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A Very Dark Place

Tamra opens up about her troubles with Simon.

By Tamra Judge

First off I want to say that the Texas trip looked like a blast. I'm a jeans and T-shirt type of girl with five pairs of cowboy boots that I never get to wear. I personally would rather be at a BBQ restaurant than at any fancy restaurant or hotel. The food looked so yummy and that cobbler...OMG! I felt bad for Alexis when she talked about her eating disorder, because now I can really see signs of it in her personality. Alexis was my daughter Sidney's age when her parents divorced, and I kept thinking about Sidney and wondering how she is internally processing everything. We had the kids in therapy for a while, but Alexis' comment made think it was time to go back and see how they are doing a year later. I talk with them once a week about how they are feeling and what they thinking. But sometimes a therapist can get them to say so much more. I make a lot of smart a-- comments in my interviews, and I think the comment about Alexis being anorexic was in bad taste, especially now that I know what she has gone through.

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I would not feel right not saying something about Alexis' comments on gay marriage, so here I go. Considering a huge number of our very loyal fans and followers come from the gay community, I am shocked to hear her comments and opinions about gay marriage and same-sex partnerships. This is 2011 and the majority of this amazing free country we are blessed to live in is rooting for equality and peace among all races, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. I sure hope she can educate herself and find room in her heart to be more understanding about what true love means.

This was a hard episode for me to watch. It brought me back to a very dark place in my life that still seems to bring me to tears. Before I moved out of my apartment, we shared custody of our dog, Bella. The house I moved into did not allow dogs. I had looked at many houses, and I could not pass up this house. It was on a great street close to the kids school, less than a mile from Simon's house, and it was the right price. So I told Simon that Bella would have to be with him full time after I moved. He had no problem with it at first. We agreed I would help out when I had the kids, and we would pick up Bella for a couple hours and take her for a walk or go to the park.

That night something must of happened with the dog, and he was mad. I was in the kitchen, the girls were in their room, and Spencer was downstairs In the living room. It was about 9:00 at night, and I heard a pounding on the front door. Spencer jumped up to get it, and I was yelling, "Don't open the door," as he was opening it. I had no idea who would be pounding on the door that late. Spencer opened the door, and the rest is history. I called my attorney, and he told me to file a report. This was not the first time something like this had happened, and I needed it on paper. I didn't call 911, I called the local police station and told them what happened and asked if I could come down the next morning and file a report. They said they could send an officer over in twenty minutes who could help me.

My biggest fear was getting the kids in the middle of this mess. I went to their rooms and told them a little white lie. I said that the landlord was mad at me, because the dog was not supposed to be there, and that he was sending a cop over to talk to me so they had to stay in their rooms.

I explained to the cops that I didn't want him arrested, but I needed a report for my divorce file. After talking to me they said they needed to talk with Spencer since he witnessed it. I begged them not to, because I didn't want him any more upset. They wouldn't even let me bring him downstairs. They went up to his room, knocked on his door, and talked with him. When the cops came down, they told me they were going to arrest Simon, since he did this in front of a minor.

I panicked, because making this public was the last thing I wanted. Within five hours of him being arrested it was on TMZ and all over the news. I had news trucks parked outside my house trying to get me to make a statement (I refused), and they were knocking on my neighbors' doors trying to find out if they knew anything. I had to keep my kids out of school and the TV turned off. I did not want them to know daddy was in jail. I couldn't eat or sleep for days, all I did was cry. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, I even considered getting medicated. In my mind I thought it was all my fault, that I did the wrong thing by filing a report.

The next morning at 8:00 am I get a call from Jeana Keough. I had not talked to Jeana in almost a year. She started preaching to me that I ruined his life, that he would get fired from his job, how could I do that, and that I needed to fix it now. This only played on my insecurities. She suggested that I go down to the police station and tell them I was drunk and lied to them, so he would get out of jail. Are you kidding me?

I instantly turned to Eddie, who is the voice of reason. He calmed me down and explained to me that it wasn't my fault and Simon needed to be responsible for his actions. I did not show up at his house unannounced and make a scene in front of the kids. No matter how minor my injury, it was not right. But in my mind all I could think was that this used to be my husband, the father of my kids, and he is hurt and acting out to get attention. I felt helpless, and it was easier for me to take the blame and make excuses for him at first. It took me months to process this and to be at peace about the actions which put him in jail and realize it wasn't my fault.

The next day my attorney advised me to file a temporary restraining order so Simon could cool off and not take this out on me or the kids. I went to court with my attorneys, Michael and Danny Monarch, and the judge granted the TRO for thirty days, which is very standard in this situation. After a week he was able to see the kids, but we were not able to communicate, so my mom acted as the intermediary.

When Simon got out of jail, Jeana Keough came to his rescue. She had not seen or talked to him in months, but suddenly she wanted to be his best friend and know everything. In my opinion she became Simon's voice, since he was not allowed to talk to the press. So they met for dinner and talked. That night she called Radar Online and the O.C. Register and gave them an interview on my marriage/divorce and Simon going to jail. She said that I falsely accused Simon so I could get 100% custody, because I was jealous of his new girlfriend and that I wanted to make a case so I could get more child support money. Which is a total lie, since I make more money than Simon, and I don't get any money from him whatsoever! We agreed on a custody arrangement from the day we split, 50-50 custody and to live close to each other to make it easy on the children. I would never take my kids away from their father unless he was harming them. I called Jeana the next day screaming at her! I already had a lot to deal with and now this? She denied everything and claimed she was misquoted and agreed to meet with me.

Jeana has been in a bad relationship for many years and continues to be a doormat to men. She always takes the side of the underdog and seems to have a weird fascination with other people's husbands. I wouldn't be surprised if she starts chasing after Donn Gunvalson. At first she blamed me and as soon as I broke down she seemed to understand that what she did was not right. This was a twelve year marriage with three kids, and she knew nothing about it. I never told her I was an abused woman, so I don't know where she got that info from. The time Simon and I spent with Jeana was limited and only show related in the past. After talking with her, she told me that she felt Simon needed to control his anger and that she would never say a word again. As you will see in the next few episodes, she doesn't keep her word and things are going to hit the fan!

The one positive that came out of this is my conversations with Simon are only kid related, and there has never been an unannounced visit from him since then. We are still very distant, and I hope one day we can be friends for the kids' sake. We both attended Sidney's theater performance recently, and it felt really good to have my family sitting all together again. I do think the kids benefit from us being together having fun at these kind of events. After all it's not about us, it's about the kids.

Can there just be one episode that Gretchen doesn't mention my name? By the way G, I was not the bull with the big horns, I was the bull with the big balls. Get it right, girl!

Tamra Barney

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