This summer, Tamra Judge’s estranged daughter Sidney slammed her mom in a scathing Facebook post, claiming Tamra had been “no mother” to her.
The post, in which Sidney alleged that The Real Housewives of Orange County star had been both mentally and emotionally abusive, was just one in a long string of Tamra’s tumultuous family dramas.
This season, we’ve seen the OC Housewife take part in Erasing Family, a documentary and movement supporting family members who have been “erased” from their loved ones’ lives as the result of a divorce. But the story Tamra told on-camera only scratches the surface of the decades-long familial theatrics that have plagued her life.
From her fallout with Sidney and Simon to her parents’ messy split and her little-known public blows with her first husband, Darren Vieth, here’s a look back at Tamra’s lifetime of intense family drama.
After her parents split, her dad got together with one of her mom’s friends
Tamra’s parents didn’t divorce until she was 25 years old, but their split still had a devastating impact on her family. After the split, Tamra’s dad married one of her mom’s friends, which led to understandable bad blood in the family.
Tamra took her mother’s side and broke off contact with her dad. In a blog post, she revealed, “I spent the last 15 years of my life acting as if it NEVER happened and I moved on with my life. No one ever heard me talk about my dad and when I was asked about him, I had a hard time keeping the tears in.”
Years later, her father split from the friend and Tamra reconnected with him. As we saw this season, that put a wedge between Tamra and her mom. After her mom failed to show up for her Erasing Families speech, Tamra told the crowd, “My dad drove 10 hours to be here — and my mom didn’t show up…It hurts my feelings that my mom didn’t think it was important enough to show up.”
Her split from her first husband was super messy
While Tamra’s divorce from Simon Barney was well-documented on RHOC and in the press, far less is known about her relationship with her son Ryan’s father, Darren Vieth. Tamra claimed during a speech captured on RHOC that the end of her marriage to Darren led to her first suicide attempt. After that episode aired, Darren gave an interview to Radar Online claiming the couple’s divorce was actually the result of Tamra cheating on him.
“Tamra usually never tells the entire story, and this time is no different,” Darren said at the time.
It gets messier from there. According to Radar Online, Tamra clapped back in a now-deleted tweet that claimed Darren cheated on her – with a man. The site also reported Tamra voluntarily gave sole custody of Ryan to Darren in 1995 during a difficult period, though she later took him back and raised him as a single mother.
After Darren spoke out in the press, Ryan retorted that Tamra, “only asked for my dad to step it up and help out when she was going through a difficult time.”
“My mom has always been in my life even when she was struggling,” Ryan told WetPaint, “It’s disgusting that he is trying to go after my mom by spreading lies. Everyone wants [their] 15 minutes of fame! I feel sorry for him and hope that one day he will have peace in his life.”
Ryan even told the site that Simon, with whom he had a volatile relationship with as a teenager, was “more of a father figure than my dad ever was to me.”
Tamra’s nasty split from Simon
Which brings us to Tamra’s split from Simon. The cracks in that marriage started showing soon after they joined RHOC in Season 3. By the show’s fifth season, the marriage was done.
Who could forget RHOC’s Season 5 finale shocker, when Tamra asked for a divorce? After Simon told her she should “dress like a married woman” and criticized her friendship with Vicki, Tamra had finally had enough.
“You’re a nasty, vile person,” she screamed. “You can go f— yourself … I want a divorce! F— you!”
Soon after, in 2010, Tamra got her divorce. Almost immediately, the couple began to throw jabs at each other both in the press and in court. Simon claimed Tamra had been verbally abusive, disloyal, and had committed adultery, all of which she denied.
A few years later, Simon made a bid for sole custody, alleging Tamra was an unfit mother who failed to have healthy food in the house, neglected their son Spencer’s broken thumb, dropped the kids off late to school, and forged their daughter Sophie’s school reading log.
Tamra released a statement that she was “saddened by the false stories” Simon was spreading.
Eventually, the family split in half, with Spencer choosing to live with Tamra and Sidney staying with Simon. Because of the divide, Spencer and Sidney were also split from each other. In 2015, Tamra revealed during a reunion taping that “the only time they see each other is when they pass each other in the hallways at school.”
Tamra’s estranged relationship with Sidney
At the Season 10 reunion of RHOC, Tamra revealed she hadn’t seen her daughter Sidney in two years. Then this spring, it looked for a moment like they had made a reconciliation. Tamra posted photos taken at Sidney’s high school graduation and wrote about how proud she was of her daughter.
As it turns out, that very post was the apparent catalyst for their next big mother-daughter rift. “My mother continues to talk about me despite me requesting her to stop speaking of me publicly,” Sidney wrote on Facebook. She claimed Simon was the one who had “forced” her to invite Tamra and that one of the conditions she stipulated for Tamra’s attendance was that she not post anything about it on social media.
Sidney went on to echo Simon’s claims from years earlier, writing, “The reasons I left my mothers (sic) house are that she was neglectful (leaving us at home with no food or simply ignoring us entirely), she constantly put herself first and the biggest reason was that she was mentally and emotionally abusive. She was no mother to me.”
In response to a fan asking about the rift, Tamra tweeted, “Not surprised. #brainwashed Ask her paid for her very expensive college (sic). I’m good when it works for her and her dad.” She also released a statement that read: “I love my daughter and I would NEVER abuse, hurt, or neglect her in any way. I ask that you do not send Sidney negative messages or comments; direct them at me if feel the need.”
She even tweeted that she thought Simon was the one behind the post, not Sidney – a claim Sidney quickly debunked. “Just to clear things up, my father did not hack my Facebook account or write my previous fb post I did,” Sidney posted on her Facebook.
There has been no word of reconciliation since.