The Real Housewives franchise is ever-growing and expanding. Now, a star from the show's Orange County series has come out.
"I like women, I'm gay. You know, I'm a member of the LGBTQIA+ community," Braunwyn Windham-Burke said in a recent interview with GLAAD. "I'm a lesbian and it has taken me 42 years to say that but I am so proud of where I am right now. I'm so happy where I am. To be able to be comfortable in my own skin after so long is just so nice."
Burke is currently married to Sean Burke, with whom she has seven children. The pair, who have been together over 20 years, plan on staying married but do not sleep in the same bed. Windham-Burke has a girlfriend that her husband knows about.
In the interview, the show star references that many may have expected this. In 2019, she and Tamra Judge made out in a much discussed scene at Shannon Storms Beador's birthday party.
"I had a scene with Tamra that everyone kind of talked about," she said. "When we were getting ready for the reunion I was talking to a producer that I trust a lot, his name was James, and he said, 'How do you feel about this? Was it a drunken mistake or is this a part of who you are?' And I said, 'This is who I am.' And he said own it, own that.
"So when I went to the reunion last year, I started babystepping into 'This is who I am, I like women,'" she continued. "Kinda testing the waters with my friends, my cast, and my family. And it was actually really well received."
Windham-Burke also points to her process of getting sober as something that contributed to her newfound sense of self. But after the internal work was done and she had spoken to her family, she said she wanted to be able to go out in public with women she is seeing.
The reality star also explained that while she always knew she was attracted to women, there was a disconnect between how she viewed herself and how she saw lesbians portrayed.
"I grew up at a time, you know, where my idea of being a lesbian was you had short hair, you wore flannel -- you know there was a very masculine stereotype," she explained. "So when I was younger, I never really thought that I could be that."
This marks the first time that a housewife has come out as a lesbian, though there have been members of the LGBTQ+ community featured on the show often -- notably Cynthia Bailey from Real Housewives of Atlanta, came out as sexually fluid on the show.
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