Eddie Judge‘s insensitive remarks about his stepson’s mental health sparked major backlash from The Real Housewives of Orange County fans, and now, the Bravo star is finally responding. Rather than explaining why he implied that wife Tamra Judge‘s son, Ryan Vieth, 33, isn’t “a man” because Ryan said he felt “worthless,” Eddie lashed out at his critics. “Time to move on… just because you see it on TV doesn’t mean it’s real! I’m happy most of you understand this and those that do not, you need to learn how it works,” Eddie wrote in a November 20 Instagram post. “Reality TV is not Reality. These shows are designed to get maximum reaction from the viewers. Has anyone reached out to a villain on a TV show and messaged him/her what a piece of sh*t he/she is because of what they saw that person do or say to someone else on that show? Oh yeah, no. Because someone wrote that script. Well, someone writes the script on reality TV. Just not exactly the same way a scripted show is produced.”
On the November 12 episode, Tamra and Ryan went to family therapy to discuss their relationship. Tamra had Ryan when she was just a teenager, and she admitted that she feels like she let him down when he was a child — and that he may be suicidal now. Their therapist read Tamra some disturbing thoughts Ryan had written down earlier: “I’m a bad person, worthless. I’m a failure. Can’t succeed. Powerless. I don’t belong. I don’t matter.” Tamra tearfully discussed her son’s fears in a confessional. “It just makes me wanna die,” she said. “I worry that one day Ryan might commit suicide. That’s my biggest, biggest fear.”
Rather than sympathizing with his wife and his stepson, Eddie said something shocking later in the episode. “Tamra’s a great mom with all her children. Every kid is different,” Eddie told the camera. “Some need to be coddled, some need to be motivated, some need a kick in the ass. When you’re struggling with your childhood issues as a man, I don’t think you’re a man, k? So just get over it, move on, grow up, take care of your responsibilities. That’s life.”
Eddie said in his Instagram post that we didn’t see the full extent of his remarks on the episode. He claims he wasn’t actually insulting Ryan: “I stand behind what I said and never did I say that people with a mental illness need to man up. I understand mental illness. I also understand when someone uses mental illness as an scapegoat. Ryan is not mentally ill and he is not using it as an scapegoat. He is struggling with life. And, you don’t have to be mentally ill to feel depressed. However, the TV show will figure out how to get max reaction by editing a touching moment in such a way to get you to watch for more. If they do not, then we have no show. Get it? The end!”
And Tamra agrees. A source told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that, “Tamra and Eddie both feel that Eddie’s comments were taken out of context. Eddie did not know how Ryan was doing in that moment. His comment was never meant to put down people who struggle with mental illness.” Tamra made similar comments while speaking on the RHOC panel at BravoCon, which ran in New York from Nov. 15 to 17.