Heather Dubrow was ready for a fresh start on The Real Housewives of Orange County, but it didn't take long for things to go "off the rails." Heather and her 17-year-old daughter Max Dubrow opened up about their family's return to RHOC for Season 16 ahead of the Dec. 1 premiere in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, with Heather acknowledging it was "crazy" to be holding an orange again after her exit in 2017.
"Look, if you had asked me two years ago, did I think I would ever go back on the show? It probably would've been a hard no," she shared. "I think my comments at those times were '[I've checked] the box, I've done it. ... Now, I guess 'never say never' was actually the right thing to say."
Reentering the Housewives world alongside former co-star Shannon Beador and newer Bravolebrities Emily Simpson, Gina Kirschenheiter, Dr. Jen Armstrong and Noella Bergener was a breeze, but Heather admits she did have to contend with the tense history she and Beador have. "I think we had the best of intentions coming in," she told PopCulture. However, "truth is stranger than fiction," she continued, which fans will see as the first two episodes "start with quite a bang."
"That's why truth is stranger than fiction and who could have predicted any of this? And so things go off the rails a little bit, unfortunately," Heather shared. "And there's a lot of history to unpack, so you're going to have to stay tuned and see how that all works out."
Max is also stepping more into the spotlight this season as the teen owns her coming out story and journey publishing her new book I'll Give It to You Straightish: What Your Teen Wants You to Know, based on her popular podcast, I'll Give It to You Straightish. Joking she "definitely felt like a junior Housewife" this season, Max told PopCulture it's actually been "a lot easier" filming for RHOC as a teen than as a little girl.
"I get to hear about the drama now, I get to be a part of it," she teased. "It was definitely not what I was expecting going into this season. I just thought I'd be... like I was when I was 7. But it's cool to show my story and show off what I've been able to do the last year – two years – and be more me and show me."
Being so open about coming out as bisexual and her journey as a teenager has been "so amazing" as Max gets feedback from other people her age thanking her for her vulnerability. "Coming out in and of itself, it's very vulnerable and very individual as well as communal, but it's a very individual thing," she explained. "Doing it regardless is hard, and you really have to put yourself out there. So doing it in front of many people is very difficult, but I think it helped me grow as a person for sure and it's made me so much more confident in myself and in who I am and who I want to be."
Heather couldn't be more proud of her daughter as she navigates this next step in her life. "I was never one of those moms that was like, 'This is my best friend. My daughter's going to be my best friend,'" she said. "I never thought of it like that. I always thought, 'I'm your mother and that's a very significant, special relationship,' but I think what we've done really well and it just always comes back to communication. ...We've always been able to talk. We've always respected each other a lot. And even when we've had arguments, we've been able to come back together, talk about it and move forward." The Real Housewives of Orange County returns to Bravo Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 9 p.m. ET. I'll Give It to You Straightish: What Your Teen Wants You to Know is available to purchase now.