The Real Housewives of Orange County has already gotten off to an explosive start and the show hasn’t even hit the pandemic yet. We caught up with Emily Simpson to give us details on season 15, the status of her rocky relationships and the ‘fun’ Emily she keeps referring to.
This interview has been condensed for brevity.
Slice: How was shooting this season during COVID?
Emily: It was definitely a challenge. We were really the only franchise that actually shot during the pandemic. Everyone else had hit it at the end — but we actually shot through it. So I think it just presented a lot of obstacles and challenges, but I think we put out an amazing season considering what we had to deal with and how we had to keep everybody safe.
It gives you a real bird’s eye view into what life is like for each of us during quarantine. We did a lot of self-filming. This isn’t watching the news and seeing numbers tick up, or talking about statistics or cases. This is a real look into people’s lives and homes that we’re dealing with — quarantine and kids being home and no school and not knowing what the future holds. I think that we did a great job of capturing that.
S: In the first episode, we saw that your friendship with Gina has become so much better. Are there any other relationships that you feel got deeper after this season?
Well, Kelly and I are really close too. I think maybe that’s not presented as much on film but Kelly and I really have a close relationship.
I talk to her a lot — almost on the daily. We obviously had our challenges, like the first season that we were together, but we’ve just from that point on become really good friends. I love that Gina and I are back to Gina and Emily because last year was rough for me.
S: This season we’re seeing the ‘fun’ Emily come out. What brought that on?
It’s probably just a lot of different variables, but I think the first two seasons that I was on the show, I really felt like I was on the defense the whole time. I kind of felt iced out by other people. You know, senior members on the show who aren’t really welcoming to new people.
And so I felt like I didn’t really have the opportunity to showcase who I am or my personality or anything. I just felt like I was constantly deflecting — like defending my marriage or defending my friendship with Gina. I just felt very defensive for two years. It’s nice to get to the point where I feel like I can just be myself and not have to constantly defend myself so much. I feel like that’s where the fun Emily comes out.
S: Last season you were so open about the challenges in your marriage, and now everything’s turned around 360. What happened there?
I think Shane and I being at a really, really low point in our marriage was just a lot of different factors. I think me being in a lot of pain — because this was prior to me having my hip replaced. I got to the point where I couldn’t even walk and had trouble driving. I couldn’t sleep at night because the pain was so severe, so I wasn’t getting any sleep. I got to the point where I was just miserable. And then I was making him miserable, and then I think he was resentful of me being miserable.
So he was mean, and I think we just got into this really bad place in our marriage. I felt like we were at the point where I was like, we need to go our separate ways because this is not good. And, we decided to recommit to each other. I think me having the surgery and feeling so much better physically, which also helps mentally as well. I just feel happier. I feel like a different person. I think he’s made a huge effort to be nice and kind, and I think he’s very careful about his words now, because I don’t think before he was cognizant of how mean he could sound when for him it was like sarcastic or funny, but for me it was mean. I don’t think he recognized that.
S: We have to ask — who’s causing the most drama this season?
Braunwynn. I mean, she’s by far the most dramatic, but then she has bigger issues going on, which caused her to be more dramatic. But, she does do things too that don’t even have anything to do with drinking or being sober or anything that causes drama as well.
S: Knowing what you know about the season, how would you describe season 15?
I would say season 15 is phenomenal. Given the challenges that we’ve had to overcome, and the fact that we’ve managed to really make an amazing season that I feel like people are really recognizing and investing in. Because the comments I get and the things I hear from friends and family that watched it, it’s just like, wow, this is really good and really entertaining.
I think that has to do with the fact that you have six women who are all different, but who all have unique and real authentic relationships with one another. And that’s what makes for good TV. So I think it’s really a phenomenal season.