Back for a stellar 12th season, The Real Housewives of Orange County is without a doubt one of the most successful reality shows on television! Original Real Housewife Vicki Gunvalson joins series veterans Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador and Lydia McLaughlin. Meghan King Edmonds and Kelly Dodd also make their return, with new Real Housewife Peggy Sulahian stepping onto the scene.

Following the first episode of the new season, we got the chance to put some questions to the original Housewife Vicki all about her time on the series, how reality television has changed her and what we should expect from upcoming new episodes. Find out what she had to say below…

Vicki Gunvalson makes her triumphant return to RHOC
Vicki Gunvalson makes her triumphant return to RHOC

What can you tell us about the 12th season of The Real Housewives of Orange County?

You can expect to see my babies growing up this season and, I’ve been building up my business so it’s very exciting.

I think that you’re still going to see the disagreements between Shannon, Tamra and I which were truly undeserved. There is a lot that the fans haven’t seen behind the cameras and in real life.

This season you’ll see me trying to keep the respect and minimise the hurt. My goal has always been not to hurt anyone. It’s not the right thing to do, but if someone is being mean I’m going to hurt back. I’m trying to resolve the conflict because I don’t like conflict and I’m really over it and would like to put the line in the sand.

In the premiere episode we saw you say: “They’re not the popular girls, we’re the popular girls”; what sort of response have you had from fans after that? Do you regret saying things like this?

Well, I sort of meant that the popular girls aren’t the bullies. Popular girls are supposed to be positive and the ones you look up to and want to be. I don’t appreciate or condone women who put other women down, so what I meant was, we’re the positive ones.

We see you in a new relationship this season and your daughter seems to approve! What should we expect from this new romance?

Well, this season you’re still just getting to know him. I’m very cautious because of the previous damage to my heart. It was really difficult, hard and hurtful and I just want to make sure I’m back, but making the right decisions. The relationship is slow and you’ll see that in the new season, but it’s going good. I don’t want to be divorced again, but I do want to be married.

Your friendship with Shannon is something we’ve seen change in many ways; do you ever see you and her being good friends in the future?

I really hope so. I think that when maturity comes in and plays a part, we could definitely try. She accused me of some pretty nasty things, so I’m not going to lie down and take it, but I am hopeful. My intentions were never to hurt her. But the real question is, how do you move on from something like that? We have to work and film together, so we just have to learn to get along.

You’ve been on reality TV for quite some time now; do you think being on RHOC has really thickened your skin?

It’s definitely thickened my skin. Something a lot of people don’t know is that I’m an extremely emotional and sensitive person, which doesn’t really work well when you’re filming a reality show. But I’ve learned. Haters are gonna hate, and lovers are going to love us.

How about in regards to sharpening your tongue? Do you think you’re sometimes on the defensive or even offensive automatically because of the reality TV world?

I hope I’ve learned a lot more about dealing with confrontation. I think when you watch yourself back on TV acting like a screaming idiot, it’s not classy or nice. I’m trying my very best to be the person I am 99% of my time. However, that’s really difficult when you’re accused of something and you want to make your voice heard and I don’t take that lying down.

Has reality TV made you reluctant to try and form relationships with new people?

I’ve always been very guarded on who comes into my life, whether it is personal or work. So it’s definitely made it tough, but I’m just trying to learn.

Real Housewives of Orange County has gone through a lot of cast changes – is there anybody from RHOC’s past you’d like to see make a comeback in the future?

I would love to have Jeana back. She was a good salad. She’s such a great person and so easy to film with. Even though we had conflicts, I really liked her and we got along. She’s also got grandchildren now which would make it better.

As the original Real Housewife, what advice do you have for new Housewives coming into the franchise, whether it be on RHOC or other shows?

If you have any skeletons in your closet, they are going to come out. Some cast mates think they are detectives, so if you have secrets they will try their hardest to reveal them. Be prepared!

Finally, what’s next for you in the coming weeks and months?

Well, I’m off to Georgia for my cousin’s sixth marriage, which will be really exciting because she says: “this is the one I’ve got right!” I’m then off to New York because I’m appearing on Watch What Happens Live. I’m then taking the family to Palm Desert and after that, I’m taking Steve to Cabo for his birthday, but it’s a surprise so he doesn’t know anything, so I’m quite busy in the next couple of months!

Stream and download The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 12, Tuesdays on hayu, reality on demand.

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