'RHOC' Star Vicki Gunvalson Demoted to Friend Role, Still 'Proud to be the OG of the OC'

Vicki Gunvalson will not be returning to Real Housewives of Orange County in a full-time capacity for Season 14, but that doesn't make the reality star any less of an "OC OG." Bravo released the cast poster for the upcoming season on Tuesday, and Gunvalson was noticeably absent. The Season 14 trailer, released the same day, depicted the original cast member in a friend capacity.

'RHOC' Star Vicki Gunvalson Is 'Proud to be the OG of the OC' After Demotion to Friend Role
Vicki Gunvalson appears in a promo photo for Season 14 of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," which premieres on Bravo on August 6, 2019. Tommy Garcia/Bravo

Gunvalson confirmed her role had been reduced in an Instagram post, but noted she would still be featured on the show, just in a new way. "For the past 14 years, I've opened up my life, my loves, my ups and downs on The Real Housewives of Orange County and I am proud to be the 'OG of the OC," she wrote.

Gunvalson continued: "I am back again this season right in the middle of the action in a different role. I hope you have as much fun watching the show as I did living it in front of the cameras."

Although the demotion to a friend status means fans won't follow Gunvalson's personal storyline, it appears the 57-year-old business woman will still be at the center of drama with her castmates, particularly Kelly Dodd.

The trailer revealed a heated exchange between the women during the cast retreat in which Dodd screams at Gunvalson: "You're a f**king con-woman crook!"

Viewers will also get to learn more about Gunvalson's engagement to fiancé Steve Lodge, despite her newly limited role.

The Coto Insurance founder has appeared on the show since it debuted in March 2006. She started the reality series alongside former Housewives Jeana Keough, Lauri Peterson, Jo De La Rosa and Kimberly Bryant. Season 14 of the series will feature Dodd, Shannon Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson and newcomer Brauwyn Windham-Burke. Tamra Judge, who joined the cast during season 3, will also remain on the cast.

Gunvalson won't be the first OG or former RHOC cast member whose status has been reduced to a friend role. Her former co-star Peterson similarly left the show after appearing in the first four seasons only to return for a short-lived friend role in Season 8. Lydia McLaughlin, who joined the cast for one season in 2013, also returned as a friend in 2017.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Camille Grammer, an original cast member for the first two seasons of the show, later returned as a friend of the Housewives in Season 8.

Real Housewives of New Jersey's Danielle Staub also returned to the show as a friend for Season 8 after her Season 2 departure, while her former original co-star Dina Manzo exited during Season 2 but returned as a friend for Season 6. Meanwhile, Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel spent three seasons off camera before she returned as a full-time cast member for Season 7.

Real Housewives of Atlanta original star Kim Zolciak took a four-season break before returning as a friend for Season 10. Zolciak's former castmate Sheree Whitfield exited the series after the first four seasons but returned as a friend for Season 8. However, she regained her full-time peach for seasons 9 and 10. Perhaps the most famous departure of the RHOA franchise was NeNe Leakes, who shocked fans when she announced she was leaving after Season 7 in 2015 only to return two years later.

Friends of the Housewives don't get nearly as much camera time as the main cast and are usually only depicted in group scenes or one-offs with featured cast members. They usually don't appear in the cast photo either, nor do they get their own signature taglines in the show's opening credits.

'RHOC' Star Vicki Gunvalson Demoted to Friend Role, Still 'Proud to be the OG of the OC' | Culture
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