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Vicki Gunvalson doesn’t plan on walking away from the reality franchise she helped turn into pop culture phenomenon.
On Tuesday’s episode of Jerry O, the Real Housewives of Orange County star gave her first interview since announcing she would be stepping down as a full-time cast member this season. Gunvalson, 57, assuring host Jerry O’Connell, and RHOC fans everywhere, that she’ll be “whooping it up” for as long as possible.
“Our producer, Scott Dunlop, said, ‘Unless they kick you off the horse, don’t voluntarily get off the horse.’ So, I’m still on the horse!” Gunvalson said. “I’m still riding the pony.”
“I don’t know what my future is, but I’m having fun and they’re my friends,” she added. “I have a very much love for my franchise — a love for what I’ve created [and] a lot of love for my cast, we’ve been through hell and back. But truthfully, it’s our reality. It’s what my life has gone through for the last 14 years. And it’s been some bumpiness.”
Both Judge, 51, and Beador, 55, told O’Connell that Gunvalson is irreplaceable.
“She’ll always be the O.G.,” said Beador, with Judge teasing, “She’s be back next year.”
Bravo producer Andy Cohen also had some words of encouragement for Gunvalson. According to her, he told her, “You know what, no one has ever lasted 14 years on a reality show. Be proud of that.”
In fact, Gunvalson has been Bravo’s longest-ever Housewife, never missing a season on the reality show since it premiered in March 2006. More than 20 other Housewives have rotated through the show since she joined.
RHOC has also inspired an entire franchise of Real Housewives installments, in New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills, Miami, Dallas and Potomac.
Back in July, Gunvalson revealed she’d been demoted to a “Friend of the Housewives” on the current fourteenth season of RHOC.
“For the past 14 years I’ve opened up my life, my loves, my ups and downs on The Real Housewives of Orange County and I am proud to be the ‘O.G. of the OC,’ ” she wrote on Instagram. “I am back again this season right in the middle of the action, and I hope you have as much fun watching the show as I did living it in front of the cameras. Stay tuned…”
It’s not the first time a Housewife has been given a reduced role: Original Real Housewives of New York City star Luann de Lesseps was demoted for season 6 before returning as a main cast member, and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Wiliams had a year-long stint as a “Friend” during season 7 before being bumped back up to full-time.
The Jerry O’ Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings)