Starting a new chapter.
After it was announced that Braunwyn Windham-Burke would not be returning to The Real Housewives of Orange County on June 15, the mother of seven is ready to break her silence on another RHOC alum. And no, it's not Kelly Dodd.
Windham-Burke exclusively spoke with E! News at the GUARDaHEART Foundation's Unmasked Heart Disease event over the weekend and confirmed her relationship with RHOC season six star Fernanda Rocha.
"We have been hanging out," Braunwyn gushed. "We are close and she's been an amazing support to me. I'm glad I met her. I will say this: There have been some rumors about when we went from being friends to a little bit more than friends. It was after she got divorced so there's nothing salacious like that happening. We've been hanging out for awhile. We didn't become more than friends until recently. She's definitely special."
While Braunwyn was hesitant to put a label on their love, she stated that they are "definitely dating."
"She is a very steady, very spiritual, very level-headed force," Braunwyn ravved about "caring and nurturing" fitness instructor girlfriend Fernanda.
"I have a tendency to spiral into over the top emotions as anyone in a reality show should, and she brings me back down to center," Braunwyn continued. "She's really brought out a softer side of me. I've been in the same relationship for most of my life so she's taught me about compromise and meeting someone in the middle. I haven't really dated much because I've been with Sean [Burke] since I was 18. But she's just been patient and understanding and we're having a great time."
As for her RHOC exit, Braunwyn noted that she is still "confused" after the news. "I would have loved to showcase a healthy, lesbian relationship," the star explained. "I think it's way past time."
"I would love for Sean to find someone," Braunwyn clarified. "It's one of the reasons that we know we have to go in a different direction, but we'll always be a family...What I have with Fernanda is what I want him to have with someone else. It took me awhile to get there, but we've been together for 26 years."
Braunwyn's coming out affected her marriage: "Regardless if I'm gay or straight, it was still hard," she continued. "There was a grieving process. We're working through it and we're on the other side of a lot of things."
Yet, there is no rush for Braunwyn and Sean to divorce.
"There's no reason to," the former RHOC star added. "We're not fighting. We're getting along...We have been together 26 years so we're not in any rush to get divorced. Eventually, maybe one of us will want to get remarried and of course that would happen. For me, this is the reality version of modern family. We are creating something that we haven't seen. You can be married outside the box and have it work as long as you're happy."
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)