Love is in the air for two alums of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Braunwyn Windham-Burke, who was just recently fired from the reality series after two seasons, has confirmed that she’s newly-dating Fernanda Rocha, 44, who appeared as a friend of the Housewives in season 6 of RHOC. The ex-Bravo stars, who are both out-and-proud lesbians, initially started out as friends, but are now a full-fledged couple. “We are close and she’s been an amazing support to me,” Braunwyn, 43, told E! News. “I’m glad I met her.”
So who is Fernanda Rocha? RHOC fans only got a glimpse into Fernanda’s life, but it’s fair to say that she’s got quite an interesting background. Here are are five key things to know about Fernanda.
Fernanda immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil at 23.
According to her website, Fernanda was born and raised in Brazil. After attending a top university to pursue a degree in Kinesiology, Fernanda left her native country for the United States at age 23 while she was unable to speak English. Over time, she adapted to her new country and began following her passion for fitness once she moved to Los Angeles.
Fernanda is a fitness instructor and gym owner.
Fernanda’s career in fitness began when she was employed at premiere health clubs in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, per her website. For the past 10 years, Fernanda has been the co-owner of the Art of Fitness Gym in Laguna Beach, Ca. In addition, she’s founded her very own “Fernanda Rocha Fitness” brand, which she’s used to create training programs.
Fernanda joined ‘RHOC’ as a close pal of Tamra Judge.
In 2011, Fernanda explored life on reality television when she joined season 6 of RHOC in a recurring capacity. Fernanda’s inclusion to the show was historic: she became the first openly gay cast member on the Bravo series. She was introduced at the start of the season by Tamra Judge, with whom she had a long-standing friendship with.
Fernanda’s close bond with Tamra was a prominent storyline on season 6. In one episode, Fernanda revealed to Lynne Curtin that she and Tamra, 53, kissed a year prior. Tamra later admitted that the make-out session happened, saying, “Okay, there might have been some tongue,” according to BravoTV. Sadly, Fernanda only lasted on RHOC for one season, and the current status of her relationship with Tamra is unclear.
Fernanda recently split from her wife of six years, Tessa.
While Braunwyn recently split from her girlfriend Kris and is still technically married to husband Sean Burke, Fernanda’s marriage to her wife of over six years, Tessa Rocha, officially came to an end in January 2021. According to The Sun, Tessa filed for divorce from Fernanda on Jan. 13. An insider told the outlet that Fernanda allegedly pursued a relationship with Braunwyn in October 2020 while she was still married to Tessa. Fernanda and Tessa’s divorce proceedings are ongoing, The Sun reported.
Prior to Tessa, Fernanda was in a relationship with photographer/stylist Leslie Matta. According to BravoTV, the couple announced their engagement in December 2013 but later split.
Fernanda fully embraces her sexuality.
As an out-and-proud lesbian, Fernanda is not afraid to flaunt her lifestyle on social media. Throughout this month, Fernanda has attended a number of events for Pride Month, which she’s documented on Instagram. “As a gay women, I felt so happy for being able to show my support to my LGBTQ+ community!” she wrote in one post from the Grand Marshal of Chicago Gay Pride event on June 3. “We come in all shape, colors, and sizes. It’s time to put down our blinders, stereo types, and look at each other from the inside out.”