The Real Housewives of Orange County reunion started off on an emotional note Monday, when Shannon Beador revealed for the first time that her husband David Beador was the one to ask for a divorce after 17 years together.
Beador admits she was surprised by David's request, but acknowledged that her marriage had been troubled for a while and had been chronicled in this season of the Bravo reality show.
“I did have a conversation with him at the beginning of the summer that I just couldn’t keep living this way,” she said. “For months he lived in the separate end of the house. It was like I was living with a stranger.”
That didn't make David's request for a divorce any easier, however.
“I said to David when he told me it was over, ‘What happened? We had a couple of amazing years.’ And he goes, ‘We had a couple good months,’ ” Beador said, crying. “It was just a knife in the heart.”
Beador said while the divorce was "not what [she] wanted," it was ultimately best for daughters Sophie, 15, and 12-year-old twins Stella and Adeline.
“It’s been really, really hard but I’m a mom and I’m a role model for my kids and it got to the point where I wasn’t teaching my daughters positive lessons,” Beador said. “They deserve a happy and joyful home and that’s where we are now. … It is my job now to show the girls — I’m scared, I’m 53 years old, it’s the first time I’ve been out on my own, but I can do it.”
“We’ve agreed for the benefit of our daughters to be amicable,” she said. “It was always a tradition to go to Sunday night dinner so we meet him for dinner on Sunday nights. And we still go to the USC games and take the kids. Which is hard but it’s for the benefit of them.”Beador and David haven't always had an easy time, with David admitting he cheated on her prior to season 10 filming. Since then, the two worked to rebuild their marriage, even renewing their vows, but Beador admitted Monday that she never really got over the affair.
“When you’re happy, I kept trying to convince myself, ‘You’re the happiest you’ve ever been so it’s all okay about the affair,’ ” Beador said. “And [his affair was] not okay.”
After the vow renewal, Beador said David pulled away from her. “It’s just very difficult to go from the highest of the high that you can even imagine,” she said. “Now I know what a good marriage is supposed to be, I know what it’s like when someone looks at you adoring and cares, and then all of a sudden when that’s taken away?”
Beador's candor was met with sympathy from all sides, not only from longtime friend Tamra Judge, but from longtime frenemy Vicki Gunvalson.
“I’m sad about it because I didn’t know and I thought they were doing really good,” Gunvalson told Cohen, turning to speak to Beador. “If I was responsible for any of it, I’d feel awful. If I could take back that day if I was hurting because you weren’t talking to me… I’m so sorry. We’ve been through bumpiness but I want the very best for you.”
Beador accepted the apology, but said that Gunvalson's drama wasn't what ended her marriage. “You are not the person that caused David and I separating,” Beador told her. “There were issues in our marriage from the beginning.”
Gunvalson offered her support nonetheless. “I did not expect this so I’m in shock and I’m sad for you,” she told Beador “But you got a bunch of ladies here and we’re going to be here for you. Living in a terrible marriage and being sad and being scared — that’s not life. You deserve an incredible partner.”
Really being honest with her castmates for the first time about the state of her marriage made things "real," Beador said.
“It’s real now because I said it… I just feel sick to my stomach, ” she said. “The thing that’s going to kill me is the first time [David’s] on a date with another girl and I find out. That’s going to kill me. Because I already know what that feels like when he’s with someone else.”
The second half of the Real Housewives of Orange County reunion airs Monday, Nov. 27, at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.