LOS ANGELES – "Real Housewives of Orange County" starlet Vicki Gunvalson has been living her life in front of the lens for five seasons now, but she wants you to know that the successful reality show and evolving life insurance business haven't come without their fair share of challenges.
"I was married nine years and I always thought marriage was until death do you part. When I went and saw a biblical counselor, he asked me about my relationship. He believed marriage was okay to get out of if you had the three A's, which were abuse, addiction and adultery. I had all three," Gunvalson told Tarts while promoting her new book "More Than a Housewife."
"It gave in my mind a green light to say okay, I've got the validation that I'm doing the right thing. I can't fix his alcoholism and I can't fix his addiction. I can't fix his abusive nature and his screaming and his lies. I can't fix the fact that he is a cheater, so once I realized it wasn't me, it really gave me the initiative to go out and make a better life for myself, for my children. My parents were married forever and I didn't believe in divorce. [But] I was scared — I was 29 years old and uneducated."
After finding the strength to leave, Gunvalson says she has learned to credit all she has to her faith.
"It doesn't mean you have to go to church everyday or every Sunday but I pray everyday," she said. "I pray for strength, I pray for safety, I pray for my children and my husband. I think everything I have in my life is because of the Lord. I'm not one that boasts about it and talks about it but my faith is very strong."
And listen up ladies, Gunvalson is offering words of wisdom – think more like a man.
"I feel like I have a man's mind. I don't lie down and expect a man to take care of me, but many women that I've been affiliated with think they are just there to take care of the husband, take care of the kids and be a good housewife and they feel it's the responsibility of a man to provide for them," she said.
"I feel we can do all those things at home and be a wife, but go to work and help your husband – earn a dual income. I came into this world with two eyes, two ears and beating heart, so I don't think anyone should have to provide for me," Gunvalson added.
"A lot of women don't think the way I do. They believe it's a man's role to take care of them. But times are different now; it's not how it was when my parents were growing up. I love that a man needs to take care of a woman, but a woman needs to take care of a man and contribute."
As for her hit Bravo show, it's no secret that Gunvalson and fellow housewife Gretchen Rossi don't see eye-to-eye, and she has no interest in watching the squabbling on the small screen.
"Gretchen is 17 years younger than me; she's almost like my daughter's age. I can't compete with her body or whatever she's doing, we are in a different stage of our life. When I was 30, I had a six and seven-year-old. Gretchen doesn't have any children. We have nothing in common other than that we do a show together," Gunvalson added. "I don't really enjoy TV; it's a waste of time. I would rather go to the gym or get out of the house and do something productive. I don't want to sit on the couch and watch TV."