“The Real Housewives of Orange County” has started rolling out casting decisions for its planned 18th season, with the news that “Friend of” Taylor Armstrong will not be returning. Cast member Emily Simpson stopped by the DIRECTV Celebrates Christmas with Kathy event, hosted by Kathy Hilton, on November 28, and shared her thoughts on the season 17 cast’s futures in an interview with ExtraTV.
“Let me tell you a secret, Bravo does not reach out to me [for my thoughts on casting],” Simpson shared, though she went on to say she felt Tamra Judge, Heather Dubrow, Gina Kirschenheiter, and herself were the four “shoo-ins” to be asked back to the show. That leaves Simpson less certain of longtime cast member Shannon Beador and newcomer Jennifer Pedranti’s fates.
“Shannon, I’m just on the fence about because I don’t know what they want to do with that situation,” Simpson said, referencing Beador’s September 2023 DUI hit-and-run case. Beador’s case resulted in a sentence of three years probation and 40 hours of community service after Beador pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI charges, according to CBS News.
Would Emily Simpson Ever Appear as a ‘Friend of’?
ExtraTV host and former “Beverly Hills” Housewife Teddi Mellencamp asked Simpson if she thought Beador would return if asked to be a “Friend of”, the title given to support cast members on the Housewives.
“I don’t know, see I would never take a Friend role,” Simpson said. “Because I’m just not that person. So I just would not do that. I don’t know about Shannon. I feel like she would lose her mind if they gave her a Friend role. Like she would detonate.”
Mellencamp also asked if Simpson referred any of her own friends to join the series, to which Simpson responded, “No, I’m out of friends, they’ve been asking me for years. I’ve referred a couple friends, and now I’m out of friends.”
Simpson and her on-screen friend Kirschenheiter both joined RHOC in season 13, so filming on season 18 would mark both ladies’ sixth season as a full-time cast member on the franchise. This makes them two of the longest-running stars on RHOC, and across most other Housewives franchises as well. The pair have brought in their fair share of criticism over the years from Bravo fans and reacted to claims that they were boring at BravoCon 2023.
“You spend enough time as an underdog, you learn how to become a top cat,” Kirschenheiter said, later adding, “We clearly have earned our spots. The thing is, we [are relatable to] real people. We [resonate] with real moms, and I’m not gonna apologize because I know that real moms and real people really like us.”
Emily Simpson Addresses Rumors That Alexis Bellino May Return to RHOC
Also at Hilton’s Christmas party, Page Six asked Simpson her thoughts about the idea of Alexis Bellino returning to the RHOC cast for season 18. “I’m sorry, but bring Alexis back and let Shannon spiral out of control,” Simpson said, adding, “Alexis and I have been friends for years. I love Alexis. I think it would be great.”
Bellino’s return to RHOC has been speculated more in the past few weeks, as the former RHOC star has been spotted out with Beador’s ex John Janssen, although Judge shared texts from Bellino confirming the two aren’t dating. Bellino reacted to the rumors of her RHOC return at Hilton’s Christmas party, saying “I would say, ‘Never say never,'” though no official announcement has been made about her returning.
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