"When you have those two coming at you -- Tamra and Shannon -- I can see why you would lie," Simpson tells TooFab.
Emily Simpson is unapologetically on Team Kelly because she has "no reason" not to be.
During a recent interview with TooFab, the "Real Housewives of Orange County" star opened up about the jarring divide among the cast: The Tres Amigas (Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador and Vicki Gunvalson) vs. Team Kelly (Kelly Dodd, Emily and Gina Kirschenheiter).
She also had some feelings on Braunwyn Windham-Burke, who was brought to tears five episodes into her first season after Tamra whipped out receipts (texts from Emily) and caught her in a lie.
Here's everything Emily had to say about Season 14 and her co-stars:
On The Tres Amigas vs. Team Kelly
The divide among the group started last season, with Vicki accusing Kelly of being a cocaine addict. The accusation sparked a nasty feud that continued into this season, with Vicki, Tamra and Shannon discussing to various extents on camera a rumor they had heard about Kelly allegedly having sex with a "train" of multiple men.
"As you follow the season along, I end up just sticking with Kelly the whole time," Emily told TooFab. "I had no reason to abandon Kelly or to jump on the 'I hate Kelly' train, excuse my pun. Sorry about that!"
"I just make decisions based on what I think is right and based on integrity, because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself," she added. "And I had no reason not to be friends with Kelly, so I stuck by her. And you know, Vicki asked me repeatedly why I drink the Kelly Kool-Aid, which I thought was incredibly rude because I'm not drinking any Kool-Aid, I just don't have a legitimate reason not to be friends with her. So I'm not gonna do that."
On Shannon and Tamra's Shady FaceTime Comments
Last episode, Shannon FaceTimed Tamra to let her know there was a warrant out for Gina'a arrest because she had missed her court appearance following her DUI arrest.
"Why didn't her attorney friend Emily say, 'No, I think you need to be there'?" Shannon said, prompting Tamra to ask, "Why isn't her attorney friend Emily representing her?"
"That was the stupidest conversation I've ever seen," Emily told us. "I mean, does Tamra wanna go to a podiatrist and get her boobs done again?" Tamra's admittedly undergone five breast surgeries.
"I mean, that was the stupidest conversation ever," Simpson continued. "I practice copyright law. I should never represent Gina in a criminal matter, at all. I am her friend and I will support her as a friend, but a copyright attorney should not represent someone in criminal court, ever."
On Her Current Relationship with Tamra and Shannon
Shannon notoriously hates the show's newcomers, but Emily also got under Shannon's skin a few times, so the two weren't necessarily best friends last season. This season doesn't look to be much different.
"I don't think Shannon and I ever have any kind of conflict the rest of this season, but we definitely don't have any bonding either," Emily told us. "I find Shannon to be difficult to get to know because I think in order to get to know someone, it needs to be reciprocated. The other person needs to be engaged and ask questions about me and my life. If she'd ever ask me a question about myself, she'd know I was a copyright attorney and shouldn't be representing someone in criminal cases in the first place."
Regarding her relationship with Tamra, the only Housewife she knew prior to starting the show, Emily said, "I don't have anything against Tamra at all. I mean, she and I are fine throughout the rest of the season. We bond a little bit over health and trying to get back in shape and things like that."
"I just feel that there's such a division in the cast right now that I'm kind of on Team Kelly," Simpson added. "There isn't really much of a crossover between those two groups, which is sad because it would be more fun I think if it was more inclusive."
On 'Sheltered' Braunwyn Joining the Cast
"I like Braunwyn. I don't really have any issues with Braunwyn throughout the season," Emily said. "There's a few times when she and I spend time together and kind of bond. I like her. I think she's a good person. I think she has a good heart."
"But I think that this show's probably gonna end up being more difficult for her than she anticipated because I think she went into it thinking everybody was friends and we all just have a good time and it's a fashion show, but it's a lot more complex than that," she added. "I think that's what's gonna be a struggle for her, but it could be good because I think she's led kind of a sheltered life, and I think this is the first time she has to find a backbone and kind of stand up for herself, so it's probably good for her."
On Emily's Texts Ending Up in Tamra's Hands
Last episode, Tamra pulled Braunwyn aside to let her know she heard that Braunwyn had reached out to Tamra's enemies/former "RHOC" stars, Gretchen Rossi and Lizzie Rovsek. In the moment, Braunwyn said they had reached out to her.
After overhearing the conversation, Shannon filled in Kelly, saying Emily had texts proving Braunwyn was the one who made the first move. "I have screenshots," said Emily, who's good friends with Lizzie. The two conversations then merged into one, big awkward one -- resulting in Tamra saying she doesn't tolerate "f--king liars," and Braunwyn crying.
"First of all, I never gave Tamra those text messages. It wasn't me," Emily told us. "I discussed it with Gina off camera and I showed the text messages to Gina. I never gave them to Tamra. I never gave them to Shannon or brought them up on camera. Gina is the one that gave them to Tamra."
"When I went to L.A. that day, I had no idea that they were gonna confront Braunwyn," Emily maintained. "I didn't know Tamra had seen them, I didn't know she had them, I didn't know she had read them. I knew nothing about it, at all. Zero."
On How She Feels About Gina Now
We asked Emily if she was upset with Gina for showing Tamra Emily's private messages with Lizzie.
"Um, no, because I guess I never told her not to, I just didn't expect it to be that big of a deal," she explained. "The only reason I showed her in the first place is because she was telling me what had happened after I left Tamra's housewarming party, and she was saying Braunwyn told everybody she had lunch with Gretchen, but then they forgave her because she said that Gretchen was the one that reached out to her and Lizzie reached out to her, and then everybody made fun of Gretchen and Lizzie and called them thirsty and all that kind of stuff. And Lizzie and I are super close. She's one of my best friends. So when I heard that, I felt the need to stand up for Lizzie 'cause I was like, 'No, no, no, no, no, that's not what happened. Lemme tell you what happened.'"
"And then it became an issue on screen that I was unaware of," Simpson continued. "And I think everyone led Braunwyn to believe that I was the one that showed Tamra those screenshots, and that was not me. I'll take the fall for stuff I do, but I'm not gonna take the fall for stuff I didn't do."
Before we wrapped the interview, Emily said she had one more thing to add.
"I really wish in that instance that Braunwyn would've just stood up for herself and said, 'Hey, you know what, I'm 40 years old, and I'll have lunch with whoever I want to,'" she told us. "That's what I really thought she should've done in that circumstance. I just felt like she should've just stood up for herself. I don't understand why everyone has to fall into line, and everyone has to dislike the same people that Tamra dislikes. I mean, that's a ridiculous concept. We're not in junior high."
"But I get it, too," she added. "I mean, when you have those two coming at you -- Tamra and Shannon -- I can see why you would lie."
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
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