Heather Dubrow knows what it feels like to hand in your orange.
"You know what? When it comes to Housewives, I think that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the show is going to live on a long, long time," the former Real Housewives of Orange County star tells ET, on the heels of the news that her former co-stars, Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson, would both not be returning to the Bravo hit for its 15th season. Heather exited the series herself after season 11.
"Tamra and Vicki, both incredible; Tamra is a dear friend of mine, I love Vicki, and they were both amazingly influential on the show," Heather notes. "But sometimes, it is time for everyone to move on, and I am really excited to see what their next chapters are going to be."
Part of Tamra's decision to not return to RHOC included the just-revealed cancer diagnosis of her ex-husband, Simon Barney, with whom she shares three children: Sidney, Spencer and Sophia. Prior to Simon's cancer diagnosis, the family had been estranged in various ways, with Sidney not speaking with Tamra, Spencer not speaking with Simon, and Sophia caught in the middle.
"Tamra, you know, she was amazing on Housewives, but she is a very private person, and what has been going on in her family for the last several months has been, obviously, very sad and upsetting," Heather remarks. "She has kept it really close to the vest -- we've been talking about it, obviously, we are close friends -- I think the way she is handling it is amazing, and I think that, what the only positive thing I can say about all of it is how their family has all come back together. But I think the lesson to take away is, we should not have to wait for something tragic or sad or upsetting to happen to pull us all back together."
ET’s Katie Krause spoke with Heather at the Create & Cultivate conference in Los Angeles on Saturday, where she was speaking as part of the "Turning Your Platform Into Profit" panel. When asked to offer advice to her former castmates as they leave reality TV behind, Heather confessed that the journey is "probably different for everyone."
"For me, I was just so grateful to have a five-year run, I had a great experience," she says. "It offered me a beautiful platform to do everything I am doing now, from my YouTube channel to Heather Dubrow's World podcast, to my new clothing line coming out, [my husband] Terry and I have a new book coming out next month, so many things."
"I just want to keep doing more of what I am doing, I have some really exciting television projects coming up in the next couple months," she teases. "I know, I don't want to be that person like 'stay tuned…' Whenever you say 'stay tuned,' it fails. So, I never say that. But I will tell you this -- what I am looking forward to in 2020, I love the whole, the 2020 optics of seeing clearly, and I am really embracing all of that, so for me in 2020, what I want to do is exactly what I want to do. I want to be there for my family and enjoy them, and love them and my husband and create incredible content and enjoy every minute of it because life is short and this is what we have."
Heather still shares a lot of her life on her PodcastOne show, including candid stories of raising her four children. Recently, Heather opened up about the backlash she received after posting a photo of her 9-year-old daughter, Coco, wearing a tuxedo to a formal event in lieu of a dress.
"So for me, I have four children and they are all very, very different and my job as a parent is to create healthy, functioning, independent humans," Heather says. "Whether those humans are straight, gay, bi, trans, they like to wear girls' clothes, boys' clothes, gender natural clothes, I don't care. That does not fall within what I am talking about."
"They need to be healthy, functioning, happy humans and I really think that Terry and I -- we are not perfect parents -- but I think we are doing a pretty good job," she continues. "So, when I post about Coco, she is just my daughter. I don't think about the fact that she is wearing a suit, not wearing a suit, that she likes to wear 'boys' clothes,' whatever that is. I do think it is sad, some of the comments that we get back on social media. But, you know what? That is not my job to change everyone. I am in charge of my four humans, and we are walking a good path."
Heather will, however, keep the dialogue open with her listeners in hopes that it could change someone's mind.
"Hopefully by us having all of these conversations, and speaking so freely and openly about gender fluidity, and humans, and who we all are, and how we want to live, and what makes us happy and that love is love," she says. "That conversation becomes a bigger [thing], becomes a bigger [thing] and it makes it all the norm. I think that is what we are looking for, because I think, when it is the norm, we don't have to have 'the conversation' anymore, because it just is."