Real Housewives of Orange County's Brooks Ayers is speaking out "once and for all" about his cancer diagnosis, forging medical records and how much his ex, Vicki Gunvalson, knew about his illness.
"Prior to filming Season 10 (which began in December 2014), I was given the unfortunate news of my cancer diagnosis," Ayers told ET in a statement on Thursday. "Having lived under public scrutiny for the prior five years, along with being wrongfully positioned as something that I wasn't and knowing that I had a large battle ahead of me, I simply made a request to Vicki that we deal with this in a very private manner so as to keep out the noise of any questioning of my treatment choices moving forward.”
"I was approached by a few media outlets to confirm my diagnosis and made a calculated decision to address it via a statement and an on camera interview in hopes that we would 'put this to bed' and allow me to move forward in private," he continued. "When filming began, so did the gossip with the women introducing my diagnosis on the show by referencing a blog and a psychic's 'feeling' that there was no cancer. Looking back, it was quite ridiculous actually."
In his new statement, Ayers implied that he faked the documents in order to keep the real details private, then defended Gunvalson against accusations that she was helping him with some sort of cover-up. According to Ayers, there came a point when he excluded Gunvalson from any medical appointments and details on his treatments, because he "simply wanted to be left alone."
"Vicki was not 'in on any cancer scam or created storyline.' There is no scam," Ayers told ET. "I simply didn't continue to give her information about my illness when I learned of the devious nature and intentions of the cast. Second, Vicki never has paid me to be quiet regarding this 'supposed' scam nor has paid me to release any statements. Again, just because I am exercising my right to NOT share my actual medical records doesn't mean that I am guilty of making something like this up. Who even would question anyone dealing with this disease?"
Ayers went on to describe Gunvalson as a "woman of integrity and compassion."
"Vicki was my partner for five years, and I believe the show was the demise of our relationship," he said.
As for Gunvalson, she responded to Ayers' statement on Thursday by thanking him for speaking out on the matter and clearing her name.
"Over the last year, I have been bullied, belittled, and humiliated by viewers, the media, and my so called 'friends,'" she said in a statement to ET. "I am not now, nor have I ever been involved in covering for Brooks. I continue to wish him nothing but the best and hope that we can both now move past this difficult chapter in our lives."
Gunvalson and Ayers officially called it quits in August 2015, after dating on and off since 2011. Their first split was in 2013, but Gunvalson got back together with Ayers in the fall of 2014, around the same time she had learned he supposedly had stage 3 cancer. During a RHOC reunion, Tamra Judge claimed that Gunvalson wanted to leave her then-husband, Donn Gunvalson, in 2007 to be with Ayers. Gunvalson, however, didn't split from her husband until 2010.