But as we're learning now, she was close — like, really, really close — to not coming back to the show at all, more than a decade after she helped get it off the ground for Bravo!
Sitting down with E!, Vicki shared some poignant thoughts about why she nearly didn't return to the OC, but in the end, where she drew strength from to charge ahead, saying:
"I didn't [think I'd return.] I didn't think I had the strength. But you know what, my story wasn't finished. I'm not gonna end as a victim. I'm not going to let these women have the last say-so in what they believe the truth was. I know my truth."
Gunvalson also shared a little bit about what fans can expect on the upcoming season of RHOC — which starts this Monday (!) — with new cast member Kelly Dodd:
"I think what we're gonna see this season is it definitely starts off very awkward, but the best part of this season is we have a new cast member. She bring a whole lot of opinions and I love her. We have a great relationship."
Things sound like they are rapidly improving for Vicki, though.
Speaking at the RHOC premiere party in El Lay Thursday night, she circled around about her difficult last year:
"I'm happy. It's been almost a year since Brooks [Ayers] and I broke up, and a lot can happen in a year. I'm trying to mend my heart. I got my heart broken, but it was in God's timing you know I just believe that what is to be is to be, and it wasn't meant to be, so I'm at this new place and I'm happy. I'm really fortunate to have good people in my life right now. Really good people."
Check out Vicki's decision to return and how difficult the last year has been for her (below)!!!
You can tune in to see Vicki, Kelly, and the rest of the gang on Real Housewives of Orange County when it returns to TV on Monday, June 20 at 9/8c on Bravo!