Heather Dubrow Speaks out on Ex-Assistant Natalie Puche: "She Is Posting Lies About Me"

Heather Dubrow Speaks out on Ex-Assistant Natalie Puche: "She Is Posting Lies About Me"

The Real Housewives of Orange County alum clarifies why their business relationship ended.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Heather Dubrow Natalie Puche Lies

Heather Dubrow wants to set the record straight on why her longtime assistant, Natalie Puche, no longer works for her.

The Real Housewives of Orange County alum teased on Twitter that she would be discussing the recent news in the latest episode of her podcast Heather Dubrow's World released on November 22. "On tomorrow’s podcast, I address the situation with Natalie (before seeing all of her posts)," she tweeted on November 21. "I’ve been trying to take the high road and end our business relationship amicably. I had hoped to retain our personal relationship but she’s not allowing me to do so."

Heather continued, "Unfortunately, she is posting lies about me. I will have to tell the whole story at some point. For the record: AFTER her maternity leave, I offered her a full time job with full salary and full benefits in a different capacity until she figured out what she wanted to do."

She added in another tweet, "[Natalie] declined. I would never leave her in the lurch. I love her and it’s been very upsetting to see her post in this fashion when I’ve swallowed her disloyalty over the last year and I have said nothing. Trying to figure out how to handle this."

One fan commented on Twitter, "This stuff with @HeatherDubrow and @nataliepuche is breaking my heart," to which Heather replied, "Mine too."

Heather then spent the top of the latest episode of her podcast addressing the "elephant in the room" of the situation with Natalie. She decided to speak out about this after a post Natalie put out announcing the end of her employment with Heather "was really upsetting on many levels."

Heather and Natalie, who the RHOC alum said has "been a part of my family and always very, very important to me," met eight years ago after she applied to be Heather's assistant on Craigslist. "Thus started this incredible relationship that we had together of her being my assistant and friend and confidante and like another daughter to me, really," Heather shared. "We have laughed together and cried together and eaten lots of caviar and drank lots of champagne together over the years." 

Natalie's job changed over time as Heather's media empire expanded to include things like a podcast and a YouTube channel. "She always just was up for any challenge, and I was always very, very appreciative of all of that. And she took on more and more and more," Heather said. "And then about a year ago, she sat me down and said, 'You know what, I just don't want to do the personal [assistant] stuff anymore.' Because that's really how she started out, and she was doing so much, that it made sense to me."

Both Heather and Natalie had been reevaluating their careers over the past year, according to the RHOC alum. "Everyone needs growth and everyone needs to be moving in a good, positive direction, and I know that Natalie has so many amazing ideas and so many amazing things that she wants to do with her life and so do I. And I've talked a lot over the last few months about things that weren't working for me and projects that I had to let go, which was really hard for me," Heather explained. "But I've been doing a really big evaluation. I've turned 50 this year, and I've kind of reevaluated everything I'm doing and the things that I think are working, the things that I'm doing just because I've always done them, and the things that I'd really like to do. And so I feel like we've been a bit in flux this year."

Heather said this transition "has been very hard" for her. "I've had a very emotional, I don't know, four, five, six [months], maybe even the whole year. It's been a bit of a roller coaster. So now here I am, and a lot of really exciting things happening that I'm really excited about, but unfortunately the position that Natalie, the job she was doing before, just doesn't exist because we're not doing those projects anymore."

So Heather said that she offered Natalie, who welcomed her first child, a baby girl, in September, a full-time position with a full salary and benefits. "That way, she doesn't skip a beat, she's got all of her money, she's got her benefits, she's good, and it gives her a cushion to figure out her next step because I know there's lots and lots of projects that she wants to do, and she's ready for that growth, and she's talked about that a lot over the last couple years, like what is her purpose, what is her path," Heather said. "And I know having a child was part of that purpose and that path, and I know that's gonna lead her in a lot of really beautiful directions."

Heather said she never even intended to talk publicly about this because she thought she and Natalie "were gonna be fine."

"The most important thing to me was, number one, to make sure she was OK financially and that, number two, that our relationship stayed intact. And that's why even right now as I'm telling you all this, I'm not going into the nitty-gritty of all things because it's just not important, it's just not relevant," she explained. "I think what's relevant is I love Natalie, I always have, always will, and I told her I will always be here for you if you want advice on something, you want to run something by me and need help with something, I'm happy. I'm gonna be standing on the sidelines cheering you on just like everyone else, and I'm excited for your next chapter and your successes and your future and all of that. I never felt like this was supposed to be like a goodbye."

But when Heather saw Natalie's post on Instagram, she said it seemed "so punitive" to her. "I wanted you all to know this is not how I feel. I love Natalie. I wish her all the best. I want her to be so successful, and I really do hope that even though everything's very raw right now — she's obviously very upset, I'm very upset with how I'm being portrayed," Heather shared. "I mean, come on. You think I would let her go with no money on maternity leave?"

The two had a conversation about money after they agreed that Natalie would no longer be doing the personal assistant tasks. "I go, 'I'll tell you what, we've been together so long, I'm not gonna nickel and dime you. Let's just see how the first quarter goes, and then we can reevaluate. We can sit down, are you working more, are you working less, what is the value of this new position?'" Heather recalled. "And she got pregnant the following month, and we never talked about it again. I intentionally never brought it up again. I just paid her the same for doing half of the job. I have never in my life done anything to hurt someone in a way like that, and I would never do that to Natalie."

Heather said that she hopes that she and Natalie can get their personal relationship back on track in the future. "And at the end of it, I'm just telling you, there may be other things to this that I don't want to talk about, but I'll just tell you that I am choosing to move on with so much love and respect and gratitude for everything that she's added to my life and my family's life," she said. "I truly, truly hope that we will circle back and move forward."

Heather added that she has no hard feelings for how Natalie has reacted in this situation. "I don't blame her. It just is what it is. It just is what it is, but there's just ways of handling things in personal relationships, in business, and even in seasons with friends," she said. "When you have mutual respect and you have love, you get through them. But here's the other thing: Everyone has to be accountable for their sides in what goes on in a business relationship and in a personal relationship. Period."

Heather admitted that this is probably not the last we'll hear of this topic, but she hopes to move in "a positive forward motion."

"Nothing would make me happier, truly," Heather shared. "To think that I would look back at a photo of us a year, five years, 10 years from now as someone that I used to know would really, I mean, hurt my heart."

Natalie first hinted at "the closing of a huge chapter in my life" in a post on Instagram on November 19 that has since been deleted. "Although it’s a tough pill to swallow, I know the best is yet to come!" she wrote.

She later confirmed that she is no longer working for Heather in another post on Instagram on November 20 that has also been deleted.

"This is a tough one.... For those who have followed my journey on the [Heather Dubrow's World] Podcast / Heather’s Assistant for the past 4/8 years  my journey is sadly coming to an end," Natalie wrote. "I’m sorry I won’t be able to say my proper goodbyes (as this was not by choice) but I hope to be able to still connect with you on my journey into motherhood, an unforeseen career adjustment and all of the beautiful, hideous and honest moments in between. I have so much love for you guys and have truly appreciated having you all on this crazy journey of mine! So with that, I won’t say goodbye, just see you soon!"

After Heather confirmed the news that they had parted ways during an interview with Page Six on November 20, Natalie shared a video on her Instagram Story showing her breaking down in tears.

"Sorry this is just really hard. Obviously, I'm not able to talk in detail about why these days have been so difficult but just know I appreciate the beautiful messages, love and support!" she wrote on her Instagram Story after sharing the video. "You made me realize I had a voice this whole time and I never even knew it." 

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