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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Orange County

Briana Culberson Through the Years: From RHOC to Motherhood and Beyond

Vicki Gunvalson's daughter has made a big, important life for herself beyond the RHOC cameras.

By Sophie Vilensky

When Vicki Gunvalson joined The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2006, her daughter Briana Culberson  (née Wolfsmith) was a young woman balancing nursing school and dating while soaking up the California sun. Now all grown up, the 36-year-old mom of four has made an impressive life for herself — and we love to watch her shine.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County on Thursdays at 9/8c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Bravo App.

Scroll to look back at Briana Culberson's life through the years, from college to marriage and babies (and a few moves in between).

Briana Culberson's Time on RHOC

Briana's First Time in NYC

Throughout the RHOC alums' time on the show, fans watched Briana and Vicki deal with typical — and not-so typical — mother/daughter difficulties. Beginning in Season 7, Vicki's then-boyfriend Brooks Ayers drove a wedge between the duo, and the Brooks-Briana feud continued until he exited the picture in August 2015 after four years of dating Vicki. (The split was captured during Season 10 of RHOC.)

Fans also watched Briana deal with health issues, breakups (including with her long-term boyfriend Colby), her husband Ryan Culberson's military deployments, and motherhood.

As the OG Real Housekid, Briana was also kind enough to share some wisdom with her contemporaries about growing up in the spotlight.

"She helped me a lot in the first season of Housewives. She would Facebook me all the time" The Real Housewives of New Jersey alum Chris Manzo shared during a Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen After Show appearance in May 2021. "She used to send me the nicest stuff and talk about what we were doing." "

There's a weird kinship that's kind of like we all know exactly — it's weird to know exactly how to grow up on TV like that," Manzo added. "So it's cool that we all have that with each other, whether we all knew that before this or not."

Briana Culberson's Career

Briana attended Azusa Pacific University and, in due course, received her nursing license. Season 2 of RHOC showed how her mother dealt with having two children off at college (Briana's brother, Michael Wolfsmith, left for school in Season 1). 

After graduation, Briana became an emergency room nurse — surprising some Real Housewives fans who were cared for by her.

"Sometimes it's hard as a nighttime ER nurse for people to come to the ER at 2:30 in the morning and see me as their nurse," Briana shared during the aforementioned May 2021 WWHL After Show. "And some people are a little shocked, and I have to remind them that this is my real job, and that's just something that my family did." 

These days, Briana also shares her health philosophy with the world through her family's popular Instagram account @theculbersons, where she posts whole food-based meals and the occasional family photo.

Briana Culberson's Husband and Family

Briana and Ryan Culberson

Briana married Ryan Culberson in 2011. Much to her mom's chagrin, their Las Vegas wedding ceremony took place in secret.

Following their elopement, Vicki hosted a formal wedding celebration in Santa Barbara for the nurse and marine.

"Briana was glowing and the most beautiful bride I had ever seen. I went 'all out' for her," Vicki wrote in a blog at the time. "There wasn't a dry eye at the reception."

The couple welcomed Troy in September 2012 (whose birth first made Vicki a grandma during Season 8, Episode 1 of RHOC), Owen in July 2014, Hank in November 2020, and then their daughter, Cora Rose in February 2022.

In May 2022, Ryan announced a new addition: puppy Lucy.

“The Okie side of the family has doubled in cuteness overnight!” he captioned a post of their son holding the dog. “Lucy is the first member of our little family farm and she is a Great Pyrenees.”

A few weeks later, puppy Ricky joined the squad.

The Culberson Family moved several times but settled in Oklahoma

Though she's a born California girl, Briana has made homes for herself and her family all across the country. During Season 9 of RHOC, Vicki begrudgingly helped her daughter house hunt when Ryan was stationed in Oklahoma.

While Vicki told her daughter to "run" (and told Ryan he was "taking the family away from family"), Briana was pleased with the Midwest relocation.

“The move to Oklahoma is hard on everyone, but it’s time for me to make my own decisions without having her approval," she shared during Episode 7. "I don’t like California. I don’t want to raise my kids there. ... In Oklahoma I can buy a couple new houses, my mom a new nose and new boobs, and a couple of cars. I’m not going to live with her ever again. Ever. Again.”

After Oklahoma, the Culbersons headed (back) to Orange County and then Illinois, before settling in the Sooner State in early 2023.

Briana Culberson's Lupus Diagnosis and Health Journey

Briana Culberson Discusses Her Lupus Diagnosis

In 2016, Briana shared that she'd been diagnosed with Lupus. During the Season 11 reunion, she opened up about her diagnosis and the surgeries she'd undergone to treat it, including a thyroidectomy in 2011.

Years later, in 2022, she shared that she was feeling good and working with doctors to reduce her lupus medications.

"My thyroid levels have been well controlled with eating healthy and focusing on overall wellness," she shared.

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