"Real Housewives" creator Andy Cohen once called Tamra Judge, who starred on "The Real Housewives of Orange County, the “perfect housewife.”
From her first season on, viewers watched Judge navigate her family dynamics, ups and downs in her romantic life and pursuits to build a life of significance all in front of the camera.
Now, Judge is back, making an overdue return in “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club," which premieres on Peacock on June 23.
Judge stars alongside her close friend, “OG of the OC” Vicki Gunvalson; Dorinda Medley and Jill Zarin of “RHONY;” Phaedra Parks and Eva Marcille of “RHOA” and Brandi Glanville and Taylor Armstrong of “RHOBH.”
The cast, which Cohen called his “twisted fantasy", all converged for a week at Medley’s iconic Bluestone Manor last fall, setting the stage for a drama-filled series for viewers to take in.
TODAY chatted with Judge to hear all about "RHUGT 2," her take on "RHOC" and drama with former cast mates Shannon Storms Beador and Heather Dubrow.
Judge makes a return to a 'pressure cooker' on 'RHUGT 2'
Even though she considers herself a “pro” when it comes to reality television, Judge was “very nervous” when preparing for "RHUGT 2," as it had been a year and a half since she was last on TV.
“You’ll see in the first couple episodes, I’m not as outgoing as I normally am. I think not knowing your cast is difficult. With housewives, we had the core for a long time, we had history, we knew a lot about each other.” Judge explained.
It didn’t take a while for the drama to brew in the Berkshires. “I felt like we were in a pressure cooker, and in this house, and it explodes often," she said.
Judge was most nervous about interacting with Glanville, as she noted their 2019 Twitter fight, in which Glanville called her "toxic" (among other things), was unresolved.
“The last time I had talked to Brandi, it was a Twitter war, and I tried to DM her. And then she went on her podcast and made fun of me. And I’m like, ‘Oh, gosh, this is not going well,’” Judge said.
Once they both arrived at Bluestone Manor, Judge says that Glanville was different than she expected her to be. “She was very nice and sweet. We would make eye contact and smile at each other, and I’m like, okay, this is going well," she said.
"She’s a little bit unfiltered. When you add alcohol, instantly that causes problems."
Tamra Judge on Brandi Glanville
The positive sentiment didn’t continue for too long. Judge said that she had the most conflict with Glanville “at the very beginning,” but though her opinion continued to change.
“I was expecting this spitfire mean girl that was just going to call me out on everything I did. She did for the first couple episodes. I feel like she does have a really good heart, and I feel like she’s a nice girl. But like me, she’s a little bit unfiltered. When you add alcohol, instantly, that causes problems,” Judge said.
Judge gives her take on the Dorinda v. Vicki drama
Judge has found herself smack dab in the middle of drama ahead of the premiere between Gunvalson and Medley.
Judge said she predicted they wouldn't get along. “They’re both two very strong personalities. I knew they wouldn’t mesh. I knew there was going to be issues from day one," she said.
Drama boiled over as press began for 'RHUGT 2,' as Gunvalson said on a Bravo Instagram Live that she would be “miserable” living in Bluestone Manor full-time due to it being "old" and in a rural area.
Medley responded, calling out Gunvalson in an Instagram post and saying on her podcast that Gunvalson has no “taste." She said, "You have to have a taste level to understand a home like Bluestone Manor.
Gunvalson responded in an Instagram comment, saying that Medley is “the nasty one” and reiterating that the experience was “miserable” at Bluestone Manor.
On June 14, Judge said on Jeff Lewis Live the beef may have been “squashed.” But she clarified to TODAY that it has “not been squashed,” adding that she is nervous for the upcoming premiere party in New York City.
Judge said, “I’m just like, oh, Vicki, really, like you could squash it now, because you’re gonna see her next week. (But) no, there’s no squashing it.”
While there’s a group text between all of the ladies, Judge said there’s no communication between Medley and Gunvalson.
Judge 'misses' Shannon Storms Beador … and is in the initial stages of making up with her
Judge has remained connected to the show via her podcast, Two T’s in a Pod. She and former RHOBH wife Teddi Mellencamp recap housewives shows and interview housewives every week.
Since leaving RHOC, Judge has fallen out with former co-star and close friend Shannon Storms Beador. But if she could take any other OC wife to "RHUGT 2," she would take Storms Beador, as “they have some unfinished business to take care of.”
On Two T’s in a Pod, Mellencamp and Judge hinted there’s been some movement towards resolution between Judge and Storms Beador.
"We had a mutual friend that sent a message to me from Shannon, who said she was happy about my comments about her at the (RHOC season 16 reunion). I do miss her. There’s been a lot of words said between us in the process. Maybe someday we can sit down and talk about it," Judge said.
“We were friends for a long time. I was just very hurt by what went down, and I’m sure she has her point of view.” Judge continued.
Judge clarifies her take on the Heather Dubrow situation
Another wife Judge had a recent conflict with? Heather Dubrow, who returned to "RHOC" last season.
During a June appearance on Jeff Lewis' radio show, Cohen seemed to say Judge wouldn't return to the franchise. Andy said, "Tamra's doing a whole podcast about the behind-the-scenes of the 'Housewives.' How do you go on a 'Housewives' show when you're doing a behind-the-scenes about 'Housewives'?"
This comment upset Judge, as she told Lewis that Dubrow said similar things about Judge on her podcast, “Heather Dubrow’s World,” and suggested that Dubrow may have been feeding Cohen information about Judge’s podcast in an effort to block Judge from returning to "RHOC."
Judge called the situation “heartbreaking” and “confusing,” and said it hurt her when Dubrow suggested that former wife Alexis Bellino rejoin the show and not her, as she felt she “always rallied for Heather to come back.”
Judge told TODAY, “I stand by what I said on Jeff’s show. I’m very confused about her podcast that said I have no life, that all I do is sit around and watch 'Housewives' shows."
"I have a gym, I have Vena CBD, I have my podcast, I have a lot of things going on in my life. It was just very rude. [She said] there was no place for me to come back on the show because now I’m a blogger, which I’m not a blogger. I’m a podcaster. So I’m very confused," she said.
Since Dubrow left the show in 2016, Judge said she's seen her “maybe three times.” After the comments on the podcast, Judge texted Dubrow and they had a conversation, but didn't resolve why Dubrow made those comments.
Viewers were confused after Judge tweeted photos on June 15 of her wedding anniversary and credited Dubrow for them — a day after Judge’s comments on Jeff Lewis Live.
“She did send me a text on my anniversary because she was in my wedding. She sent me pictures. I thanked her, and yeah, that was kind of it," Judge said.
As for whether she would return to "RHOC?" Judge has already thought of her dream cast — the same as Season 11.
“If I I had me, Vicki (Gunvalson), Heather (Dubrow), Shannon (Storms Beador), Kelly (Dodd), Meghan (King). If we had that season 11 cast, it would be amazing. It would be a lot of fun," she said.
Judge answers rapid-fire questions about 'RHUGT 2,' teasing what’s to come
Here's what to look out for on "RHUGT 2," according to Judge.
- The cast member most likely to cause the most drama: Glanville
- The cast member most likely to make the group laugh: Parks
- The cast member most likely to tout their own brand: Zarin
- The cast member who gives the best fashion during the week: Parks. “The girls dress nice but Phaedra had a lot of interesting outfits ... she’s so beautiful, so fun,” Judge said.
- The cast member who spills the most tea: Judge said, “I drop a bomb.”
- The cast member who’s the best team player: Medley. “It’s the OGs, the girls have been around a while, they know how to keep it together,” Judge said.
- On what viewers should expect: “You’re gonna have so many different emotions watching it. There’s definitely personal stories, sad stories. We have three widows on the cast. We have a lot of drama. We have fights with girls that we don’t even know that we just met. You’re just gonna be blown away, completely blown away.”