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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Orange County

Vicki Gunvalson's Relationships: Donn Gunvalson, Brooks Ayers, Steve Lodge, & More

It seems like the RHOC mom's "love tank" is being filled by her new boyfriend, Michael Smith. 

By Talia Ergas

Vicki Gunvalson loves love. Although The Real Housewives of Orange County mom has endured multiple heartbreaks on and off screen, she has remained dedicated to finding the perfect guy to fill her "love tank."

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo Thursday, July 11 at 9/8c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Bravo App.

Prior to joining RHOC, Vicki was married to Michael J. Wolfsmith. She was married to her second husband, Donn Gunvalson, when the show began, though the pair later divorced. Vicki then dated Brooks Ayers, though the pair separated after a scandal. After splitting from Brooks, Vicki dated and was later engaged to Steve Chavez Lodge, before their engagement was called off. Today, Vicki is reportedly happy in love again with her new boyfriend, Michael Smith. 

Here's what to know about Vicki's relationship history.

Michael J. Wolfsmith

Vicki was married to her first husband, Michael J. Wolfsmith, from 1982 to 1991, People reported. The pair share daughter Briana Culberson and son Michael Wolfsmith.

Although she was already re-married to Donn Gunvalson when she joined the RHOC cast, Wolfsmith appeared during their daughter's Season 1, Episode 1 graduation party.

“I met Vicki working at a grocery store,” Michael explained in the episode. “I was a bagger and she was a cashier… She loved beautiful things and used to fill the house up with them. I couldn’t understand how we afforded some of it.”

“I married very young. I was 21 years old. I was a young mom by the time I was almost 24,” Vicki said in the episode. “[Michael and I] were very much of a mismatch. I wanted the finer things in life… He was a ball and chain on me, and once I got free I was buh-bye.”

She added: “I don’t regret it; I wouldn’t do anything differently. But I want more for Briana.”

Donn Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson and Donn Gunvalson on The Real Housewives of Orange County

When Vicki joined RHOC for Season 1, she was married to Donn, whom she'd wed in 1994.

“She's a very I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, you know, get-out-of-my-way kind of gal.” Donn said of Vicki in the Season 1 premiere. In the early seasons of RHOC, fans saw the couple’s personality differences play out on camera, which lead to tension in their marriage. A recurring theme was how Donn was unable to fill up Vicki’s “love tank.”

Although the pair renewed their vows in front of the cameras in 2009, Vicki filed for divorce in 2010 following 16 years of marriage. Their divorce was finalized in 2014.

“Donn has been an important part of my life and he will continue to be. Anyone who has gone through a divorce understands that this is a personal matter and a difficult time in our lives,” Vicki told People in 2010. “It’s amicable and we are not at odds with one another. It’s just time.”

Since then, Vicki has said she regrets divorcing her second husband.

"I think Donn was an amazing man, so I'm not going to say he wasn't good for me. I think that if I had to do it all over again, I would not have divorced Donn," Vicki shared during a special Watch What Happens Live One-on-One with Andy Cohen in 2015. "We both went sideways for multiple reasons, but hindsight, if we could do things differently, he was a great man, great husband."

Brooks Ayers

Vicki Gunvalson and Brooks Ayers pose for a photo together

Vicki dated Brooks Ayers on and off between 2012 and 2015, and the couple had a controversial relationship from the start. Vicki’s friends and family accused Brooks of courting her for fame and money. Two of Brooks’ strongest critics were Briana —who refused to let Brooks visit Vicki’s home while Briana was living there — and Vicki’s best friend, Tamra Judge — who got in a huge, now-infamous fight with Vicki over Brooks at a party hosted by Heather Dubrow.

But the biggest scandal surrounding Brooks and Vicki’s relationship happened when Brooks claimed he had been diagnosed with and was being treated for cancer. Though Vicki was dedicated to supporting Brooks, her cast mate Meghan King — and many others — questioned the validity of Brooks’ illness.

Vicki and Brooks split in August 2015. She said at the Season 10 reunion, which aired that autumn, that she believed she'd been duped by Brooks about his diagnosis.

In November 2015, Brooks admitted to fabricating documents about his cancer treatment, but denied fabricating his battle with cancer.

In 2019, she filed a lawsuit against her ex, accusing him of breach of written agreement, breach of verbal agreement, fraud, misrepresentation, and other claims related to money he had allegedly not paid her back.

Steve Chavez Lodge

Dish Vicki Steve

Vicki and Steve Chavez Lodge began dating in spring 2016 after meeting at a Boys & Girls Club charity event in Anaheim three years prior. "We're taking it really slow, and he wants to stay private," Vicki told The Daily Dish early on in their relationship. "He does not want to film. He does not want to be part of it. He respects my career, respects my viewers, respects what I do, but he doesn't want to be part of it. So that's really nice for me is that he just wants to stay private." 

In April 2019, the pair announced their engagement, and they feted the news with an engagement party which was seen on the show. (Vicki later revealed that she bought her own engagement ring, explaining: “The ring that he could afford was not what I wanted, so I’m good with buying my own ring.”)

However, Vicki never made it down the aisle. She and Steve broke up in September 2021 after five years together.

The split happened days before Vicki was scheduled to film Peacock’s The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Ex-Wives Club, and she opened up about the situation for the cameras.

“He broke up with me,” she said in RHUGT premiere. “My heart is broken, and I don’t know what happened.”

Steve later announced that he'd gotten engaged to another woman on Dec. 20, 2021. After news broke that Steve and his new fiancée were married in April 2022 — just seven months after their break-up — Vicki tweeted: "I'm just so thrilled and RELIEVED it wasn't me at the altar with him."

In July 2022, she told Andy Cohen on WWHL that Steve had moved in with his "person" immediately after he broke off their engagement.

Michael Smith

Daily Dish Rhoc Vicki Gunvalson Anniversary

In June 2022, Vicki took to Instagram to introduce her new boyfriend, Michael Smith, to her followers. “My heart is happy,” she wrote alongside the post. “So great introducing Michael to my amazing family. Lots of laughs and tons of fun.” She added the hashtags “midwestern,” ”family,” and “love.”

The following year, Vicki revealed that she and her new love, who was living in Texas, had taken a big step in their relationship. In June 2023, Vicki told Page Six that Michael had relocated to southern California, though not into her house.

“We will eventually [live together] if we keep this going,” she told the publication, noting that the couple is “taking it slow.”

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