‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ exclusive: Shannon Beador on new season, how show helped marriage

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There is a new episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” airing on Bravo Monday night, but before we roll around to that, why not get some thoughts from Bravo star Shannon Beador on the show past, present, and future? We had a chance to speak to her Monday morning, and she gave us some interesting insight and perspective on everything from fan reaction to the show, new cast member Kelly Dodd, and also how the show has improved her marriage.

Before we dive in, just a reminder that tonight’s new episode is going to air at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

CarterMatt – First things first, how are things going? I don’t know if you’re through filming just yet, but have you enjoyed the process this time around?

Shannon Beador – The hard part for me is watching it back. It’s kind of fun to film it, but for me it’s hard to watch it back. I’m pretty critical of myself, and then other people are pretty critical of me, too, and the people [who are] attacking me can be kind of aggressive on social media.

As far as this season goes, I thought based on my first two seasons that it would be easy-breezy, and it’s just a surprise around every corner. There’s a lot of things that happen that you wouldn’t expect, they will leave you stunned, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

I’ve been through some of this thanks to being on reality TV myself, and I know the reaction part of it can be tough. Do you have a group of friends around you to try and handle that when some of that negativity comes in?

We actually have a small, very close-knit set of friends. I avoid reading social-media comments a lot, but at the same time you do want to interact with the kind people out there. Sometimes, you just have to create that balance. Also, I think some of the people leaving negative comments have their own issues going on in life. My kids say all the time ‘so-and-so is mean to me,’ and then I say ‘if someone is a bully, that means that they are insecure and not happy in their own lives.’ I have to give myself that advice.

You mention that you went into this season feeling like it would be ‘easy-breezy.’ Was that because you were prepared from a production side of things?

For me, I am no different if the cameras are rolling or not. I don’t know if they’re there. I don’t get stressed about that sort of thing, and I really didn’t from the beginning. It’s interesting.

That is interesting, and this season you have someone in Kelly [Dodd] who is new to the show, and I know [this story] is going to unfold as the season goes on. How much did you know about her going into the season?

Oh, I’d never met her before … She comes in with a bang, I’ll tell you that much, and she keeps banging the whole season!

Given everything that has happened with you and Vicki [Gunvalson], is it challenging to know that you are both a part of this same cast? Eventually, the assumption here would be that you would have to be in the same room on several occasions. Do you look at that as almost every other job where you sometimes have to work with people you don’t get along with?

The bottom line is that I can be in a room with her and I can be cordial with her; it doesn’t mean that I have to be her best friend. I start this season keeping my distance because of the past that we’ve had and the hurt that transpired. I’m just keeping my distance because I think it’s the best thing for me right now.

As the season progresses, you’ll see that I am slowly, very slowly, starting to open up a bit. I stick to my convictions; I feel like I’m good with my gut, and my gut’s pretty on here.

What would you say your arc is about for most of this season? In general terms, what will the show focus on?

As far as my story, if you want to call it that, with my life you’re going to see some changes with my family that are good changes, and I’m excited for people to get a glimpse into that. I think you’re going to see friendships grow even stronger this season, and then grow further apart with others.

I’ve seen you say in other interviews that doing this show has helped your marriage. What are some of the ways that it has done that?

First off, to be given the opportunity to watch certain clips of your life back, you can use that as a learning tool. When I first started the show, I wasn’t happy with my marriage because I wasn’t spending any time with my husband. I wasn’t the nicest gal to be around, and I saw that. We were able to tweak and adjust, and David’s made a lot of realizations about where his priorities need to be, and I have.

Is that something you expected when you first signed up for the show?

Nothing has been expected that has in the past three years. My husband is not the sort of person to cheat, and that happened; oh, and then I’m going to talk about it on a reality show? That’s insanity. Even this season, things happen and you scratch your head and go ‘wow.’ I didn’t expect any of this to happen.

As a travel nerd I always appreciate that there are some exotic locales that the show tends to visit every year. Do you have any place on your wishlist?

Australia! I mean, I’ve been, but I’d love to go to Australia. Maybe next year?

We’ll throw it out into the universe. Is there any specific place you’d want to visit?

I could think there is so many things to see there, from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney, and we film in the wintertime, which is their summer. It’d be perfect.

I do have to say, this season we went to Ireland, and I loved the no-bikini trip, that’s for sure. It was nice to go somewhere where you have to wear a sweater, and not have to lie on the beach the whole time. It was nice.

I’ve just started to see a little bit more of Orange County over the past couple of years, so this is something that interests me and I think it would interest some others visiting here, as well. What’s one great place to visit there that not everyone would think of?

I gotta think about that for a second! … I don’t know if this is something that people know or don’t know about, but I have to tell you: It’s amazing that you can literally be on a boat in under half an hour, that you can get out on the water. They have things called Duffy [boats] and anyone can drive them. You can pull up to restaurants and go bar-hopping and you just pull up to the dock. I just think that’s the coolest thing.

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We want to give a very special thanks to Shannon for talking with us today about her time on the show and the upcoming season. We have always loved the “Real Housewives” franchise in general, but there is something very special about the Orange County cast that has kept us coming back for 11 seasons.

If you want some other news on “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” be sure to head over here to see a video sneak peek for Monday’s episode! Also, sign up over here to get some other TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Bravo.)

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