Tamra Judge isn’t giving up hope on reconnecting with her daughter, Sidney.
“[There’s] not a whole lot of movement between the two of us,” she admits to ET. “But I’m very hopeful, because I feel like if she’s removed from [home] – she’s [at college] out of state -- she’s on the East Coast, so just the fact that she’s living on her own and thinking on her own, I think it will be really good for her. I really do.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County star’s relationship with her 18-year-old daughter has been strained since her 2011 divorce from Sidney’s father, Simon Barney. The two had not seen each other in more than three years, but reconnected briefly when Sidney extended an invite to her high school graduation this past spring.
Things appeared to be moving in a positive direction, but took a turn for the worse when season 12 of Real Housewives premiered in July. Tamra addressed their relationship on the premiere, prompting Sidney to share a since-deleted Facebook post, attacking her mother and her choice to continue on the Bravo series. Tamra’s feelings were understandably hurt, but her love for Sidney remains.
“She’s a good girl,” she says with a smile. “I think we’re a lot alike … I know it’s gonna turn out really well.”
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Tamra notes her relationship with her younger daughter, Sophia, is the complete opposite of the one she has with Sidney. She says they’re “like best friends.”
“She’s my mini me,” Tamra shares. “It’s even hard for her to go to her dad’s house, just because she wants to be with me all the time. So, I just hope it stays like that. It’s hard, because divorce just brings out the worst in a family situation and the kids, really, get put in the middle.”
“We have 22 million kids that are going through this,” she notes of divorced families. “Nobody really wants to talk about this. I have neighbors that come up to me and say, ‘I’m going through the same thing. My uncle or somebody....’”
“When your kids stop talking to you, you feel like a horrible parent,” she adds. “And that’s not the case. The true victim is the child because they’re pulled. They’ve been pulled. They don’t know what to do.”
While Tamra and her ex are still navigating the ever-evolving world of co-parenting, she says she thinks she’s mastered marriage with her current husband, Eddie. They just celebrated their four-year wedding anniversary.
“It’s just so easy,” Tamra says. “Just so precious, and sweet and loving.”
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“When you are truly happy, and in love, your life is just so much better,” she gushes. “Everyday’s so much brighter, and when I started the show I was in such a bad, dark place and, you know, kind of like taking it out on everyone and just not being happy. Not being happy at home was very hard. Very difficult.”
Tamra and Simon’s divorce was well-documented on the show, and Tamra has to relive those dark moments season after season when flashback clips are played -- including the tense limo ride that drove Tamra to shout, “I want a divorce,” at her now-ex.
“[I see] just a very angry, unhappy person,” she says of re-watching those scenes. “I’m not very good at expressing my emotions. I tend even to keep them inside … That season that we filmed, we knew we were going to get a divorce. We knew it was happening. So, we agreed to go through the season, maybe we shouldn’t talk about it, we weren’t going to talk about it. And it just got worse and worse and worse and worse.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. For more of our chat with Tamra, shot on location at The Quiet Woman restaurant and bar featured on the show, check out the video below.