Tamra Judge sadly announced to fans on Jan. 25 that she wouldn’t be returning to the Real Housewives of Orange County for season 15 after spending 12 years on the show. She later told the RHOC’s Executive Producer Andy Cohen in a Jan. 28 Instagram live session that she was actually blindsided by the news that she wasn’t being asked back. However, the 52-year-old alluded to a heartbreaking personal crisis that actually made it for the best that she wouldn’t be going in front of cameras. It turned out that her ex-husband and father of three of her children Simon Barney, 55, had been diagnosed with stage three throat cancer.
Tamra appeared on SiriusXM’s Jeff Lewis Live on Feb. 20 and said that Simon’s cancer crisis lead her to nearly quit during the RHOC season 14 reunion. As for how she was told she wouldn’t be returning, Tamra said “I think that it could have been handled a little bit differently.” She then revealed, “I was going to say I wasn’t coming back at the reunion. I had just found out about Simon days before the reunion. I was a mess. I was crying in my dressing room. I was like, ‘I can’t go out there.’ Everyone’s like ‘what’s wrong?’ and I’m like ‘I just can’t do this.’
“I was going to tell everybody then that…it’s going to be too hard for me to go back. With Simon going through treatment and the kids and how are they going to deal with it. At this time he just found out and hadn’t started treatment and I didn’t know what to expect. And so (husband) Eddie‘s like, ‘just go do it.'”
Tamra mentioned how she and Simon had been together for 13 years and married for 11 of them before divorcing in 2011. They have three children, son Spencer, 19, and daughters Sidney, 21, and Sophia, 14. “We have kids and we had a horrible divorce. And I think that divorce brings out the worst in everybody. I was blamed for some of it and he was blamed for some of it. We weren’t horrible the last few years, but we weren’t hanging out or anything.”
Tamra went on to explain that Simon contacted her over the course of several weeks. trying to get her to meet up with him face to face. She said was completely out of character for him. He kept trying, and Tamra wouldn’t agree to meet up with him. Simon eventually told her, “this is going to affect Sophia’s life,” referring to the former couple’s 14-year-old daughter. Tamra said that she then came to the awful realization that he was either sick or moving out-of-state. Tamra and Simon met up at a Starbucks and he broke the news to her about his cancer diagnosis. She said he was calm and with tears rolling down his face told her, “It’s my time. It’s my time. I’m okay.” Simon’s currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. “It’s very serious,” Tamra said while on the verge of tears.