Lydia McLaughin, Instagram


Lydia McLaughlin knows being a member of the Real Housewives of Orange County has its perks.

From red carpets and fancy parties to designer dresses and free products, earning the title of "Bravolebrity" can often times look quite glamorous.

But during her time on the hit Bravo series, the mother-of-three found herself questioning whether this was really the best decision for her life.

"When I was asked back to do season 9, I wanted to do it. Being on the show was everything the world tells us to desire and it was what I desired," she wrote in her upcoming book Beyond Orange County: A Housewives Guide to Faith and Happiness. "But deep, deep down—so quiet I could almost silence it—I knew in my heart it was not God's plan for me to go back."

She continued, "I knew God was calling me to walk away from the show."

The Real Housewives of Orange County, Reunion

Evans Vestal Ward/Bravo

One moment that left the devout Christian feeling upset was during the show's reunion taping. When castmember Vicki Gunvalson got into an argument with her daughter Brianna over mom's boyfriend, McLaughlin didn't want any part of it. 

"I remember sitting on the couch, having nothing to do with the conflict or the drama, but feeling so sad," she reflected. "I sensed the Holy Spirit inside me saying, ‘You don't have to be here.' So I stood up and walked off set."

While McLaughlin and her husband carefully thought about returning to the series, they ultimately decided to pass on the opportunity. With their decision came an unexpected gift.

"Through sadness a peace came into our household," she explained. "That's the kind of sacrifice we sometimes have to make for following Jesus."

Lydia McLaughin, Beyond Orange County, Book

Worthy Publishing

Today, the couple has grown close with former castmembers Alexis Bellino and Gretchen Rossi. And while they would never say never to returning to reality TV, this family believes one season was enough. After all, who can forget her memorable tagline from the series?

 "You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." Very fitting, indeed.

(E! and Bravo are part of the NBCUniversal family)

—Reporting by Beth Sobol

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