(58) The Realest Housewife with Braunwyn

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This interview might be one of my all time favorites as Braunwyn Windham-Burke so openly shares her misgivings about being on the Real Housewives of Orange County, along with the parts she absolutely loves. She also divulges her rock bottom moments and the hardest part of getting sober on TV, why coming out as a lesbian happened sooner than she’d wanted it to, how she’s co-creating an out-of-the-box partnership with her husband, Sean, and how kissing a costar cost her tens of thousands of dollars. This episode is full of realness you haven’t heard before. 

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Brandy: Hello Adult Conversation Podcast listeners. Today’s interview with Braunwyn has something for all of us for reality TV fans, for fellow moms, for thoughtful women rethinking toxic norms, for LGBTQ folks and allies, and anyone who loves (wait for it…) Adult Conversation. Sorry. This interview might be one of my all-time favorites as Braunwyn so openly shares her misgivings about being on The Real Housewives, along with the part she absolutely loves. She also divulges her rock bottom moments, and the hardest part of getting sober on TV, why coming out as a lesbian happened sooner than she’d wanted it to, how she’s co-creating an out-of-the box partnership with her husband, Sean, and how kissing a co-star cost her 10s of 1000s of dollars. This episode is full of realness you haven’t heard before. On to the show.

Brandy: Today on the podcast, I am talking with my favorite Bravo housewife – one of the few stars of the Orange County show who sticks her neck out for important issues and doesn’t always follow the housewife status quo. Her vulnerability, the way she takes responsibility for herself sets boundaries, and her realness are just a few of the reasons why I always root for her. I am beyond thrilled for this opportunity to chat with Braunwyn Windham-Burke. So welcome to the podcast, Braunwyn!

Braunwyn: Hi, I’m so glad I’m here today.

Brandy: Yes, and so I hate calling you a “housewife.” It feels like a derogatory term, and also not accurate because most of the women on the shows have careers and goals and aren’t just like sitting around confined to a house like Cinderella. So how do you feel about that term “housewife?”

Braunwyn: I mean, honestly, I think of it as an honor in a way. I think it’s such an iconic piece of history and to be included in it, you know, it’s an honor for me. I also have so many friends from the different franchises that I think of it more as a sorority. When it started and where it’s at now are two totally different things. So for me when I say I’m a housewife, you know, with a capital H, I’m proud of that.

Brandy: Okay, that’s awesome. Because I was thinking, if you’re on this show and people are calling you out all the time, you gotta get right with it real quick. But also, I like that you do actually, honestly feel a goodwill toward it.

Braunwyn: I do. I really think there’s a lot of amazing things that come when you’re part of this family. And keep in mind, I have been a housewife most of my life. I was a stay-at-home-mom or a housewife or whatever you want, so honestly, if people are calling me a housewife, that’s one of the nicer things that I’ve been called, so I’ll take it! {Laughs}

Brandy: {Laughs} That’s a good point. Yes. Well, I just need to tell you how grateful I am for you showing up here with me because I know you’re bombarded with media inquiries, and just I really, truly appreciate you saying yes, and taking the time to chat with me here.

Braunwyn: Well, I think the way that we met too, you know, we have children with similar backgrounds, and we have a mutual friend, so anyone that’s friends with Jessica is definitely a good friend of mine. For those of you that don’t know, Jessica Herthel, she runs the PFLAG Newport Beach, and she’s awesome. She has been so helpful to me in our community. So yeah, anyone that loves her, I love.

Brandy: And so the PFLAG group is a group that’s for parents and friends of LGBTQ youth, or I guess adults, as well. So that’s sort of how Braunwyn and I met. And at the beginning of every podcast, I always ask guests the same question, which is, what is something you think the listeners need to know about you? And because you’re one of the stars of this show, people might feel like they already know you. But I would imagine there’s so much that we don’t know about you, that we don’t get to see. So what’s something that we might not know about you?

Braunwyn: I think it’s really important that when you meet someone that you know, from a reality show, to be reminded that you don’t really know us. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “I know you,” and I’m like, “No, you don’t. You have an idea.” You know? “You think you know me, but you don’t.” So, I think that’s one thing to remember is that this is for entertainment, and you do get a very edited version of us. I think the one thing that I would like people to know is that our lives are very normal. You see us on TV and it seems crazy and whatever, but the majority of the time, I’m at home watching Netflix, I have three kids in my bed at night, I’m wiping the counters, like that is the majority of my life. And the other thing I would like people to know about me is that I’m always trying to do the right thing. I really do wake up every day and think, “Okay, what can I do to help others?” I don’t always get it right, but I am always trying.

Brandy: I feel like that comes across. And I mean, I don’t know, when I saw the reunion episode, I was so pissed at some of the people on there because I just felt like – and they have their own stuff – but when I watch you, I feel like I get that from you. And I get that from other people on the show, and Lisa Rinna is another one that I feel this way about is that to me, anybody who can own their mistakes, and apologize and just be transparent about it, to me that trumps everything. And I know other people have other standards, but–

Braunwyn: A big part of my recovery process is admitting when you’ve made mistakes, and taking accountability for them. I really did the best I could under some pretty stressful circumstances.

Brandy: Yes, which I, I want to get to. You know, there are so many things that I want to chat about like your sobriety to your coming out as a lesbian, to parenting, to being on this wild show, to maybe your mom’s “EGO” necklace. But it’s hard to know where to start. But when I really thought about, like, what is one of my most burning questions for you, I have always wondered, what did you think being on The Real Housewives would be like, and then what is it actually like – did it meet your expectations? Was it like, “Oh wow, I got bamboozled?” How were your expectations and the reality of it the same or different?

Braunwyn: When I got the job, I was so excited. I had been a stay-at-home mom for I think 18 years at that time, and I hadn’t worked, and my baby was about – Hazel was about 10 months old when I got cast, and I was excited. I was like, “This is amazing! I’m a girl’s girl, this is going to be fun.” And I look back, and I’m like, “I was so naive.” I always said I was a huge fan of the shows, but I wasn’t on social media that much. I followed my friends and that’s it. So I didn’t know the darker side to social media. I didn’t know how mean people were because it’s never occurred to me to go to a stranger’s page and say something not nice. So I was expecting it to be light and fun. I also was expecting it to be more indicative of our real lives. You know, a large part of my life is spent with my children, and most of that was edited out. So I didn’t fully understand that what you give them, what you film doesn’t always make it, they pick and choose what makes it there. So that was one thing I was I was a little surprised about. Like scenes that I thought were amazing with my family, and I was so excited to see them, never made it to air, and it was a little disappointing.

Brandy: And yeah, it seems like they put you– because that was one of my questions about these trips that you guys go on. It’s like everybody semi hates each other, and then, “Let’s all go to Palm Springs!” And so it seems like maybe they’re putting you in these situations – not maybe, I believe they’re putting you in these situations in order to get this stuff to happen. Whereas like you’re saying, the real stuff is at home with my kids, but they don’t want that, that doesn’t make good TV, apparently.

Braunwyn: Right. And I think it’s because this is entertainment, this is a lot of people’s escape from their own lives. That’s what I hear a lot. And that’s what it was for me too, when I used to watch the shows, so I understand that. Obviously, when we’re planning trips or whatever, we’re all going. You always have a choice to not go, but at the end of the day, this is also your job. Your job is to show up and to film and you sign up for that. The one thing, now that I’ve been on it for two years, I’ve realized though, is that, yes, there is that other side to it, there is the mean side. But there’s also such an amazing platform for good. The people that I’ve been able to interview on Amplified Voices I never would have known before, right? So it kind of gives you this entre into a world of meeting people that you never would have before. And to me, that has been the best experience because Braunwyn before Housewives had 600 followers on Instagram and no one outside my family and friends would listen when I would talk. Now, if I decided to go on a rant, you agree with me or not, at least people are talking about it. And it gets out there.

Brandy: Right. That makes sense. And it seems like when people ask me about social media, I’m one of the few people that– I mean, I know with The Social Dilemma and everything that came out with that everybody’s like, “Let’s shut it all down.” And I feel like anybody who does that– I know that you’ve been on a social media break – that’s such an act of self-care. And, I’m always thinking that social media to me is both things, like it can be disgusting, and also to me, for women, it’s like one of the only ways – especially moms – that we can connect with other people. And so in my mind, I’m like the revolution is happening online. And if you take away– I don’t know what mom’s groups, if any, that you’re on Facebook or online, but we do magic for each other. Like there’s a woman who will post, “I’m in an abusive relationship. Does anybody have a spare bedroom?” and there’s a mom immediately, like, “Come to my house.” So if we do away with the whole thing, then we lose the goodness of it. But there’s a lot of shit that goes with it and it kind of sounds like Housewives might be similar.

Braunwyn: I just got chills when you said that. That makes me teary-eyed. That’s beautiful. I’m not in any moms’ groups. I’m just not.

Brandy: Yeah, I get it! {laughs}

Braunwyn: But yeah, that is the beauty. And if you look at what happened during this pandemic, with Black Lives Matter, that was all social media that came together. Most of us wouldn’t have seen the George Floyd video if it hadn’t been for social media. We wouldn’t have known what happened to Breonna Taylor, it would have been quieted. You know, everyone has a cell phone, everyone can tell a story and things that have been swept under the rug won’t be anymore. We used to be fed our news by these huge conglomerates that have an agenda. And now for the first time, we get to see what’s really happening, for better or worse. We have eyes on the ground, you can’t hide this stuff from us anymore.

Brandy: That’s the hard part. And you know, in The Social Dilemma– I feel like I’m one of the only people that feels this way, but I’m watching a bunch of these tech dudes say, “Just delete the dumb stuff. We made it and now it’s a problem.” And I’m thinking, “You guys don’t need the support that us isolated moms who are trying to fight for equality, but do it while we’ve got a kid on a tit, and trying to clean our house – like this is our lifeblood.” So for me, I felt like this doesn’t feel right even though I get that there are some parts of it where we have to be careful, and with our kids. I still feel like how I use social media and how I see other moms using social media is like its own support system that if you were to take that away, I think a lot of women would be left in the lurch.

Braunwyn: I do remember when my when I was pregnant, I was on a site called Baby Center.

Brandy: Oh, yes, yeah.

Braunwyn: With like my birth club, and I actually did make real friendships. I have someone that was in Koa, my six-year-old’s birth club. She lives in Florida, we’ve never met before, but she’s coming to Palm Springs, and we’re gonna meet up for the first time, you know?

Brandy: Yes!

Braunwyn: I don’t actually know her, but she probably knows me better in so many ways than people in my real life.

Brandy: Oh, that’s funny, and that’s the benefit of it. Well, and I’m wondering, too, would you have signed up for the show had you known what it was really going to be like? At the end of the day, do the benefits outweigh the downsides?

Braunwyn: Absolutely. I would do it again in a heartbeat. For better or worse, there’s something about it that is just intoxicating. You know, when you’re filming, there is just this rush. It’s exciting. And I’ve always said yes to everything. I’ve always wanted to know what’s around the next corner. My mom always jokes that I’m a human doing not a human being. Like, this is an opportunity. It’s an amazing opportunity. And truly, in my own life, it’s been great. Obviously, social media is mean, but you know what? If I put my phone down, that goes away, and that’s not real.

Brandy: True.

Braunwyn: And like you said, right now I’m not on social media. I have someone that I send photos to who posts for me. So you know, it’s great, and really, and I’ve said this so many times, I’ll always say I have met so many amazing women in this Bravo world, that I’m so lucky to call my friends now that I never would have known before. And I get asked to speak for certain groups that I would never have gotten to do before. It was cancelled because of COVID, but at The Abbey in West Hollywood – it’s an LGBTQ bar – they wanted me to light the Christmas tree for them this year. And that is like a dream come true for me, you know what I mean?

Brandy: Yes. It makes me happy to hear this because when I see you specifically getting raked over the coals, I think oh gosh, this must be a moment where she’s feeling like, “I wished I had never done this.” And it actually makes me, as somebody who’s invested in you as a viewer, but now as somebody that knows you in real life, it makes me feel happy that you find benefit from this, and I didn’t know that needed that, Braunwyn.

Braunwyn: Awwww, yeah.

Brandy: But it feels good to know that the person behind that is actually, at the end of the day, is like, “I would keep doing this. I don’t feel 100% exploited.” Like that matters to me.

Braunwyn: Yeah. And you know, not to say that I feel like that all the time. There have definitely been moments where I’m like, “No, un-uh, can’t make me go.”

Brandy: {Laughs} Right.

Braunwyn: I love my producer, our show runner, he’s an amazing guy, and there were definitely times where I would call and be like, “Mmmm, not gonna do it, not gonna do it.” Luckily, he’s very good at his job and he would talk me down and be like, “It’s okay,” you know?

Brandy: Yeah.

Braunwyn: So there’s definitely hard moments, but a lot of those moments are really just me and my own insecurities, and just that little girl that just like wants to run and hide. And I think because of the fact that I had to go through experiences or had to show up to things that I didn’t want to, at the end of the day, it has made me so much stronger in the past two years than I think 20 years combined.

Brandy: Wow. I can imagine because it’s so intense. So intensified. You know, I was so happy when you booked a separate hotel room on one of the most recent trips on the show. I think it was right when you were first getting sober, and that was such an act of self-love and self-preservation, and I knew everybody would be shitty about it. I can imagine how hard it was getting sober, and the fact that anyone could get sober around Kelly Dodd is a miracle, so you’re just amazing for that alone. But I’m so curious, what was that experience like, of dealing with sobriety and also being on the show?

Braunwyn: It was hard. So I made the decision– I think I was five days sober when I called our show runner and said, “Here’s the truth…” Because I had met with him a few days earlier and said I was going on a “cleanse.” {Laughs}

Brandy: Well, you were! You weren’t lying. {Laughs}

Braunwyn: And I called him. I was on a ski slope in Beaver Creek, I’ll never forget it. I had just talked to Captain Sandy and she had said that one thing that has changed my life, which was, “You had no problem getting drunk on the show, why you have such a hard time getting sober is because then you’ll be accountable. And if you want to stay sober, you have to be accountable.” And I didn’t even pause. I called our show runner and I said, “I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been hiding this from you guys. This has been a problem for a long time in my life.” And he said, “Do you want to do this on the show?” And I said, “Yes.” And I was like, four or five, six days sober at that point. We started filming and I was 12 days sober. I thought it was going to be easier. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t. And I promised myself that I would be as real and raw as possible because I have seen the sugar-coated version of sobriety, like, “I stopped drinking, life is great!” But I’ve also gotten sober two times before and I know that’s not true, so I really wanted to do this story justice by showing you how hard it is. And I think like you said, that trip, I was very lucky that when I asked for that, “Hey, can I get a hotel room?” Production didn’t even question that. They said, “Of course.”

Brandy: Ah, good.

Braunwyn: I was on a show with a production company that put my sobriety before anything else. And that is such a blessing.

Brandy: That’s amazing.

Braunwyn: Yeah.

Brandy: And did they know, like when you told the show runner was he like, “Well we kind of knew,” or had you really hidden it from everybody?

Braunwyn: I think in this environment, excessive drinking is normal. I think for a lot of the women, they go on the show, they drink excessively while we’re filming, and then they go back to their normal lives. So obviously, me get almost getting kicked off a flight from Arizona is not normal. I mean, I had excuses, “Oh, I’m afraid of flying so I took a Xanax. Oh, this…” but day three a Miraval, I had a tequila bottle in my handbag, and that whole day was cut out. But I remember Mary, she does sound, but she later on said, “Yeah, we were worried about you. That wasn’t normal. You were drinking straight tequila.” I was hiding alcohol in soda cans and stuff, so I don’t know if they knew that. I had another producer that I was very close to. He knew I had a problem because I talked to him more than anyone else. Yeah, it’s different levels of it and sometimes you just don’t question it, cuz that’s not their job. Their job is to record us and not to intervene.

Brandy: Yeah.

Braunwyn: But I definitely know– there’s been some moments, there was a confessional where – I only did one confessional drunk, just one. Like my first season, I never drank during my confessionals. But there was one where I was, and it was so bad. My makeup artist had to come in and said, “We’re done filming. This is– we can’t.” Her name is Chelsea, and she was like, “This isn’t okay.” So I think a lot of people were relieved.

Brandy : I bet. And you could have taken the out on this to not have it televised, and it just seems brave to choose, “I’m going to show this to everybody, warts and all.” And I’m curious, what were the things that surprised you that were harder than you thought they would be?

Braunwyn: My mental state was harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought when I stopped drinking, I would be okay. I just didn’t realize how much was in my head that I was gonna have to deal with in front of a camera.

Brandy: Yeah.

Braunwyn: I really did, I thought it was gonna be easy. And at the very beginning, I wasn’t going to support meetings because my ego was like, “Oh, people are gonna know who I am.” In reality, no one cares, you know? But I had to get myself to the right size to even make it to the first community support meeting I went to. So not having that crutch, because when I’m anxious, I drink – I think not having that crutch going into situations where you knew there was going to be a lot of tension and people are going to be very upset with you, and having to navigate that, without that? That was hard.

Brandy: What do you use now? What’s your new coping mechanism for the anxiety, or are you still looking for it?

Braunwyn: I mean, I will always suffer from anxiety. That will probably never go away. When I stopped drinking, though, it did get a lot less. So I think drinking is a hamster wheel. You know, it takes it away momentarily, but it comes back even more. But I exercise every day. Cardio is very, very good for my mental health. I read a lot. I got off social media that helped a lot. And I try to meditate every day.

Brandy: Good for you.

Braunwyn: And honestly, I go to meetings. They’re on Zoom for the most part right now. I can go in there agitated, amped up in my head, just having a million conversations with myself, and if I sit down at a meeting and tune in, I come out of it.

Brandy: That’s wonderful.Do you remember – and maybe you talked about it on the show and I have just forgotten, but what was the moment that you knew you needed help? Like, where was your rock bottom? What was that moment like? I’m wondering if other listeners are trying to figure out, “Have I had a rock bottom moment? Am I there?”

Braunwyn: First of all, I have to say, a lot of people have to lose everything to get sober. For me, I had to gain everything. I kind of had to get everything I always wanted to realize that that need in me was never going to be filled by external things. There was something inside of me that I had to fix.

Brandy: That’s so interesting.

Braunwyn: A lot of people say, “I lost everything and I got sober.” I gained everything. I had everything I ever wanted, the show included, this was like a dream of mine. I had the family, I had the husband, I had the house, I had this amazing job. And it still wasn’t enough because what was lacking was inside of me, this feeling of never feeling like I was good enough, or I deserved these good things in my life. And then, I drank to kind of feel normal and to feel like I belonged. But this time, my sobriety was twofold. So I went to a lunch at Fashion Island at a restaurant here, a mom’s lunch, a brunch, 11am. And I was already drunk when I showed up. A friend picked me up. And the only reason I went was so that when Sean came home and I smelled like alcohol, I could be like, “Oh, I had a cocktail with the girls.”

Brandy: Right.

Braunwyn: That lunch, I don’t remember it. Jessica was actually at that lunch. And I said something very mean to her. And she’s an amazing person, and I don’t remember saying it. But the next day, I called a mutual friend of ours who was there and I said, “Did I do anything that I should be embarrassed of?” And she said, “Yeah, Honey, you did.” And she told me what I had said, and there were four women at the lunch. And I emailed them. And I didn’t know them that well at the time. And I emailed them, I said, “I have a problem. I need to quit drinking. I am so sorry. I’m going to get help.” And I don’t know what made me reach out to these women – they were mom friends, not close friends – and to admit– but I think it was saying something that I regretted to someone that I had so much respect for, like that’s not me, that wasn’t me. And so they were all very kind and Jessica forgave me, but it was like, I can’t believe I did that. So I left for Miami the day after that, and I swore I wasn’t going to drink in Miami. I did. And our last night, early morning, probably three, four in the morning, I had been drinking all weekend. Sean was so angry at me. I couldn’t leave the hotel room for the last day because I just couldn’t stop drinking. And I went into him and I said, “I have a problem. I need help. I can’t stop drinking. I can’t stop.” And he sat on me. He like physically restrained me until we got on the plane. He fell asleep and I ordered two Bloody Mary’s on that plane, and this is January 30th. In retrospect, that might have saved my life. I don’t know, because you should never stop drinking cold turkey on your own. Ever. You can die from that, you can have a seizure. So no one do that. Always get medical help. And that was the last drink I had. And I walked in this door, my mom was here. I told her – she’s known that I’ve had a problem because this is my third time getting sober. She was relieved. And I don’t know what was different that day. But I haven’t had a drink. I haven’t had a drink since, and that is… where’s my app? I have an app for this. That was 418 days ago.


Wow. Good for you.

Braunwyn: Yeah.

Brandy: You mentioned somebody named Captain Sandy. Who is that?

Braunwyn: She is on a show called Below Deck.

Brandy: Oh my god, I thought that. I thought you were talking about that Captain Sandy. So how does she crossover? Is she just from the Bravo world, you know her, or is she in recovery?

Braunwyn: She’s in recovery. She’s been sober for 30 something years now.

Brandy: I love her.

Braunwyn: Yeah, me too. Her girlfriend Leah is an Orange County woman who I knew through a friend of a friend. Somehow, we had known each other. So her girlfriend Leah and I had mutual friends and I knew her, then at BravoCon we met, and we just really got along. And so I reached out to Leah – and Leah is very amazing, she just has the biggest heart, she’s such a great person – and I said, “I need help. I need Captain Sandy’s help.” And she was like, “We’re at the movies, here..” And she handed her the phone.

Brandy: Yeah, like very responsive.

Braunwyn: Yeah, because I think when you’re in recovery and someone reaches out for help, that’s kind of the thing is like we are there for each other.

Brandy: I bet. Is there something looking back, would there have been something good to hear from a friend that would have helped you sooner? Or is it one of those things where there’s nothing anyone can say until you’re ready to get help? Like, how can we better check in on each other? Are there ways friends could have helped pull you from the edge, or were they trying? What’s your take on that?

Braunwyn: I can only speak for myself. For me, the friends that tried to get me help I pushed away. I didn’t want to hear it. The people that I was letting into my life at that time were the ones that were drinking like I was, they were the ones that were co-signing my BS.

Brandy: So, no. {Laughs}

Braunwyn: No. For me, no. Once I decided to get sober, there were people that had been there and they’re like, “Oh, thank God, we’re here for you.” But I will say the people that I kept closest were the ones that didn’t judge me and were just there for me. If you said a word, I shut you out and I wouldn’t let you back in.

Brandy: Yeah. Have you let any of those people back in since? Or is that like an old part of your life?

Braunwyn: No, a lot of them I have. I made amends to the people that I needed to make and I said sorry, and I’ve been very lucky that they were like, “We get it. We understand. We love you.”

Brandy: Well, and I know people had criticism for your husband, Sean, some of them called him an enabler. But I think that has to be such a complicated position. Like there’s no choice that has to feel good in his spot. If he gives you an ultimatum, it may backfire. And if you’ve seen it backfire with friends, what does he do?

Braunwyn: Right.

Brandy: But if he doesn’t give you an ultimatum, then people say he’s enabling you. So, I just feel so much empathy for all of you and for him around trying to do the right, loving thing. And it might seem clear to viewers what that thing is, but it’s gotta be so much different when it’s you making the decisions. And the stakes are so high. Watching it, you can be like, “Oh, how dare he?” or “How dare she?” But like, that’s your guys’ life. And it’s life or death stakes. I just feel like that was really heavy.

Braunwyn: I think that people that are judging probably haven’t been in the situation because if you deal with addiction, or if you have a loved one that does, you know there’s no clear-cut answer. That’s why Al Anon exists.

Brandy: Right.

Braunwyn: And this is such a real issue. I have found that the people that have judged my sobriety the harshest are the ones that have never been to a meeting. No one that’s been through this judges this because it is so hard and so real and so personal. I’ve gotten to know Jason Walher from The Hills and his whole storyline, not whole storyline, but a lot of what they deal with this year is his relationship with his wife, too, because addiction is a family disease. It affects everyone, and there is no right or wrong way. It’s what works, what doesn’t work, and there’s no clear-cut answer.

Brandy: And as painful as it was for you to get sober on TV, I know that your honesty around it must have been helpful to other women in similar situations. Do people reach out to you about it? Like did your story help them get help?

Braunwyn: Absolutely. I was getting hundreds of 1000s of messages a day.

Brandy: Oh my goodness.

Braunwyn: “You’re the first person I’ve ever said this to, I’m an alcoholic. No one knows, what should I do?” In the beginning, I was answering them all. I really was, I was going through them. I was spending 2, 3, 4 hours a day sometimes. And then at a certain point, I was talking to someone in the program I said, “I’m not okay right now. I’m giving so much but I’m not taking time for me.”

Brandy: Right.

Braunwyn: And they’re like, “You need to step away. You can’t give from an empty well.” And so that’s when I started the mental health Zooms that I do every month. I was like, “Okay, I can’t do this. I can’t. Like I love you all. I want to help everyone. But I’m very new to sobriety myself.” And there was something I said during the show that my cast took very out of context, which was, “I’m going to put me first,” you know? And they took that as being selfish and I said, “What I meant by that is, I’m going to put me first as in my sobriety.”

Brandy: Yeah.

Braunwyn: Not me in front of my children. I meant, I’m going to say no to those parties, I’m not going to go stay at places that are unhealthy. So much of being a woman, we say yes to things we don’t want to do. Like, “Do you want to volunteer for this?” “Okay.” So, no, I don’t, and I’m not going to. And that’s what I meant by “I want to put me first,” I meant taking care of my mental health and my sobriety. And so taking a step back, doing the mental health Zooms, that was my way of like, “I’m here for you. You know, for one hour, every month, I am here, I will listen, I love you. But then the other 29 days of the month, I got to keep myself sober.”

Brandy: Totally. And it’s got to be wild to go from being an alcoholic, admitting it, being in recovery, to now coaching or being an inspiration for other people. Because it seems like that’s what happens. Like when somebody has a fast labor, like a fast birth, there’s so little time to process the stages of it. And all of a sudden you find yourself where you’re the mentor, and you’re like, “Wait a minute, I’m still in this.” Like you said, “I still have to take care of myself.”

Braunwyn: Right. You’re asking me for answers, and I don’t really have any right now. So yeah, I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I always give, and like I said, everyone’s recovery is different, but what worked for me is finding a 12-step program. And I think it can’t hurt, you know? I’m not a big believer in God, that’s never been my thing.

Brandy: Same.

Braunwyn: But for me, my higher power is the other people in the room.

Brandy: That’s beautiful.

Braunwyn: And I have gone to meetings broken, like, I can’t breathe, I can’t get off my floor, I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to tomorrow. All I have to do is log on to a meeting, and there are people in that room that have been through what I’ve been through. So I don’t have to have the answer, someone there will, and that has been such a lifeline. Such a lifeline.

Brandy: As if you weren’t coming to grips with enough on the show, then we see that you came out as a lesbian. And you’ve told me that you didn’t actually want to come out yet, but we’re forced to. Can you tell us more about that? Is that something you can share about?

Braunwyn: Well it wasn’t forced, but it was encouraged.

Brandy: Well, right.

Braunwyn: What happened was, I had gone to LA for a weekend with my girlfriend at the time, and we were at a restaurant and someone – actually, I remember the girl that was sitting there was like a random person that was at the table by herself. But she leaked a photo to TMZ of us kissing. And TMZ was very gracious, and they gave me the heads up, “Hey, we have this photo, but we don’t out people,” which is very cool of them. “But this photo is going to get out there because not everyone has the same scruples as us.” And I kind of talked to people at work and was like, “Okay, let’s do this story. But I want to do it right. I don’t want it to be a salacious piece.” I personally find that in reality TV, female on female relationships take a very gossipy tone, you know, “Ooh, how titillating.” So we reached out to Anthony Ramos at GLAAD and said, “Hey, I would love to give you my story. I would love to tell it through you guys.” And he was so so amazing, and it was a beautiful story. And I say how when you watch it, what you don’t see is how badly I was shaking. I actually had to go back and redo the beginning, I was shaking so badly. I was so nervous.

Brandy: You mean when you were recording it for Housewives or when you were talking to him?

Braunwyn: When I was talking to GLAAD, the GLAAD interview.

Brandy: Okay.

Braunwyn: When I did it for Housewives, because there is a lag between everything– {laughs} and that ending too, “I’m a big lesbian!” That was the joke one. So like, we were doing our final interview, like how are you whatever, and I did my real one, and then, you know, you’re hanging out with the people you work with, so there’s a lot of joking around that you never see. That was the joke one! {laughs}

Brandy: {laughs} Not fair!

Braunwyn: I mean, I love that it came out but I’m like, “Oh, okay.”

Brandy: You know, this aspect of– this coming out as a lesbian is another one where I would imagine you get people contacting you all the time saying, “I feel the same way. Thank you for normalizing it.” I’ve noticed that many women our age – and I think we’re almost exactly the same age, I’m 44 – married and with kids are coming out as something other than heterosexual after all these years. And it feels like it’s a thing. And it makes total sense when you combine how exhausting heterosexual marriage can be with the fact that we weren’t raised in our generation to explore these sides of ourselves like our kids are today.

Braunwyn: Yes!

Brandy: So can you speak to this awakening going on with women, especially moms that you see happening? It’s like is everybody turning into a lesbian, which I know is not a thing and I know it’s not a choice, but it’s like we are having a midlife Renaissance, us women.

Braunwyn: You know what? Yes. One, I think the biggest part of it is we didn’t have this representation when we were growing up. I mean, in my mind, if you were a lesbian, and we still used the word “dyke” back then, like, that’s how backwards we were– I envisioned short hair and flannel. And I always had this idea of being a mom with a picket fence and a family. And I couldn’t correlate those two.

Brandy: But did you feel it, you knew it was happening, but you were just like, “But I really want this other thing more,” or you wouldn’t even entertain it, really?

Braunwyn: I always knew I was attracted to women. I’d always made out with girls, I kissed them, but I never put it into a box of you could have a relationship with one. You know, it was always like, that’s something you can do on the side.

Brandy: Yeah, yeah.

Braunwyn: Because you want the husband, you want the security, you want that American dream. And we didn’t have representation that the American Dream could have been two moms back then. I didn’t see it. Being gay was still something that we made fun of, you know? I think it wasn’t until, I don’t know, maybe college that we started to be kinder, because even in high school, it was still used as an insult.

Brandy: Yes.

Braunwyn: So there’s no way that me– I mean, I’m 43 and I still have insecurities. There’s no way me at 16, as insecure as I was, was gonna open that door, hell no.

Brandy: Right. That’s what I’m thinking about, the way that we’re raising our kids. And I’m noticing that the kids are so much more accepting and open. And I’m thinking to myself, how did these kids get to be like this, and then a friend of mine is like, “Because we’re raising them the opposite of how we were raised. And this is what happens, you know?” I don’t mean to pat us on the back, but like, we’ve done a pretty damn good job of letting them know that they’re always loved and that whatever they want to explore is okay, and we love people of all kinds. And so this is what happens, the kids hear us and so I’m partially like, yeah, it’s amazing that we have gone from– and maybe I’ll just speak for some of us who are parenting this way. But we went from having “gay” be a slur to all of a sudden, our kids are accepting and welcoming of other people who are coming out as gay or bi, or all the different flavors, and it’s the most beautiful thing. And to think like, wow, in our lifetime, just even seeing our parenting shift, we see the result of that, the fruits of our labor. Not to take it all on as our own, our kids are amazing, also.

Braunwyn: Our kids are amazing. They’re realizing that they don’t have to fit into a box. Sexuality has different shades.

Brandy: Yes.

Braunwyn: And I’ve also noticed, if you look at media now, there’s just so many more gay, straight, bi characters. I mean, Schitt’s Creek is the perfect example.

Brandy: Oh my gosh, yes.

Braunwyn:You know, it’s about the wine, not the bottle. Like, thank you. Thank you for that. There’s a new TV show that just came out, Ginny and Georgia, and one of the main characters is a teenager, she’s a lesbian girl, and her whole story, it’s not a big deal. And like, it’s beautiful. I watched another, Because I Care, that’s two women leads. It’s just becoming more mainstream, and the media is so powerful that when we see it, “Oh, I can have that.” Jokingly, I was at dinner with a bunch of girlfriends. I think there were six of us. Four of us had all been with women, two hadn’t. And I remember one was like, “Nope, I’m totally straight. I’m totally into guys. I just like men.” Needless to say, by the end of the night, they were making out. I’m like, “Told ya!”



Braunwyn: No woman is completely straight that I have met. Like given the right person the right opportunity– {laughs}

Brandy: Yes! My husband and I– I was talking to him about it one night, and I was just saying, “There’s so many women I know that this is happening to,” and we were having this open discussion about it. And we were lying in bed Googling, and we found this article– I don’t know if it was a New York Times article, or something, but it was basically saying how women are just so much more nuanced, that we fall in love with the person, and there’s so many other things that we can find that we love, other than just the gender, and so you see more women open to it. And I’m like, “God, we’re so much better.” Also, it proves that it’s not a choice because I feel like on so many levels, like I should be a lesbian. And I’m not. I love my husband, but dammit, there’s so much to be attracted to, and I feel like there’s always a part that’s like, “God, what would it take to make me go to the dark side because it seems really fucking fun over there.” {laughs}

Braunwyn: It does. I mean, I will say the last few months have been, for me– I was dating someone that it didn’t work out long term, but it was a beautiful time. I’m dating someone new right now, and it’s just been really nice to be able to go out and hold her hand and kiss her in public and not have it be something naughty, you know what I mean?

Brandy: Yes.

Braunwyn: It just feels so good to have that last part of me like, this is who I am. And it’s refreshing to just live like {Exhales}. Not that it’s been easy. I’m married with seven kids, like, there’s been a lot of growing pains, but it’s freeing. And like you said, with our kids, it’s so nice to see them be able to embrace who they are.

Brandy: Absolutely. And so what do you foresee with your marriage with Sean looking like going forward? Are you to creating an outside-of-the-box partnership with some flexibility? And how do you figure all of that out? Because I feel like this is going to be an era where more marriages are going to have to do that because I think exactly what you’re talking about, and what I’m saying about how I’m seeing all these women really find their authentic self. I don’t know that it’s so black or white sometimes, like, “Well, I don’t want to be in this marriage anymore.” So it’s like, how do we make room for the relationship to exist, and the parenting? And that love I don’t think necessarily just goes away. But then how do we make room for all of the things to exist? Like, have you guys figured that out yet, or are you in process?

Braunwyn: Oh, god no! {Laughs}

Brandy: {Laughs}

Braunwyn: You know, I think the one of the things that has to change is we have to just kind of realize that this old system of marriage between one man and one woman, isn’t it. There are so many different ways just like every human is a different way, every marriage and love story can be, you know?

Brandy: Right.

Braunwyn: Polyamorous relationships, whatever. We need to get rid of the word like, well that’s “right,” that’s “normal.” Like whatever, stop. Stop trying to shove everyone in a box. I understand in the olden days this was necessary to create order or whatever. But the antiquated idea of marriage isn’t exactly working right now. I think the divorce rate in Orange County is 70%.

Brandy: Oh, my goodness.

Braunwyn: So obviously, something is broken. And I obviously I can’t fix anything but myself. But yeah, Sean and I are, you know, we really are taking it one day at a time. Like we don’t have– I’d say the closest thing I have to a role model is Will and Jada Smith, you know?

Brandy: It’s so funny, I was just gonna say they are one of the other couples that seem to have this sort of soulmate thing understood, and then where they go in other places is up to them, which seems kind of amazing.

Braunwyn: They call each other “life partners,” and I’m like, that’s it. Sean is my life partner. We are family. What are we going to do? I don’t, honestly, I don’t know. We are taking it day by day. He has a job opportunity coming up that would take him away a little bit more, but we really are just figuring it out. And we’re not in a hurry. I think a lot of people are like, what are you gonna do now? You should get divorced, gotta get a divorce. I’m like, chill. Like, just give me a hot minute. Give us some time. We’re not in a hurry, we get along great. We’re a family. Why does everyone want us to be in separate homes, raising our kids separately when we’re perfectly happy with what we’re doing right now? Just back off. {Laughs}

Brandy: Yeah, good for you. And you know, one of the things that you told me was that – and I think you said earlier like when you came out as a lesbian you wanted to scream it from the rooftops, that you’re so proud of it. But then you were super surprised and overwhelmed by the hate you got. So what was that? Like, after being so proud and feeling like, “I finally found this puzzle piece that matches,” and then what was it like being out, and what did the world reflect back to you?

Braunwyn: That was unexpected. I had a lot of people saying, “You have a good man at home, you should be grateful. You should be happy with what you have. Go home to your husband.” I was like, whoa. “Your poor children.” I think I got, “Your poor children,” more than anything else.

Brandy: Ughhh.

Braunwyn: “Your poor children.” I was not expecting that. Because my social circles, the people that I’m surrounded with, are very open-minded. And I went to a party once with Kris and Sean. We were all there together, and a lot of my friends didn’t know what was going on. They met, they’re like, “Okay, you’re good. Sean’s good. I’m happy for you.” Like that’s it. So I wasn’t expecting that. And most of this – I would say 90% of the hate that I get comes from middle-aged white women.

Brandy: {Laughs} Shocker.

Braunwyn: And I think, and this is just my opinion, I think that what Sean and I are doing, or what I’m specifically doing, disrupts everything that they hold sacred, which is it doesn’t matter if you’re unhappy or if your needs aren’t met or you’re not living your most authentic life. As long as like you put your children first, and you’re a mommy martyr, then it’s all worth it.

Brandy: Yep.

Braunwyn: And here I am saying, “No, I’m not gonna do that anymore. I’m not.” You know? My kids can be happy, and I can be happy. We all can be happy.

Brandy: Isn’t that the truth? Yes. That’s why I think it’s so powerful and why you’re my favorite because you’re doing this on a show that is to me is typically conservative seeming.

Braunwyn: Sooooo conservative.

Brandy: Okay, thank you because I keep thinking every time I watch I’m like where are the progressives in this, especially in the Orange County one.

Braunwyn: I think Orange County is one of the most conservative ones. I think if the storyline had happened in New York, it would have gone very differently.

Brandy: Yeah. Interesting.

Braunwyn: If I had a cast that was more progressive, it would have been a very different season for me, you know?

Brandy: True.

Braunwyn: Because you can only work with what you have. And if everyone’s against you, and like, “No, you’re not that,” with underlying levels of homophobia and racism running rampant, there’s only so much you can do so. Orange County is conservative. It is. Newport Beach, especially, it is a conservative town. And what you saw happen on the show, that happens in my town. I left the Balboa Bay Club, we’re not members anymore because it was uncomfortable. And I tell the story how the first time I was walking on the beach with Kris holding her hand, the snide comments and looks I got, I wasn’t ready for. I was like, wow, okay, this is happening.

Brandy: Yeah, and there’s pockets of Orange County that are so cool. But they’re pockets.

Braunwyn: Yeah. Laguna is a little bit cooler. But I had two friends, they’re gay guys, that were yelled at, they were called the F word. So it’s just this climate where everyone thinks their opinion should be yelled.

Brandy: Yeah, their hateful opinion.

Braunwyn: And I think getting towards the end of 2020, around the election, there was just a lot of hate that was given a platform.

Brandy: Oh for sure.

Braunwyn: And we’re kind of in the midst of it. So I do hope it gets a little bit better. And I know under this new administration, there’s a lot…


Yeah, there’s a different vibe. {Laughs}

Braunwyn: Yeah, there’s just a lot more kindness behind the laws that are being enacted.

Brandy: Absolutely. Well, are you allowed to tell us the story about how it cost you money to kiss Tamra on TV?

Braunwyn: Seventy grand!

Brandy: {Laughs}

Braunwyn: That’s how much it cost to kiss Tamra. {Laughs}

Brandy: Was it worth it? Was she a $70,000 kiss? {Laughs}

Braunwyn: It was worth it! It was worth every damn penny. Um, yeah, when we left our old house, the new owner, he’s a lawyer. He’s a partner in a law firm. He said that my behavior on the show devalued the home and he had a 90-page report. And my “behavior” was me kissing women – it was Tamra and then other ones were like, joke ones like me kissing a girlfriend on the step, like not real.

Brandy: Right.

Braunwyn: Even like a kiss on the cheek. But me kissing Tamra on the show, my “indecent behavior,” brought down the value of the house. And although we could have fought it in court, because that’s not legal, he was a partner at a law firm. And so our lawyer said, “Settle because you could go to court for this for years. It’s going to cost you a lot of money. A lot of time. He’s working for free. And he might have to pay but you know, in the long run, just settle,” so we ended up settling for 70 grand. I left the courthouse and called her and I said that is– I think it was right after we found out she wasn’t coming back. I actually do remember it, no because we were already filming. I walked into my house and they were doing my background, like the photo we sit in front of, right? And we’re doing our confessionals. So I had the whole crew in my home doing this, including our show runner, and I’m like, “You guys lost out because one kiss from Tamra is 70 grand!” {Laughs}

Brandy: {Laughs} I can’t, but I mean I can and I can’t believe, it’s just so absurd. And like what we were talking about when you told me this before is it’s just homophobia. There’s nothing lewd there. That’s just like a woman kissing a woman. There’s nothing. It just boggles my mind. But I totally agree with your lawyer that it would have cost you more money and mental health. But damn.

Braunwyn: And mental health, yeah. And that happened in 2019. So for people to think–

Braunwyn: How far we’ve come–

Braunwyn: How far we’ve come, we still have a lot further to go.

Brandy: Another thing I admired about you was how both you and Sean were so supportive of your son Jacob and his exploration of his gender identity. And Sean wearing high heels to an event in support was the sweetest, and just such a good example of healthy masculinity. And so were you always this supportive? And was this on your radar before you experienced it with Jacob, or was he kind of your foray into gender identity?

Braunwyn: I think he was. I mean, when he was little, he always used to dress up with the sisters and he’d go shopping dressed a girl, but I didn’t really put anything else into it. I just thought he was having fun with his sisters. You know, he was a musical theater kid. He was always dressing up and in shows. When he came to us about doing drag, and then said, “I’m not sure if I identify as he/she,” I was like, “Okay, like, we’ll figure this out.” It honestly didn’t even faze us. It was like, “We got your back, whatever.” I did tell you when we were talking about it, after he told me this, I did come into my room and I cried because I did know life was gonna be harder.

Brandy: Yes.

Braunwyn: And I was worried about his safety, and I knew that the murder rate for transgender people is insanely high, so there’s definitely that, but as far as loving my kids for who they are, that’s easy. I don’t know why that doesn’t come easy to everyone because that’s a no-brainer. Like, “Okay, we love you. What do you need?” But that was such an amazing night that night with Jacob. It was his first drag show. He had his dad supporting him. All of the drag queens came up to us, some of them with tears in their eyes, saying, “I can’t, like, thank you. I wish I had had this from my parents. My dad kicked me out of the house.” It was a fundraiser for LGBTQIA youth in San Diego, and a lot of the people there had gone to the shelter that they had because they’ve been kicked out of their homes. And they’re just like, “Thank you. Thank you for loving your son.” And it was beautiful. And Jacob glowed that night. And you know, having his sisters, the support, just all of it. All of it.

Brandy: Yeah, it was so beautiful. And again, one of the few times on this Housewives show that something like that is portrayed. Again, the representation, it’s like this matters. This moment matters, especially—

Braunwyn: Representation matters.

Brandy: In a conservative group. I just think it’s so important.

Braunwyn: I had parents reach out to me saying, “Thank you, my child’s transgender, wants to do drag. Thank you for normalizing it.” I had that, and that meant more than anything in the whole world. And Jacob has a lot of kids reach out to him.

Brandy: And how does he feel good about that? Is he–

Braunwyn: So good.

Brandy: Oh, good.

Braunwyn: So good.

Brandy: I love that. Do you have any advice for parents out there with kids who don’t fit the binary boy/girl labels, other than like, love your kid? {Laughs}

Braunwyn: Number one, love your child. Number two, you don’t have to have all the answers right away. You don’t. This is a learning curve. I always say reach out. We have resources, I have them on my Instagram page, reach out to PFLAG, reach out to GLAAD, there are people that can help you with anything in life. Going and talking to people who’ve been through it already is such a great help. I found a mentor for Jacob, I found someone to help Jacob that was closer to his age. Because I asked, “What do you want from me?” He said, “Just some space.” I said, “Okay.” One of the things when I was I was talking to a mom of a transgender child was she went back– one, she practiced the pronoun on a teddy bear to get used to it, but then she went back to the old baby books and changed from this is my son to this is my daughter. This is my baby girl. This is my baby girl and just you know redoing it. So giving yourself time and then just, you’ll get there. You’ll get there. If you go on my Instagram, during Transgender Awareness Week, I tell the stories of a transgender male and a transgender female. Listen to those stories. Listen to other people’s stories because you do learn a lot by people that have gone through it.

Brandy: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so shifting gears – this is more of the show stuff that I know people are interested in. Who are you closest with in the Housewife franchise? You were saying at the beginning that it feels like a big sorority and you have these lifelong friends, who are your closest allies?

Braunwyn: Heather Gay is a ride or die. I love Leah. Kary and I, from Dallas, we were first year Housewives the same year and became so close. Deandra. Um, I’m really good friends with Barb from New York. Um, I’m like going through the cities right now. Margaret. Margaret is such a cool girl. I really do love Jennifer from New Jersey. We got to go to Miami together.

Brandy: Fun!

Braunwyn: But I would say Kary, and Heather and Barbara, are my closest.

Brandy: And anybody from OC? Is there anybody that you are actually really close with?

Braunwyn: Tamra.

Brandy: Well, yeah, for $70,000. {Laughs}

Braunwyn: Yeah. But like, in real life, I’m really close to Tamra, not for the show.

Brandy: Yeah yeah. As a person.

Braunwyn: Just as a genuinely good human.

Brandy: Yeah. I think the biggest question people have is, are you coming back next year – or next season?

Braunwyn: I have no idea. None of us know yet. They’re still in the casting process. So every year they do a big casting. I know some of the people there that are interviewing. So they go to Evolution and talk, I think starting next week, but yeah, no one knows right now.

Brandy: What do you think, do you have a feeling? What do you think is going to happen? Because I’ve heard people talk about with your region, with Orange County, that there are certain people they’re getting rid of. Like we’ve heard that Kelly Dodd is being fired over and over, but then not.

Braunwyn: None of the stuff you’ve heard is from any legitimate source.

Brandy: That’s what I thought.

Braunwyn: So yes, there’s tons of rumors from people that want– some of it might be planted from people that want it to take legs. No one knows right now. I don’t think they know yet because they haven’t done casting. So until they figure out who they want to bring in, it doesn’t make sense.

Brandy: So are you hoping you’ll be back?

Braunwyn: I would love to be back. I would love to be.

Brandy: I hope so, too.

Braunwyn: If I’m not, you know, que sera, I will live my life looking forward just like I always have, but I feel like my story’s not done being told. I feel like I’m just getting started.

Brandy: Yeah, I agree. So this is more on a personal note, but something that I always feel when I see you talk to your mom on the show, and I know that moms are complicated, and I know that the show doesn’t show everything. But I hope somewhere, someone, whether it’s a therapist, or a friend has reminded you that just because your mom thought your childhood was good enough, or you were cared for enough that that doesn’t mean that was your experience of it. I just so badly wanted your mom to say, “I’m sorry that what I thought was good enough for you wasn’t actually good enough for you.” So, again, I know it’s complicated, but I just feel like you deserve to feel the way you do about your childhood experiences, even if your mom disagrees.

Braunwyn: One of the things that someone said to me in a meeting that resonated so deeply with me was you’re never gonna change who your parents are. They are who they are. The only thing I can do is be the best daughter that I can be. And that’s it.

Brandy: Yeah.

Braunwyn: I love my mom. And from the moment I heard that, I will always be the best daughter I can be to her.

Brandy: Yeah. Is there anything you want to share or discuss that you feel like was misrepresented on the show, in closing here? Are there any misconceptions about you?

Braunwyn: I mean, I think there’s a ton. I think one of the things I would love for people to realize is just because someone says it doesn’t make it true. In my case, people said things that were just so silly and petty, I don’t even want to get into them. But just remember, just because someone says it doesn’t make it true. I know who I am. I know why I do the things I do. There’s just a lot of things that people said about me, none of them were real. And I wish I’d had a chance on the show to explain them. But I wasn’t given that opportunity because a lot of it I didn’t know till it aired.

Brandy: That’s got to be so hard, when you watch it and you see yourself being talked about and you’re like, “I can’t even go back and do damage control.”

Braunwyn: There was a thing where Kelly said that I hired a photographer for a rally, and I didn’t, and then everyone believed it. I was like, “That didn’t happen.” Or I hired an investigator, but I didn’t. But I didn’t know this till I watched it back, and it’s like, “wow.” But then people believe that because I think people want to believe the worst, in some weird way. So I think that’s one thing is when you watch these shows, just remember: just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true.

Brandy: Okay. And if people want to follow you or your causes that are important to you online, where would you send them? I mean, they probably already know and follow you. But just in case.

Braunwyn: Yeah, so obviously Instagram, and then we have braunwyn.com where we try to keep that updated with the different things we’re doing that month, it has links to the mental health Zooms, and then we do the Amplified Voices. And I really am so proud of the work we’ve done. I’ve had help by my friend Anthony who’s really been such a great, collaborative force. But I’m really excited to just keep interviewing amazing people and sharing other people’s stories because I often joke, I’m a middle-aged, white woman, my story has been told, and there’s so many other stories out there. One of the things I think we can all do right now is just follow a couple people you wouldn’t normally. Find some people like Rachel Cargle.

Brandy: Yes.

Braunwyn: Or Glennon Doyle, or maybe someone you don’t really follow, and just take the time to learn others’ experiences and other people’s stories because our truth is not the truth.

Brandy: Yes. So well put. Braunwyn truly, thank you for trusting me to interview you today. You must be so cautious and guarded with interviews, and rightfully so. And I just thank you for letting me in and allowing my listeners to get to know the real you. So, thank you so much.

Braunwyn: Thank you, and I hope I’ll see you soon.

Brandy: {Interlude music} This interview was so fun. Getting to interview someone you watch on TV, whom you feel like you know, whom you sort of do know but don’t, was a total pleasure. I worried that the thing would happen where people in the public eye don’t live up to your expectations because they’re human and all that. And some of you may disagree, but I’m happy to say that I came out of this loving Braunwyn even more. Her earnestness about how much she enjoys being on the show was so refreshing, because it feels like most of the women are like, “I could give or take the show. I mean, they’re lucky to have me.” So I appreciated Braunwyn saying that after being a stay-at-home mom for 18 years, she was thrilled to do the show. I think most of us who ask ourselves, “Why would anyone go on a show like this to get ripped apart?” might understand that motivation a little bit more now. Like this was a thing for HER. I think we can all understand that.

Brandy: I also haven’t been able to stop thinking about what she said about having to get everything she’d wanted to realize she’d never be happy and that she was an alcoholic. Because it’s the opposite of the story we usually hear about having to lose it all, I would imagine there are listeners who needed to hear her words who haven’t realized that you can have it all and also be an alcoholic. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive. If you are ready to seek help for an alcohol addiction, or you need support because someone close to you is an alcoholic, please visit aa.org. You are absolutely not alone.

Brandy: A quick plug for my book (which as an indie author I gotta do). If you’re enjoying this podcast, you will likely enjoy my book, Adult Conversation: A Novel. It’s a darkly comedic story about a frazzled modern mother and her therapist who go on a Thelma-and-Louise-style road trip to Vegas, looking for pieces of themselves that motherhood and marriage swallowed up while they are also tested and tempted to make life-altering choices. Yes, there are strippers, there’s weed, it’s Vegas. One Amazon reviewer said, “From the very first page I was howling and had to turn and read it to my husband. It was my life. The author’s ability to evoke the real, raw experience of motherhood from the euphoric highs and the oh-so lows is beyond anything I’ve read before. The grounding reality makes the engaging storyline exciting and cathartic as you feel yourself going along for the ride. Get this book and share it with your mom friends. now.” As always, thanks for listening.

** As always, thank you to Scott Weigel and his band, Seahorse Moon, for providing me with that jaunty intro and outro music. You guy are awesome. Check ’em out on iTunes.