The Real Housewives of Orange County's Emily Simpson has confirmed for the first time that earlier this year, she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Emily and her family's experience with COVID-19 will be featured on the December 16 episode of RHOC.
Emily was diagnosed in July, and she explained in an exclusive phone interview with The Daily Dish this week how she was able to keep her experience with the coronavirus pandemic under wraps for so long. "Because I am the master of confidentiality. I think it comes with territory of being an attorney. I know how to keep things to myself," she said.
Emily was not the only person who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in her family; her husband, Shane Simpson, and their kids also were diagnosed with it.
"I know that there'll probably be a lot of people that are very interested into a bird's-eye view into someone who their entire family had COVID and how we dealt with it and how difficult it was," she said. Emily added that she is aware that some people might feel fatigue when it comes to hearing about COVID-19 and how "sterile" it is to hear about it now due to the amount of stats people are dealing with on a daily basis.
But, she added that "this is actually real life playing out with our family [when it airs] and how we dealt with it and how severe it was for Shane that I actually thought he wasn't going to live, and he thought so, too. It's kind of traumatic for me because it was really difficult. It's the hardest thing I've ever gone through."
Emily was quick to note that she and her family got COVID-19 even in the wake of taking all the right precautions beforehand. "I just want to say, I do not know how I was exposed, but I do want to make it clear that I followed guidelines," she said, noting that she wore a mask when she was out as required. "I guess it comes down to, even if you follow all the rules and do everything correctly, you can still get it."
As for her family, Emily said that her kids didn't experience symptoms. She experienced symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and body aches, but no high fevers or respiratory issues. Shane, however, eventually had to be hospitalized and spent eight days in the hospital as his condition worsened. He had symptoms including vomiting blood, high fevers, and difficulty breathing.
"I dropped him off [at the ER], and I didn't know what to do. I sat in the parking lot in my car for hours. It was such a weird time," Emily said of the day she took him to the hospital. She said at one point he told her while he was at the hospital that he was put on breathing tubes. Both she and Shane were unsure if he would recover and were preparing themselves for all scenarios.
During Shane's stay in the hospital, communication wasn't great and there would be periods Emily didn't hear from him. But Emily kept the mood up at home and tried to "stay positive" for their kids even if she didn't know what was going to happen. "It was a complete nightmare," she added.
At that time, Emily was trying to find the balance between being a busy mom and trying to recover from coronavirus herself, while also dealing with Shane's illness and stay in the hospital. Shane, she said, was extremely nervous about his family and focused on staying in touch as best he could about their wellbeing while he was dealing with COVID-19.
"I feel like there was a couple times I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown," Emily explained of trying to do it all. "It was more than one person could handle. I remember calling Gina [Kirschenheiter] a couple times bawling."
Emily said that Shannon Storms Beador, who also previously confirmed she had COVID-19, supported her as well while she was dealing with her family’s coronavirus situation. Emily added, "The only thing I can say is when they talk about 'mom strength,' as a mom, you do it."
While that time was incredibly difficult for Emily and Shane, they came out of the situation in a good place because of it. "We get along so well. We really appreciate each other. I think that's the thing I learned with that [is that] life is so short. You never know [and] something can happen at any moment and take someone away. And, so, instead of wasting energy fighting about stupid stuff or being mad at each other, we really and completely refocused and we're really appreciative of each other — and it's a great space to be in," said.
Want more RHOC? New episodes air every Wednesday at 9/8c or catch up on this season through the Bravo app.
The Daily Dish is your source for all things Bravo, from behind-the-scenes scoop to breaking news, exclusive interviews, photos, original videos, and, oh, so much more. Subscribe to The Daily Dish podcast, join our Facebook group, and follow us on Instagram for the latest news hot off the presses. Sign up to become a Bravo Insider and be the first to get exclusive extras.