Before Noella Bergener was cast on Real Housewives of Orange County she was best friends with former cast member Braunwyn Windham-Burke. They used to constantly post photos of themselves having fun by themselves and with their families. Now, they aren’t even speaking. What happened between them?
Before being cast full-time for RHOC, Noella appeared as Braunwyn’s friend on Season 15. Ahead of the episode, which aired in January 2021, Braunwyn hyped up Noella by calling her her “soul mate” and “best friend.”
“Soul mates come in various ways, but when you meet one that’s your best friend, hold on tight,” Braunwyn wrote at the time. “Thank you for being you, for supporting, uplifting and being there! Can’t wait for you to meet her tonight!”
By August 2021, they were no longer friends. At that time, Noella was filming for RHOC and Braunwyn had been fired.
The details of their falling out will be discussed on the show, according to Noella, but she wrote in an Instagram comment that the heart of the problem was trust. She also referred to the split as a “bad breakup.”
“It was a great friendship till it wasn’t,” Noella said. “I’ve wanted to call her so many times since our bad breakup but without trust you have nothing. Wishing you and yours well.” She also affirmed that the breakdown of their friendship had something to do with the “opportunities” one of them had that the other didn’t, implying that it had something to do with the cast shake-up on RHOC. Still, she stressed that “trust” was the biggest factor.
Fellow RHOC castmember Gina Kirschenheiter told Page Six that the friendship breakup was was about the cast shakeup. “As soon as Braunwyn found out that she was no longer a part of this [show] and Noella was, Braunwyn just threw her out,” Gina said. She also told the publication that she thinks Braunwyn “sucks” for behaving this way.
After Braunwyn got sober last year she also came out as a lesbian and revealed that she had never been attracted to her husband Sean Burke despite having seven children with him. Braunwyn has been dating a number of women this year including fitness instructor Fernanda Rocha (who appeared in Season 6 of RHOC,) colorist Jamie Parton (who she met through RHOD’s D’Andra Simmons, and, more recently, model Victoria Brito.
Braunwyn spent Christmas with Sean and their kids and wrote a lengthy post on Instagram about why they aren’t getting divorced and are instead forging ahead with their modern family.
Noella has since split from her husband James Bergenerer after he suddenly left her and their son soon after filming started. The divorce came after Noella learned that James owed almost $6 million in taxes. According to Noella, James did not give her an explanation or work to move forward with the divorce for five months. Yesterday, though, Noella posted new updates about the divorce on Instagram.