Whether it was her marriage and eventual divorce from husband Donn Gunvalson or controversial relationship with Brooks Ayers, Vicki Gunvalson has always been open about her love life on The Real Housewives of Orange County.
But Vicki is planning on taking a different approach with her new boyfriend Steve Chavez Lodge. "We're taking it really slow, and he wants to stay private," she told The Daily Dish. "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 fact, when Vicki and Steve met at a charity event, he didn't even know she was the OG of the RHOC. "When we met, I was like, 'Have you ever watched a reality show?' He's like, 'No, I don't watch reality TV.' And I'm like, 'OK, good.' He's like, 'Why do you ask that?' And I said, 'I might be on a little bit of a show,'" Vicki joked. "He's like, 'Nope, I've never seen [it], I don't know who you are.' And I was like, 'Yes!' So that was really fun for me because most people would know me from TV. I mean, 11 years on, it's really hard to find somebody that doesn't know you, so that's a plus."
It seems like it would be difficult to not hear about a huge controversy like the one surrounding Vicki's ex Brooks and his cancer diagnosis, as seen on last season of RHOC. But Vicki said she told Steve "everything" about Brooks during her appearance on Watch What Happens Live Monday night, although the two have definitely not met (clip above).
However, all of Vicki's RHOC castmates have met Steve, and it sounds like he had an interesting encounter with Tamra Judge. "She asked Steve if he carries a pistol, and he said, 'I don't have one on me now' because he's a retired law enforcement, and he said, 'But I'm entitled to,'" Vicki explained on WWHL. "And she goes, 'Well, let me check.' And she went up and down him and ended up at his crotch and goes, 'I found it!' I'm like, 'Oh my God, I'm moritifed, like he's going to break up with me right now.'"
But Vicki and Steve are still together, and she even told Andy Cohen that her love tank is "getting full." She also said that she's "getting there" when it comes to falling in love with Steve, although she's well aware that they've only been dating for two months. "I'm very cautious. I'm very slow. There's no rush," she told Andy on WWHL (clip below). "But I've been alone and single. I've been dating a lot of men. It's been really, not intimate, but I've been going on dates. I like to be in a monogamous partnership, I do. I don't like this dating world at my age."
One good sign is that Vicki's daughter Briana Culberson is supportive of her relationship with Steve. The three of them even attended Tamra's fitness competition together last month. "She gives me two thumbs up. I'm an Aries, and he's a Leo, and so she did this thing when we were together one night, having wine on the couch. And she goes, 'Let me Gooogle Leo and Aries.' And she comes back and goes, 'Yes, yes, yes! Two thumbs up, Mom!' So she was all in approval," Vicki gushed to The Daily Dish. "She really likes him, and it's really neat to have a family relationship, so I like it."
So does Vicki ever see herself tying the knot again in the future? "I definitely would get married again. I like being married. I like being monogamous," she told The Daily Dish. "You know, I'm 54. If I lived as long as my mother at 83, I could have 29, 30 years with somebody. That's pretty cool, right?"
But Vicki is in no rush to settle down. "So I'm open to it if it's the right guy," she said. "I mean, it definitely has to be the right guy. And my whole family and my cast members and everybody in my life has to approve because I'm not going through what I went through last time. It's horrible."
Watch Vicki deal with the aftermath of her break-up with Brooks during the Season 11 premiere of RHOC, below.
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.