The Ups and Downs of Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson’s Tumultuous Friendship
Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson have one of the most iconic Housewives friendships of all time. We even put them on our list of the ultimate Housewives BFFs. But looking back, are they more Thelma and Louise, or backstabbing Bettys?
Let's take a trip down memory lane to chart the ups and downs of their rocky relationship...
Season three sisters
Vicki loves to torment a new girl (see: Gretchen, Alexis), but she and Tamra hit it off right away. Even though Tammy – remember how she used to go by "Tammy"? – came in declaring she was the "hottest Housewife in the O.C." Vicki took a shining to her and welcomed her into the fold.
For a few seasons, Vicki and Tamra were, to borrow from another Housewife, thick as thieves. They were full-on woo-hoo BFFs. They wore matching straw cowboy hats, went on double dates with Donn and Simon, and bonded over their mutual hate for Gretchen.
It was a Survivor-like alliance bound by mutual enemies and brassy blond extensions. And it was fun. Peak V + T were the kind of good time gals who'd jump on the bar at Andale's and grab bottles of tequila from behind the bar to pass around. Even when they got all Mean Girls on Gretchen and Alexis, it was fun to watch; they were the Plastics of the 40-something O.C. set and as a viewer, you weren't personally victimized by Vicki Gunvalson, so it felt OK to laugh.
Then in season five, things between the O.C.'s resident besties started to take a turn.
Long before Jason Hoppy went full vill, Simon Barney was the most villainous Housewives husband. He was also the source of stress that started to twist Tamra and Vicki's BFF-ship into the seasons-long on-again off-again feud they're still in today.
When things between Tamra and Simon started to go sour, he was quick to deflect the blame to Vicki. He started telling Tamra she was a bad influence and tried to regulate the time they spent together.
It was the kind of thing that happens with lots of couples barreling towards a split. Tamra started leaning on Vicki and no doubt confided in her about Simon's poor behaviour behind closed doors (and, frankly, in front of the cameras), which Simon sniffed out and pounced on as another sign of wifely disobedience.
It was a bummer to watch. But it was far from the first time a man would come between these two. Enter Eddie and Brooks.
Boy trouble PT II
At the start of season seven, Vicki and Tamra were leading parallel lives again. They were both recent divorcees with new men in their lives and they tried to return to simpler times, swapping their exes for Brooks and Eddie on their double dates.
The fab four didn't last long. Eddie and Vicki hit it off, but they hit it off a little too well for Tamra's liking.
Tamra made a fuss of their lighthearted flirting, then retaliated by grabbing Brooks' hand and shoving it on her chest. It was...strange.
Then things got totally insane. Tamra knew something was up with Brooks early on, but it wasn't until he used the two words you never use with Tamra Barney that she unleashed her full wrath on him. Evil eye.
In retrospect, it seems likely Brooks saw Tamra lose it on Gretchen over her evil eye taunting the previous season and used those words to set her off. At any rate, when he said she was giving Vicki the "evil eye" Tamra completely lost it.
Apparently you do not touch Vicki Gunvalson's man, because she literally jumped out of her chair to clap back at Tamra.
It was one of the craziest fights in O.C. history. It's right up there with Tamra tossing her wine at Jeana Keough.
Things eventually got way, way worse with Brooks, obvi, but first, we need to talk about Gretchen.
Looking back, Tamra and Gretchen’s friendship feels more like a fever dream than a real thing that happened, but it lasted way longer than you might remember.
They had a short lived reconciliation in season six, follow by another the next year behind Vicki's back. By season eight, they were full-on dressing like twins. There was too much bad blood for these two to ever be for-real friends, but Gretchen made a decent backup buddy for Tamra.
However ill-fated this alternate universe friendship was, its end was an all-time RHOC highlight. After Gretchen and Heather threw Tamra a snoozy dinner party for her Bachelorette (party games included questions like “What’s Eddie’s favourite colour?”), Vicki swooped in to save the day with a little Whooping It Up at Andale's.
The way she did it, though, was pretty nasty: she literally snatched Tamra and Lydia away while Gretchen and Heather were in the washroom. With a flick of her hair, Vicki led her allies away from her haters.
From that point on, Gretchen was basically cut out and Vicki and Tamra were back on.
The brief BFF return
After the bachelorette and a heart-to-heart in Heather's wine cellar, Vicki and Tamra successfully mended fences, establishing a firm Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy when it came to Brooks.
It was the old V + T again! For a hot second. Then the Brooks sitch became so bad, it was impossible not to talk about. Tamra led the charge in questioning his cancer, severing what was left of their patched together friendship.
Once she was backed into a corner, Vicki had to drop her no new friends policy and find a new Whoop It Up gal in Kelly. Then, just when it seemed like a real reconciliation could be on the horizon again, Vicki went and said Eddie was gay. Oy vey.
The real nail in the coffin on the V + T we used to love probably came several seasons back, sometime around Brooks whipping the "Evil Eye" out of his insult arsenal, but Vicki coming for Eddie felt yet another swing of the hammer on the same spot.
But with all the ups and downs, who knows? Maybe Brianna will swoop in and friendship whisper these two back together once again. Stranger things have happened in the O.C.
Never forget: there was a season when Tammy and Gretchen were skipping around Orange County, blissfully dressed as twins.