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Former ‘Housewives’ star Lauri Peterson says son Joshua Waring has died: ‘No one can ever prepare you’

Peterson mourned the loss of her son on social media, writing, “Every fiber in my body hurts.”
/ Source: TODAY

“The Real Housewives of Orange County” alum Lauri Peterson is mourning the death of her son, Joshua Waring, who died on March 31 at age 35. 

Peterson shared the news of her son’s death on social media on April 6 alongside a carousel of photos of her son. The photos ranged from his childhood with his family to adulthood, including a photo from her 2007 wedding.

The former reality TV star penned an emotional message about her late son in the caption, writing in part, “It is with a shattered heart that I write this post to let you know that my sweet Josh left this earth Easter Sunday.”

TODAY.com reached out to Peterson for comment, but did not hear back at the time this story was published

“No one can ever prepare you for this feeling of such deep loss,” she added. “Every fiber in my body hurts. Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great.”

Peterson recalled her son’s childhood, noting that it was full of “humor” and “pranks” as well as sports, books, hanging out with friends, and a “love for music.”

“Even during adult hardship, Josh continued to maintain his sense of humor, continued to be optimistic, continued to be kind to others, defended those that were unable to defend themselves and continued to love his family so so much!” she added. 

Peterson noted that he had the “most joy, pride and purpose” through his daughter, Kennady, who he welcomed in 2012.

In the caption, Peterson also took a moment to thank the individuals who tried to help her son, calling them “Angels on earth,” before adding, “Not everyone understands those suffering from substance abuse disorder, but I am forever grateful for your understanding and the impact you made on his life.”

She also thanked those who supported her through “kind words of encouragement” and shared their own stories about struggles with addiction.

“My heart is with you and I pray you have found the peace that you so deserve,” she concluded her caption. “Heaven has gained the coolest angel and you have gained your freedom at last sweet boy. Love always and forever, Mom.”

In the comments, Peterson received an outpouring of love and sympathy, including a sweet message from her daughter, Ashley Zarlin, who wrote, “I love you so much, mom.”

Andy Cohen shared his regards to Peterson, writing in part, “Lauri I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking.”

“You tried so hard to save him, and by sharing Josh’s story you would up educating people around the world about the tragedy of addiction for those who are touched by it,” Cohen added. “May Josh’s memory be a blessing to you always. Sending your family all my love.”

She also received support from her fellow “RHOC” alums, including Jeana Keough, Kelly Dodd, and Lizzie Rovsek.

“My heart breaks for you, i know how hard you worked to be his advocate,” Keough worte. “Big hug and prayers for your family at this sad time.”

Dodd added, “I’m so sorry for your loss 😢!! My prayers go out to y’all !!”

Meanwhile, Rovsek told Peterson that she was “praying for peace and comfort” for her.

“I can’t even begin to imagine this kind of loss," she said. "My heart aches for you and what you all went through all these years. You are a great mom. Sending you a big hug and all my love and prayers.”

Peterson has been candid over the years about her son’s struggle with addiction, telling TODAY in October 2018 that she didn’t know her son’s “addiction was as great as it was” until after she left “RHOC” in 2008.

Amid his battle with addiction, Joshua had several run-ins with the law and faced a string of arrests during his life, including a 2016 arrest when he was charged with three counts of attempted murder. In September 2022, Joshua plead guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Due to her son’s struggles with addiction, Peterson and her husband, George Peterson, made the decision to adopt their granddaughter in 2015.

She spoked to Bravo’s The Daily Dish in October 2015 about her decision, explaining that both Joshua and his wife were “really struggling” after welcoming their daughter and that she and her husband “elected to help out” and began to help raise Kennady.

“It’s been such a great experience because this is helping them out and hopefully they can get their lives together and be OK,” she added.