The 'Real Housewives of Orange County' star says the show forced her to confront lingering issues with her mom and brother.
Kelly Dodd is bringing some real -- and, apparently, a little fake -- family drama to The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Starting with Tuesday night's episodes, RHOC fans will see Kelly face family issues she’s actually been dealing with for years. Longtime viewers know that Kelly's mom, Bobbi Meza, and her younger brother, Eric Meza, lived with her during her first two seasons on the show. But, come season 13, Kelly's houseguests were gone… with little to no explanation. Over the years, gossip reports surfaced about arguments and abuse, with the back-and-forth about Kelly’s relationship with her mom and siblings mostly playing out on social media.
"I'm dreading to watch all of it back," Kelly admits to ET. "It's gonna be really hard for me to watch this season."
"My mother and my little brother, Eric, used to live with me a couple of years ago," Kelly explains on Tuesday’s episode. "They said, it'll only be a few months. Well, those few months turned into a year and a half and I felt like my mom and Eric were taking advantage of me, and it caused my mom and me to get in a big, huge fight. They moved back to Arizona… so, the last time I talked to my mom was almost two years ago."
Kelly brings up her family because the RHOC ladies are headed to her home state of Arizona for a wellness retreat and, while she's there, Kelly admits that she would like to see her estranged relatives. She calls her older brother, J.R. Meza, to discuss the possibility, but he tells her it's not a good idea at this time because their mom is "in a fragile state," with blood pressure issues. He advises Kelly to stand down on contacting Bobbi in order to "not upset her."
Kelly then bursts into tears, explaining how she really wants to make things right in order for her daughter, Jolie, to have a relationship with her grandma.
Kelly's issues only get more complicated when her co-stars get involved.
"I mean, I did have family drama, for sure, but you know what? I think most of the ladies need to clean up their houses before they try to clean up mine," she says. "I think that they say I threw my mother down the stairs -- and I wasn't talking to my mom. So, I called her immediately on the phone and squashed that rumor. And you're just gonna see there's so much rumors and lies. It's just, overwhelming. You know, I have to deal with my daughter listening to it. It's, like, they need to get their own kind of personal stories before using my personal story. And that's what you see."
The "threw my mother down the stairs" claim first went public months ago, when a fan secretly recorded Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador shooting for the series, having a conversation at a cafe about the accusations. At the time, fans assumed that it was Tamra who was spreading the story because she's the one who says to Shannon, "She broke a girl's hand, she threw her mother down the stairs... she got in a fight," in the clip.
"No, that was Vicki again," Tamra tells ET.
Tamra claims that it is Vicki Gunvalson who shared those tidbits with the group and that she and Shannon were simply discussing the domino effect such accusations could cause for Kelly.
"I honestly don't know anything about that," she says. "It is something that is brought up in the future, while we're sitting around the table, and I was actually defending her. So you'll -- we'll all see."
The claims about Kelly’s relationship with her mother come after Vicki vaguely accused her of drug use at the season 13 reunion, and after the women discussed Kelly partaking in a sex act known as a "train." Kelly has vehemently denied both allegations, on top of the elder abuse claims.
"I felt like Tamra and Shannon and Vicki were pushing my buttons, and there was a lot of, maybe, misunderstanding," Kelly shares. "But not on my part."
"I just don't understand how they can make up lies and come after me," she adds. "I've never done anything to them. But you're gonna see at the end how it all comes up to the surface that they are a bunch of liars, so, yeah."
For her part, Tamra throws that back at Kelly, saying she's the one who spreads lies and rumors this season.
"She crossed the line," Tamra teases of what's to come. "She involved herself in something very serious in my life and, you know what? For the past four, five years, or however long she has been on the show, everybody forgives her for her bad behavior and accepts her back. We forgive her and accept her back, and she goes low. She goes after family members, and children, and husbands, and dogs and dead grandparents... she'll go after anything. It's just to the point where I am not going to put myself through that abuse anymore. Karma is a b***h."
The good thing to come out of all this, Kelly says, is she was able to fix her family, because she was, essentially, forced to. She describes her relationship with her mom and brother today as "very good."
"I'm on really good terms with my brother and my mom," she shares. "They were at my house all weekend, for a week. They've come twice this summer, 'cause they live in Arizona. So, yeah, I mean, we are back to where we were before. So, you know, there's this really good thing about the show is that it really brought my mom and my brother [and me] back together. So, hopefully, next season you'll see more of them. You can see them this season, but you know, my mom's doing very well."
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.