Former Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Judge says that her ex-husband Simon Barney’s recent stage 3 throat cancer diagnosis has made her reevaluate her life. The 52-year-old says that when she found out about Barney’s cancer in November it left her “completely destroyed,” and it was a factor in her decision to leave RHOC behind after 12 seasons.
Judge – who shares Sidney, 21, Spencer, 19, and Sophia, 13 with Barney – told People magazine that Barney’s cancer diagnosis and her husband Eddie Judge’s recent health problems caused her to reevaluate things and shift her priorities.
“The reality of it is, after Eddie’s heart condition and now Simon with cancer, it’s just very hard for me to want to go on a show where people are screaming and yelling and arguing about things that don’t even matter,” explained Judge. “They’ve taught me that life is precious, and you don’t get that time back.”
Judge explained that she was “a mess” after finding out about Barney’s cancer because he is the father of her children. She added that any ill will between them “just vanished,” and her first thought was that she didn’t want to take her kids to their dad’s funeral. The CUT Fitness owner says her second thought was that she doesn’t want to go back to Real Housewives of Orange County.
At the time, Judge was getting ready to film Season 14 and her plan was to leave the Bravo series immediately. However, after talking about it with her close friends, she was advised not to make such a big decision when she was so emotional and she didn’t know how she would feel in a few months.
Judge agreed after realizing she may have been acting too quickly. But, by the end of the season she knew she was done. She said that was evident during the reunion because she was very subdued. Judge says she didn’t want to fight with anybody and her mind wasn’t there at all.
She hadn’t told production about Barney’s diagnosis yet, so they didn’t understand what was going on with her. But, Judge remembers telling her co-star Shannon Beador that she felt like it was her last season.
“In my gut, I knew I wouldn’t come back,” said Judge.
When producers contacted her to find out what she had going on ahead of Season 15, Judge says she knew for sure it wouldn’t work out.
“They wanted to know what I’d be up to, and knowing Simon didn’t want me to talk about it, I told them I had a lot going on in my life that I wouldn’t be able to film,” explained Judge. “I said to them that it was going to be hard for me to film all the time, and that I didn’t know how much of a commitment I could put into filming. Because in my mind, I knew there was going to be a phone call during filming where someone needed me — where Simon was in the hospital, or one of my kids were upset — and I’d need to handle all that stuff, away from the cameras.”
Still, after 12 seasons it was difficult for Tamra Judge to walk away from RHOC, especially because the income helped to support her family. And, if something happened to Barney, she wouldn’t quite know what to do. She prayed about the decision, and God showed her the way to go.
Production called her on January 24th to tell her that she wasn’t receiving an offer to return full-time, but would instead be offered a three-episode arc to wrap up her storyline. Judge declined.
“I’m thankful for my time on Bravo, I really am. I’ve loved doing the show and love the people there. But I just want to be with my family. Nothing else matters,” says Tamra Judge.