The cast of the Real Housewives of Orange County’s vacation in Ireland quickly turned south when Kelly Dodd brought up Tamra Judge’s estranged daughter Sidney Barney after a pub crawl. This led to Tamra having a panic attack and crying in Shannon Beador’s arms. This was far different from the moment Tamra told Kelly about her pain at Meghan Edmonds’ house.
“It’s hard for me to talk about. It breaks my heart,” Tamra told the Daily Dish this summer. “It was something I really wanted to keep off the show, and it’s so big in my life that it’s just too hard. And I feel like at this point if I can help others go through it, because divorce and when kids separate and pick sides, it’s not uncommon. But people don’t want to talk about it because they feel like, oh they’re a failure. Well, Spencer lives with me full-time, Sidney lives with her dad full-time, and it’s actually a heartbreaking situation because he doesn’t talk to his father, and Sidney doesn’t talk to me. And the only time they see each other is when they pass each other in the hallways at school. It’s not the way I want it, you know? I beg and ask that we can fix it, but it’s got to be from both sides.”
Tamra first opened up about what had been going on in her family during last season’s reunion. She revealed that she hadn’t seen her eldest daughter Sidney after she decided to live with her father, Tamra’s ex-husband Simon Barney, full-time, even though the two have joint custody of their three children: Spencer, Sidney, and Sophia. She then explained that Spencer wouldn’t speak to his dad and chose to solely live with Tamra.
Although it was hard for Tamra to talk about her family issues, she explained it had an impact on her relationship with Sidney. “After I opened up about it on the reunion, all hell broke loose, and it was kind of a breakthrough in the sense that we were communicating,” she said. “It wasn’t necessarily the best communication, but we were communicating.
Sadly, the communication didn’t last. “And then it kind of just goes back into I don’t hear from her,” she said. “But I text her once a week, tell her I love her, I tell her the door’s always open for her, and let’s just try to get this family back together.”
Tamra shared that she has received support from strangers from sharing her story on the show. “Oddly enough after all this, I talked about my situation with the divorce and my children and all this, I had [an] overwhelming amount of people sending me emails from children that have gone through it, which were the most interesting emails,” she said. “And their advice to me is, ‘Don’t give up. Just keep texting her. My mom or my dad stopped communicating with me because I wouldn’t communicate with them, but you know what, every time I got a message from them, it made me feel good. So even though you don’t think [Sidney] wants to hear from you, keep texting her, call her, do everything you can. Let her know that the door’s always open.’ So that’s what I keep telling people.”
Judge also spoke about the misconception that she lost custody of her daughter, when that is not the truth. She and simon have joint-custody of their three children. “Sidney chose to go live with her dad, and there was nothing I could do about that. At 16 in the court’s eyes, even at 14, they can choose whatever they want. Spencer chose to live with me,” Tamra explained. “So I don’t think it’s right. I think you’re not an adult until you’re 18, so you shouldn’t have a choice. Unless you’re being abused, hurt in some way, you should not have a choice. You need both parents in your life.”
But she is optimistic her family will be reunited one day. “I am very hopeful that my situation with Sidney and Spencer will be fixed. I want Spencer to have a relationship with his father. I don’t think it’s good for kids not to. But I can’t. I’ve tried to force him, I’ve tried to make him, he doesn’t want to,” she said. “So it’s been very, very difficult. And I pray every single night. Just God, please, just watch over this family. Help them, get us all back together. I think that it’s gonna happen. I think that everything happens for a reason. Everything does. So if it’s a learning lesson on my side or on his side or the kids’ side, everybody’s gonna come out [a] better person.”
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