and social media.
The Internet fodder is more fiery than the dynamics between the ladies on TV, so I had to ask Meghan: What in the hell is up with that? I instantly felt like she was a friend I could commiserate with because she understood my sentiment that the ladies generally weren’t “bringing it” this season. As you’ll read in our discussion below, she did assure me that there is major drama up ahead when the cast takes their annual trip - this time to Iceland.
I listened to your recent interview with comedian Kate Casey on her podcast Reality Life. I agree with Kate: I understood the sadness you felt when you discovered you weren’t carrying both of the embryos you had implanted. I feel bad that you got criticism for that, but I’m happy you were able to have your daughter Aspen.
Thank you. I’m obviously so thankful and appreciative and I adore my daughter and love her more than anything, but at the time and especially in that moment you saw on TV, it was a loss. I felt it and there were emotions hitting me. I wasn’t expecting the negative viewer reaction to that.
What’s really bizarre and interesting about this season of RHOC is that there seems to be little drama onscreen as compared to what’s on the blogs and on social media.
I know, right?! it’s so weird. I don’t understand that! I feel like people are taking the blogs really seriously this year. It hasn’t really happened like this before.
It feels like everyone filmed separately and I’m not seeing as many of the dynamics between the ladies as compared to last season.
That’ what Kate Casey said too. I feel like it’s not that way. The executive producer said to me that she really wishes we could film more individual stuff because she felt like there was so much happening within each of the ladies lives, and she wishes she could film more private things.
Who of your cast mates do you see when you’re not filming?
I’m good friends with Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador. I was also close with Kelly Dodd and we would talk and hang out now and then. It’s hard currently because Jimmy and I summer in Idaho and it’s this kind of escape like an adult summer camp. We sort of disappear there and then will come back to Orange County, then hop around to Saint Louis until baseball season ends in October...The life that I live is so unrelatable, my friends (off of the show) can’t even understand it. I see the ladies when I’m in town, but traveling is so non-stop for me that I don’t even get to see my family.
I was surprised Kelly came to your house after the heated text exchange you two had between seasons. What went into your mind when welcoming her in to your home after the break you guys took?
When that whole text thing went down, I was seven months pregnant and I wanted a healthy, stress-free pregnancy and decided to just let it disappear. Kelly tries to be so nasty and she doesn’t think about anything other than hurting someone when she’s angry, so instead of being mad at Kelly, I was upset my friend had the full intention of hurting her other friends. I felt bad for her - how can anyone like that find joy in her life? You really have to be a sad kind of person. Something is off. That was my reaction. She gets relentless and doesn’t let up. We didn’t talk for a few months, but then I thought about her redeeming qualities, about how she’s funny and a lot of fun to be around, so I wanted to keep her on the periphery. I didn’t want to totally let her in. Jimmy didn’t want to let her in our house. He gets so upset when people try to hurt me. I’m able to shrug it off a lot better than he is.
We see Jimmy is such a caring father and I just get this sense that he’s been seen as grumpy in the past because he has to comment on drama between the ladies and he’s not interested in it. Candidly, I KNOW many other husbands who would be the same way. They would all get the ‘grumpy edit’ if they were on reality TV.
Oh my God! Pull it together for just 5 minutes, dude! Just humor me for 5 minutes. He says ‘They make me look bad anyway. You’re the one getting paid, not me, I have stuff to do too.’ (laughs)
You see how he really adores Aspen. Were you surprised by how obsessed with the baby he is?
I expected it, honestly. I didn’t expect our love for one another to grow exponentially as it has. We have gotten so much stronger and that’s what has surprised me more than anything. I knew he would love the baby, but he’s a lot more helpful and hands-on than I expected. He wants a hand in everything and of the 2 of us, he’s so scared. He acts like the first-time parent and I act more like the 5th time parent.
Going back in seasons, what made you investigate Brooks Ayers and not trust he really had cancer?
It was hard. The first thing that made me investigate was what you saw in the first episode of that season when I met at the Vicki party in her house. LeAnn (Edmonds Horton), Jimmy’s ex wife who passed away, was a good friend of mine and she really did have cancer. At first, I thought it was good to be filming with someone who I could commiserate with and who I would have this mutual understanding with. Then, when I brought it up, Vicki’s reaction was one of massive defensiveness. I was taken aback because I had never met someone touched by cancer who was so defensive. I could see it in her and I’m a very intuitive person, so it was then and there that I was like ‘hmm okay.’ I talked to Brooks about it and he acted somewhat more normal, but still pretty evasive. It wasn’t clicking for me. The thing that really made me want to investigate was when Tamra said she was also suspicious. I knew I had to figure this shit out, so I did! At the same time, it was my first season and I knew that I was taking a risk. I was aware that if this backfired, I could be hated by everyone for investigating it.
Kudos to you for taking that chance in your first season.
It’s something I would never have done in real life, but I felt strongly because Brooks had a major platform being on this show and claiming he had cancer. This was while my friend was truly dying of cancer and that made me more passionate about finding out the truth.
We see you filming with Vicki. You two have been through a lot! Are you both able to get along this season or has the whole ‘fake cancer debacle’ put a sour note in your relationship?
It absolutely has! I will never trust her and we’’ll never be close because I was disgusted by that, but at the same time, she does have redeeming qualities. She’s fun as long as you don’t get too deep or share too much. I think of her as a ‘surface friend’ and that’s where I would like to keep her. It’s hard to do, but we do it.
What was your initial impression of new cast mate Peggy Sulahian?
I thought she was standoffish and cold a little bit...I mean, it initially seemed like she was trying to be friendly, but didn’t really know how...
Peggy expresses on the show that she doesn’t want the other ladies dwelling on silly things, but how can you be a Real Housewife on Bravo with no rehashing, harping, yelling and bashing? That’s what every Housewives show is about. How do you get away with that?!
Yeah, right?! I don’t get that at all. It makes no sense. I really don’t understand how they cast her.
That’s what’s stumping all the viewers and fans. How well did you get to know Peggy?
I don’t know her. I didn’t have chemistry with her at all.
I feel like that’s the general consensus among the cast with the exception of Vicki Gunvalson.
Vicki doesn’t know her either - Vicki is full of shit! ‘Oh, she’s nice..’ That’s like the standard words you say about someone you don’t know. Filler words. If I were to describe the ladies that I know well, I would say ‘Shannon is expressive and emotional, she’s quirky and has a great heart. She’s loyal.’ I’m not gonna be like ‘Shannon’s nice. Shannon has a great family’ Those are standard filler answers.
Is there anything ahead this season that you feel will really surprise viewers, something that finally brings the drama they’re craving?
Oh my God, wait til Iceland! You’re going to shit your pants. It’s a crazy twilight zone, one thing after another-trip. The sun doesn’t really set there so it felt like it was a never-ending, non-stop barrage of insanity. Seriously, what went down there - it’s not all bad, but it’s crazy mind-blowing. I felt like a fly on the wall thinking ‘how is this even happening?’ From the rooms we stayed in to the things we did to the interpersonal relationships, everything is taken to the next level. I have absolutely no clue as to how that trip is even going to be edited. I could see 4-5 episodes come out of it.
Inevitably, the most famous New Yorker was brought up on RHONY this past season. So, if Trump was the 7th Housewife on RHONY, the 7th Housewife on RHOC is ______.
Wow, hmmm, that’s an interesting one. I wish Trump really was the 7th housewife on RHONY because he’d be more suited for that than his current position.
So you’re not part of that ‘Republican Vibe’ I’m getting from RHOC...
Oh my God! I feel that compared to the other women, in terms of social views, I look like a bra-less feminist with my armpit hair down to my knees! There’s not enough room for me to express myself in that little OC box. Jimmy is pretty conservative and we’ll be out to dinner and run into people who have ideas about gender roles... If they get me going and I hear something, I say ‘excuse me’ and I just go off! My husband will turn to them and say ‘you’ve just disrespected women and now you have to hear about it.’ This also happens with racial issues. I’ll get into it and be like ‘this is why there’s affirmative action.’ Jimmy will say ‘okay she knows what she’s talking about, let her go.’ He loves that I am the way that I am and he’s very supportive and proud.
I don’t know who the 7th Housewife would be....oh, hell, I know who it is! It’s DIKO (Sulahian)! He wants to be on this show more than Peggy. He’s the guy who’s giving the fancy gifts and he loves the spotlight. He’s a good guy, but he totally loves it.
At the end of the interview, Meghan says she will be speaking with her psychic. I make an offhanded remark about how I’m not really into psychics and she tells me I would totally change my mind if I spoke with hers. Her psychic will also be on RHOC this season and I’m guessing there will be drama attached to that appearance as well (with psychics and Real Housewives there usually is). Stay tuned. It sounds like this season is about to pick up.
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Monday nights at 9/8c.