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Tamra Judge Explains Why She Posted Graduation Photo with Estranged Daughter: 'I Was So Hurt'

Dave Quinn

Tamra Judge opened up on Monday’s Real Housewives of Orange County season 12 reunion for the first time about the photo that caused the latest riff between her and her estranged daughter Sidney Barney.

As fans remember, the 50-year-old reality star has been working to rebuild her relationship with Sidney over the past few years —one that fell apart soon after Judge and Sidney’s father Simon Barney divorced in 2011. Though Judge and Simon were legally granted equal custody of their three children (Spencer, 17, Sophia, 11, and Sidney) upon their split, Judge relinquished custody of Sidney to Simon after their daughter opted to live with him full-time. Years would go by until Judge saw her daughter again.

They appeared to be on the mend though in June when the two reunited at Sidney’s high school graduation, photos of which Judge proudly shared on Instagram. But months later, fans learned Judge was once again on the outs after Sidney posted a lengthy rant on Facebook in August criticising her mother for, among other things, making their reunion public.

Tamra Judge at Sidney Barney's high school graduation

“[My father] forced me to let [Tamra] come to my graduation because it was a milestone. When I told my mother that she could come I gave her a few conditions. All I asked was that she remains cordial with my father and my stepmom and to not post anything about my graduation, anywhere,” Sidney wrote on Facebook.

“Not even two weeks after I graduated she posted a photo of me and shared it with her one million followers knowing that it would get picked up by the press. The one thing I asked and have been asking for 4 years now has been to not talk about me because I don’t want to be in the spotlight,” the teenager continued. “But Again breaking her promises as per usual, she puts herself, her fame, her reputation, and her bank account before me. If she really wanted a relationship she would keep her promises and recognize that it is no one elses fault but hers that I do not want her in my life.”

Looking back on it on Monday’s reunion, a tearful Judge revealed that she was elated to be invited to the event.

“It was something I had been thinking about for the past few years. It was the next milestone in her life that I didn’t want to miss. And when I was invited, I was so grateful. I was so happy,” Judge said. “But then I started thinking, ‘Why am I not helping her? Why am I not picking out the dress? Why am I not planning it?’ It’s just so hurtful.”

Judge went on to explain that her relationship with Sidney now is “not good” and took “some blame” for that, especially when it came to posting the graduation photo.

“I stupidly posted a picture of her and I on graduation, which she had asked me not to do,” Judge said, adding that she only did so after Simon had posted photos of Sidney’s graduation that didn’t include Judge — a move that caused tabloids to report that ‘Tamra’s not invited.”

“I was just so hurt, I was so hurt,” Judge said. “There were so many horrible stories that were coming out and I was impulsive.”

Andy Cohen and Tamra Judge

In Sidney’s August Facebook rant, she expressed that she was unhappy with Judge discussing their relationship on RHOC. “My mother continues to talk about me despite me requesting her to stop speaking of me publically [sic] as I don’t want to be associated with her or the show,” Sidney wrote. “She was no mother to me.”

Sidney also called Judge “the true parent alienator” and claimed she left Judge’s house because Judge was “neglectful (leaving us at home with no food or simply ignoring us entirely),” had “constantly put herself first” and was “mentally and emotionally abusive.”

Tamra Judge and Sidney Barney

Asked by Cohen about the claims of putting her fame ahead of her children, Judge said they were “not true” and “hurtful.”

“If I had done something absolutely horrible to her to warrant this, I’d get it. But I was nothing but a loving mother. That’s it,” Judge told Cohen, who wondered if their relationship would get better if Judge were off the Bravo show.

As for why she spoke out about Sidney on the show in first place, Judge said she takes “all of the responsibility” for her words.

“When your child turns their back on you, it’s very hard to keep it from a reality show,” Judge said. “When you’re on a reality show and half your heart is missing? How do you stay quiet about that? I didn’t expect that to come out, I didn’t. And I think that she’ll understand that when she gets older and she has her own kids. She’ll understand how hard it is.”

The Real Housewives of Orange County season 12 reunion concludes Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.