The Real Housewives of Orange County returns Sunday night, and already the claws are out, and the fur is flying.
New Housewife Peggy Tanous is accusing her old friend (and season-five newbie) Alexis Bellino of sabotaging her efforts to join the cast. "Alexis didn't really want me on the show," Peggy meowed to us.
Is that true? Alexis told us us her side of the story—while sharing lots of scoop about the season ahead:
Peggy threw down some fighting words when she dished to E! News, "Alexis told me that [Housewives] was supposed to be 'her thing.' That made it really hard to film because I am a very strong believer in friendship."
Alexis says it is that very friendship that made her change her mind about recommending Peggy for the show: "I [had] this sick feeling [that] the show was going to eat us alive—tear our friendship apart," she told us. "I was trying to protect our friendship because to me our friendship is more important than the show. I just wanted our friendship to last."
"Now that she's saying I didn't want to share the spotlight," Alexis added. "I'm like, 'Girl, there's going to be six girls on the show—I'm going to have to share the spotlight. Why do I care if I share the spotlight?' I don't understand her whole philosophy, she's changed a lot this season, to be honest with you."
Will the two friends be able to kiss and make up? Alexis isn't so sure.
"We had an hourlong conversation with each other about this which I thought patched everything up, but obviously she still harbors a lot of resentment. So the reunion's going to be great!
"I just know that my friend that I had four years ago before the show wouldn't talk about me behind my back, wouldn't say the things she's saying in interviews that I'm finding out about. And a couple things happen during the season where she kicks me while I'm down."
Peggy isn't the only one Alexis spats with. Encouraged by Brad the bartender's stiff drinks, Gretchen goes ballistic on both Tamra and Alexis.
"I get into a few other fights too," Alexis revealed. "It's funny because last year I treaded so lightly, and I was so timid and just scared, and I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings."
Except maybe Vicki Gunvalson, whose failing marriage will be featured this season.
"Things start out a little bit rocky," Alexis told us of her relationship this season with the show's matriarch. "I was still holding a little bit of resentment and anger towards her for calling me 'classless trash' and my husband a 'smelly dork'." Alexis agreed to a détente after Vicki asked her to "let bygones be bygones" just before filming, but after watching the first episode, Alexis said, "I was just, 'Wow—maybe she's not going to take the high road again this year.'"
Also taking a decided detour from that high road is new divorcée Tamra, whose brawl with former Housewife Jeana (airing later this season) features some serious shoving and at least one wine facial. Cannot. Wait.
Sadly for fans of Alexis' "controlling" hubby, Jim has quit Housewives because of his "jerk" edit. "He's pretty much against the show," Alexis revealed to us. "All they want to do is rip him apart."