RHOC’s Shannon Beador says ‘I’m not a victim’ as she talks ‘dark’ time

Real Housewives of Orange County star Shannon Beador, 56, powerfully declared "I'm not a victim" as she discussed the "dark and painful" times she's been through on the show.

The mum-of-three returns to the show for its 15th season alongside Kelly Dodd, Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson, Braunwyn Windham-Burke and newbie Elizabeth Lyn Vargas.

During her six years on the show, Shannon has shared some incredibly difficult parts of her life with viewers, including her marriage struggles and subsequent divorce, as well as her weight loss battle.

But, speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, Shannon said: "There are a lot of people that say I always try to play the victim and I don't think I am a victim, in fact I think I'm a survivor.

"I'm not afraid of anything, I stand up on my own, I feel like I conquered certain things on my own that were very dark and painful in my life, so I'm not a victim."

She added: "I don't want people's sympathy, as much as certain past and present cast members have said that – but not me."

The new season of the show was five weeks into filming before production had to be shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Shannon admitted that time was very worrying for her.

She told us: "I did panic at the beginning of the pandemic because I have lung damage in both lungs, so I was fearful that if I got Covid I would be in hospital.

"I was nervous, so I ate and drank my way through the beginning a little bit."

Shannon revealed: "My daughters and I actually came down with Covid and we tried to capture some of that [on the show], it was eventful."

The reality star laughed as she explained she'd also fallen victim to the "Covid 16[lbs]" but is getting back to her fitness journey now.

She spent lockdown with her three daughters Stella, Sophie and Adeline, and her new man John Janssen, who she has been with for almost a year-and-a-half, and said it was "great".

"I have three teenage daughters, the last thing they want to do is spend time with their mum, so they've basically been forced to spend time with me, so it's been good for me," she laughed.

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But she admitted there were "some bumps" with her love life during the lockdown, however said: "We're a normal couple and I think a lot of other people went through it too.

"Who is ever quarantined together 24/7 every day for months on end? It's a lot."

Shannon was faced with another challenge this time – filming without her close friends Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson, who both exited.

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She said: "It was a little bit of a slow start for me, but there's a silver lining in that now, this season, I've been able to develop new friendships and bonds and relationships that I didn't have before.

"I was very upset about it and crushed for [Tamra and Vicki] too. I can't imagine being on a show for 12 or 14 years to not have that any more, so I was upset about it."

However it sounds like there'll still be plenty of drama for Real Housewives fans, despite the changing cast and limitations of filming in a pandemic.

Shannon told us: "It was a shame because we were five weeks into filming and then had to shut production down and we were right at that point where there was a lot of different things going on and we were diving really deep into it, then we had to shut down, so that was very disappointing."

She added: "There are some issues with Braunwyn that I think a lot of different cast members are having, so you'll see throughout the season how it unfolds."

The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 15 will be available to stream and download on hayu from October 15

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