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Real Housewife Shannon Beador Opens Up About DUI Arrest

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Sami Drasin/Bravo

In her 10 seasons on The Real Housewives of Orange County, Shannon Beador has rarely overlooked others’ mistakes.

But in a recent interview, Beador confessed that experiencing a challenging year herself has shifted her perspective. “I wasn’t a big person on giving others passes for making mistakes,” she said. “Now that I’ve made my own huge mistake, I think that everybody is human. No one’s perfect.”

When RHOC returns for its 18th season, Beador’s September 2023 DUI arrest becomes a central storyline. She received three years’ probation, 40 community service hours, and a nine-month alcohol program after driving her car into a residential building in Newport Beach, Calif., and then leaving the scene.

Security footage captured the terrifying event, highlighting the lack of control Beador had over her vehicle and the potential for greater harm. During Thursday night’s RHOC premiere, Beador shared a photo of her bruised and bloodied face from the accident.

As the one-year anniversary of the incident approaches, the reality TV season chronicling the aftermath is airing. Beador’s relationships have been affected, with friends distancing themselves, including Tamra Judge, a former member of the show’s “Tres Amigas” group. Judge accuses Beador of being a drunk who needs help, a sentiment that provokes many intense discussions among the cast.

Adding to the drama, Beador learned that her ex, John Janssen, with whom she was arguing the night of her arrest, has started dating former RHOC cast member Alexis Bellino. Bellino’s involvement in a past lawsuit against Beador exacerbates tensions.

In a Zoom interview ahead of the premiere, Beador candidly discussed her “guilt and shame” over her arrest, personal growth, and frustrations with castmates like Judge who publicly comment on her drinking and well-being.

“Everyone has been saying, ‘Oh, it’s such a great season.’ When they ask me how I would describe it, my answer is ‘difficult,’ because it was difficult,” she said. “There’s a therapeutic part of going through it and publicly taking accountability for everything that happened. So that’s been very healing for me.”

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Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson, and Shannon Storms Beador

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Regarding returning to filming, knowing her DUI would be a huge part of the season, Beador said, “I was using alcohol as a coping mechanism, an unhealthy one. I spent 30 days in a behavioral wellness center with an alcohol component and still work with a trauma therapist and a psychiatrist. I want to be the best person that I can be.”

Beador surrounded herself with a small, supportive circle but felt apprehensive about returning to a wider social sphere. “It was surprising and refreshing to realize who actually is there supporting me. But clearly, there was apprehension.”

Taking accountability for herself, she emphasizes, “I only have to answer to me and the people that are close to me and my family. They know the progress that I’m making.”

Beador acknowledges that her castmates don’t know what steps she’s taken over the past year. She invites viewers to “check back with me at the end of the season” to assess her growth and whether she belongs on the show.

As the anniversary of her DUI approaches, Beador feels grateful that she didn’t hurt anyone. “The thought that I could have hurt someone—it just haunts me. There’s a lot of guilt and shame, especially being a mother and because of my age. It’s been hard to deal with.”

Participating in BravoCon shortly after the DUI proved therapeutic. “If I can get through this and be authentic and truthful about everything that happened, then I can get through anything,” she reflected.

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Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, Vicki Gunvalson, Taylor Armstrong

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Facing public judgment, Beador maintains, “If people are upset with what I did and can’t get over it, they’re entitled to believe that. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I’m grateful that people can see this season that I am taking responsibility for my mistakes and trying to turn it into a positive.”

The dark aspects of Beador’s storyline were balanced by moments of joy. “The joy with me right now is that I was able to spend some time with my children. The joy that I get is doing this show with Vicki. It’s something I can focus on and look forward to. And Vicki plus Shannon equals silly fun. You can’t script the stuff that happens to us.”

Throughout the season, viewers may find Beador drinking, a choice she explains openly. “Sometimes I go out and have a drink. Sometimes I don’t. I’ll have a couple. That’s it. I don’t want to be the hider.”

Transparency is key for Beador. “I didn’t drink during my treatment program or at BravoCon. But when we went for dinner afterward, someone offered to order a drink for me, and I said ‘OK.’ Later, I realized I can’t do that anymore because it will look like I tried to sneak something. So when we did our show the second night, I ordered the drink myself.”

Despite her openness, some castmates, particularly Tamra Judge, still question her sobriety. “Judge claims I was sneaking drinks. But I refuse to be someone who hides. It’s just not who I am,” Beador asserts.

While facing challenges and criticisms, Beador stresses that “there are other people on the cast who maybe should stop making judgments about my drinking and consider how they look on camera when they drink.”

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Katie Ginella, Gina Kirschenheiter, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Storms Beador, Tamra Judge, Emily Simpson, and Jennifer Pedranti

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On the issue of her ex, John Janssen, and Alexis Bellino, Beador is frank. “John and I had ended things for about six weeks when he got together with Alexis. We were together for over four years. I thought we were going to get married, but I’m grateful we’re not together anymore. It wasn’t a healthy relationship.”

Reflecting on last season, she realizes the toll her relationship took on her. “I was a mess. I wasn’t sleeping. I was so stressed because John wanted me to clear his name regarding what the women were saying about him. It was always about protecting the relationship. Someone named Alexis might be doing that right now. He has his minions in order. I have no interest in becoming buddies.”

Beador also addresses the so-called “rebrand” of John Janssen into “Johnny J,” calling it “unbelievable.” Despite the difficulties, she finds joy in spending time with her children and working with Vicki on the show, seeing it as something she can look forward to.

Enduring this season, Beador hopes to convey a message of resilience and growth. “Everyone makes mistakes. If you actively work on yourself and try to turn the bad into good, you’ll be okay. It’s embarrassing and humiliating, but through time, I will prove to myself and others that I turned everything into a positive.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast