It's crazy how tragedy can fix a situation.
Following Tamra Judge's departure from The Real Housewives of Orange County, she told Andy Cohen she was glad she wouldn't be returning to the show because she was dealing with something very serious in her life and now we know what that is. According to PEOPLE, her ex-husband Simon Barney has been diagnosed with stage three throat cancer.
Although most Bravo fans don't particularly care for Tamra's ex-husband, nobody deserves cancer and this article definitely made me see him in an entirely different light. Speaking with PEOPLE Magazine, both Tamra and Simon spoke about the diagnosis and revealed how it finally brought their fractured family back together.
Since their divorce in 2011, their family of five has been ripped apart, with their oldest daughter Sidney Barney not speaking to Tamra, and their son Spencer Barney not speaking to Simon. But the silver lining of this diagnosis is that everybody is now communicating again, as Simon says it's a "new beginning" for them.
I'm sure Tamra being away from reality cameras has also helped the situation. In even more shocking news, Tamra's son from her first marriage, Ryan Vieth, has also made amends with his former stepfather.
Simon told Tamra the news of his cancer diagnosis back in November after the two met up at a local Starbucks. Simon wanted his ex-wife to know what was going on because their children would see him getting treatment for the disease. Tamra shared her reaction to Simon's news and how it helped their relationship saying:
“Honestly, I’ve never seen him like that. He told me the news and we both literally started crying. I just couldn’t believe it. My first thought was, ‘I don’t want to take my kids to their dad’s funeral,’ and immediately, any ill feelings between the two of us just vanished. Our conversations now are so different than they were before. Before there was always such hate behind them. Not that we would always say nasty things towards one another, but we both came from a place of hate. And now we’re coming from a place of concern. It just put everything in perspective and helped us remember all that other shit means nothing.”
Simon elaborated on their relationship taking a full 180 and shared how they are now co-parenting like they never have before:
“We’re just talking more, especially with our youngest one, to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to how to take her through this situation. I’ll say, ‘What do you think of this? I tell her this,’ and Tamra will go, ‘Yeah, that’s a great idea, I’ll tell her that too.’ We never would have done that three, four years ago."
The former couple agreed to put their three children into therapy to help them emotionally deal with this shocking situation and each child has taken it in different ways. Sophia, the youngest, has been supportive but doesn't want to talk about it or see her dad sick. Sidney, the oldest, has been checking in on her dad heaps and even wanted to drop out of college to be there for her him, which Simon didn't allow.
Spencer, the middle child, who didn't speak to his dad for several years, took the longest to reach out to his him after he heard the news because he was very clinical about the situation and wanted to know all the specifics about Simon's condition beforehand. However, Simon spoke about his son reaching out to him, telling the outlet:
“He finally reached out to me the other day and just said, ‘Sorry, Dad. I just had to get a hold of it.' It’s good because, I haven’t really talked to him in a while. But we’re getting there now.”
In a strange turn of events, Tamra has also become close with Simon's fiance of nine years, Catushia, during this entire ordeal and has been checking in on her almost every single day. Simon spoke about his ex-wife and his current girlfriend's relationship saying:
“They text each other almost every day, which at first I was very uneasy. Like, ‘Okay, what are they saying? Is she telling her to get rid of me?’ But they’re really both just taking care of me. It’s funny, because now Tamra’s concerned about Catushia, making sure she’s getting enough sleep, that she’s not too stressed out. Catushia has been such a great support to me throughout all of this. And the other day, Tamra brought me soup from a restaurant to see if I could eat — because it’s very hard to find anything to eat — and she had soup for Catushia too.”
Tamra getting along with Simon and his girlfriend has apparently had such a "powerful effect" on their entire family dynamic as everyone is finally getting along, the way Simon claims he's wanted for years.
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Being diagnosed with cancer causes you to do massive self-reflection on your life, and in this case made Simon enjoy his family and the simple things in life, in ways he never has before. Tamra's ex-husband explained:
“Things always happen for a reason, so when I was diagnosed, the first thing I asked myself was, ‘Why is this happening? What is it you’re doing wrong.' And I took a good look at myself and my life and I realized, I was working 12-hour days, stressing about everybody, and never really doing stuff for me. So now, I’m focusing on the things that bring me joy, like my family. People don’t usually change the way they are, but when you experience an emotional jolt like cancer, you make the shift pretty quick."
Everyone has their own opinions on Tamra and Simon, but I am sending these two nothing but love for the journey they have ahead of them. Any cancer, but especially throat cancer, is such a horrible disease and although the circumstances aren't great, at least this tragedy could help bring their family back together for the first time in years.
Thoughts? Sound off in the comments!