This "Real Housewives" Star Just Came Out as a Lesbian

Richard Evans
·4 min read

This season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County has already been a wild ride, with heavy conversations about sobriety and the coronavirus pandemic hanging over the standard fights among the cast members. In a Dec. 2 interview with GLAAD, however, star Braunwyn Windham-Burke shared some more joyful news: She's a lesbian. This may come as a surprise to fans of the show, who know that Windham-Burke has been married to her husband Sean Burke for over 20 years, but the Real Housewife said she is "so happy" now that she's come out. Keep reading to learn more about Windham-Burke's journey, and for more Housewives history, check out The 30 Most Successful Reality TV Personalities of the Last 30 Years.

Braunwyn Windham-Burke told GLAAD she is proud to finally be able to call herself a lesbian.

braunwyn-windham burke being interviewed
braunwyn-windham burke being interviewed

"I like women. I'm gay," Windham-Burke told GLAAD's Anthony Ramos. "I'm a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a lesbian." The Real Housewives star said that it has taken her 42 years to get to this moment of self-discovery and coming out, but that she is "so proud" of where she's arrived.

"I'm so happy where I am," Windham-Burke continued. "To be able to be comfortable in my own skin after so long is just so nice." And for more news on celebrities coming out, Elliot Page's Wife Shows Support After the Actor Comes Out as Transgender.

Windham-Burke's sexuality had been a topic of discussion since she shared a kiss with co-star Tamra Judge last season.

braunwyn and tamra on real housewives of orange county
braunwyn and tamra on real housewives of orange county

Though Windham-Burke and Tamra Judge certainly weren't the first Real Housewives to lock lips on camera, the moment was heated enough to provoke discussion, as well as questions from Andy Cohen at the Real Housewives of Orange County Season 14 reunion.

"I was talking to a producer that I trust a lot, his name was James, and he said, 'How do you feel about this? Was it a drunken mistake or is this a part of who you are?'" Windham-Burke recalled in her GLAAD interview. "And I said, 'This is who I am.'"

At the reunion, she did reveal an interest in women, but this is the first time Windham-Burke has publicly identified as a lesbian. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Windham-Burke is still married to her husband, though they have redefined their marriage.

braunwyn and sean on real housewives of orange county
braunwyn and sean on real housewives of orange county

In October, Windham-Burke revealed that she and Burke were not currently living together. "We're redefining what marriage means to us," she told Entertainment Tonight (via People). "Not following the old, antiquated rules anymore."

In her GLAAD interview, Windham-Burke said that they are now cohabitating again, but she clarified that she is interested solely in women. "I love Sean. I love him dearly, he is my person, he is my family," Windham-Burke said. "But I'm not attracted to men and I never have been." And for more on the Real Housewives, check out The Most Famous Real Housewives, Then and Now.

This has been a major year for Windham-Burke, who has discussed her alcoholism and newfound sobriety on The Real Housewives of Orange County.

braunwyn on the real housewives of orange county
braunwyn on the real housewives of orange county

This season, Windham-Burke revealed to her co-stars—as well as the Bravo audience—that she is an alcoholic. Subsequent episodes have focused on Windham-Burke's struggle to remain sober, as well as repair relationships with her castmates, some of whom have joined her at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In recent interviews, Windham-Burke has said that she is still sober and doing better than ever.

"When I first got sober, I was scared I wouldn't be fun anymore, that my life was going to be boring. I really thought alcohol made life enjoyable, and that's sad," she wrote for Glamour. "Now, nine months later, I realize that's not at all true. Honestly, I dance even more now because I can stay awake. I sometimes used to pass out at, like, 7 p.m. because I had been drinking all day. So yeah, I actually have way more fun now."

The midseason trailer includes Windham-Burke saying she is in love with her girlfriend.

braunwyn on the real housewives of orange county
braunwyn on the real housewives of orange county

Windham-Burke's coming out coincides with the release of the Real Housewives of Orange County midseason trailer, as shared by Entertainment Weekly. While the bulk of the drama revolves around COVID, there is also a scene of marital strife between Windham-Burke and her husband. In another scene, castmate Kelly Dodd asks about Windham-Burke's girlfriend, and Windham-Burke says that she's in love.

The Real Housewife told GLAAD that it was meeting and falling in love with a woman that inspired her to come out. "I met someone that I was interested in pursuing a relationship with," Windham-Burke said. "It became something that I didn't want to hide anymore and I didn't want to keep secret anymore." And for a reality TV flashback, here are The Biggest '90s Reality TV Show Stars, Then and Now.