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"I was very driven growing up because my dad wasn't around. So I felt a drive to prove that I was better," she shared during a couples' night out (clip above). "My mom and dad got divorced when I was young, when I was 6. And then my dad wasn't really around much. Now, I think he's a really cool guy, which makes me sad because I feel like I missed out on a lot growing up. But that's what drove me. I went to college, I went to law school, I did all these things 'cause I just needed to prove that I was worthy. And that came from feeling abandoned."
Emily went on to say in an interview in the episode that she "was always looking for approval" from her parents growing up, but now as an adult, she's working on finding that approval from within. "For me to be a better mom or to be a better wife, I have to deal with these things in the present now," she said. "And I don't know what that means exactly, but I have to figure that out."
An on-screen update at the end of the RHOC Season 16 finale revealed some news about Emily's relationship with her dad: "Emily has been in touch with her father and may take the kids to visit."
During Part 1 of the RHOC Season 16 reunion, which aired on April 20, Emily shared what her relationship with her father looks like today. "Well, it's not a lot," she said. "It's very minimal."
As Emily started to get emotional, she explained the challenges that remain for her and her dad. "As I get older, and I don't see my dad very much or talk to him very much, but when I do, it almost makes me more sad, because he's a really cool guy. Like, he plays guitar and he has a ponytail," she shared. "And that's almost worse. It's like sometimes I wish he was, like, a jerk 'cause then I could be like, 'Oh, I'm so glad he's not in my life.'"
RHOC reunion host Andy Cohen asked Emily if her father would be open to her getting to know him better. "It's just hard because there wasn't a foundation, you know, as a child," she said. "I didn't see him much."
However, Emily's father has taken an interest in her life, as he follows it being chronicled on RHOC. "I know he watches the show," she said. "So it makes me sad sometimes, 'cause I don't want to hurt anyone, but I also want to be truthful about the way I feel."
Noella Bergener, who has also been open about trying to reconnect with her father prior to his passing during this season of RHOC, said she had encouraged Emily to have her dad be a part of her life before it's too late. "She was my first text message when I found out about my father's passing, and that's because we had a lot of conversations about fathers and wanting to integrate them into our lives for their grandchildren," Noella said. "And I was like, 'Just please learn from my mistake and just reach out if you can.'"
From everything Emily shared about her dad, Andy had an optimistic outlook on the situation. "I know that you're mourning the loss of what you had with him as a child, but maybe you were meant to come together now," he said. "And I think the fact that he watches the show right now is actually really touching to me, because he's actually getting a window into your life that he never would've, and maybe that really says something that he watches the show."
Though Emily said she does want to form a bond with her father, there are still some things holding her back. "I mean, I would love to have more of a relationship with him and get to know him more," she said. "It's hard for me. I think I'm very stubborn, and I'm kind of stuck in a you-weren't-there mode, and it's hard for me to get out of that. I need to get unstuck from that and just make more of an effort myself."
Andy told Emily she may need to work through some of her issues surrounding her past with her dad in order to move forward with him. "I've never really had a conversation about anything real," she shared.
"Maybe it's time," Andy said, to which Emily replied, "Maybe."
The RHOC Season 16 reunion continues with Part 2 on Wednesday, April 27, at 9/8c.
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