'RHOC' Cast Shakeup: Kelly Dodd and Braunwyn Windham-Burke Out, Heather Dubrow Back In

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Real Housewives of Orange County is shaking things up. Kelly Dodd, Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Elizabeth Lyn Vargas will not return for season 16, ET confirms. 

Meanwhile, former cast member Heather Dubrow will return, alongside Shannon Storms Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson. One or two more women will also join the cast. Dubrow will discuss her decision to return with Andy Cohen on her podcast, Heather Dubrow’s World from PodcastOne, out at midnight. 

Vargas opened up about her departure on Instagram on Tuesday night, writing in part, "Despite filming during COVID and not really getting to know all the ladies fully, this past year has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my life." 

The most recent season of RHOC, starring Windham-Burke, Dodd, Beador, Kirschenheiter, Simpson and Vargas, left fans largely unimpressed, especially amid drama between Dodd and Windham-Burke. And in January, amid pleas for a recast from several fans -- including Meghan McCain -- Cohen hinted a shakeup was on the horizon. 

"I think. you mean reBOOT," Cohen replied to a tweet calling for RHOC's cancelation. 

The season 15 cast members made headlines for their behavior on and off-screen. Windham-Burke came out as a lesbian last December, and Dodd has made controversial remarks about COVID-19 and wore a hat that was seen as insensitive toward the Black Lives Matter movement. Rumors sparked earlier this year that season 15 would be Dodd's last, but she denied on Jan. 29 that she had been axed. 

"No I am not fired !!! Contacts haven’t come out yet !" she wrote at the time, blaming former RHOC star Vicki Gunvalson for starting the rumors. "Vicki stop being a hater." 

ET learned on Jan. 31 that Dodd had been fired by Positive Beverage, which she had been affiliated with as an investor since 2019. 

"Our core values of wellness, community, diversity and inclusion should be reflected by our brand and anyone associated with it," Positive Beverage Head of Brand, Zach Muchnick, said in a statement to ET. "It has become clear over the past few months that Kelly’s controversial views and opinions have distracted from our primary objectives, so effective today, we are no longer affiliated with Kelly Dodd-Leventhal."

While addressing her controversies on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen last December, Dodd said, "I'm a human being. I make mistakes ... Everybody has said and done things in their lives that they regret, and I regret these things. I freaked out. It wasn't right."

See more in the video below. 

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