'RHOSLC's Heather Gay 'Shook' by Fallout With Whitney Rose in 'Tumultuous' Season 3 (Exclusive)

'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Heather Gay reacts to her fractured relationship with Whitney Rose and more season 3 drama.

'RHOSLC's Heather Gay 'Shook' by Fallout With Whitney Rose in 'Tumultuous' Season 3 (Exclusive)

Three years into being a Real Housewife, Heather Gay jokes she's "beaten down."

"By life and by these b***hes!" the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City OG cracks to ET over video call. "No, am I different? I just feel like I'm still the same sad sack I've always been, but now I just am richer and more famous. Aside from that, it's still the same routine."

"The truth is, being friends with everybody and just the experiences we've gone through it's-- I mean, these are big, big things that we've experienced, you know?" she reflects. "I don't know how many other Housewives have had a SWAT team surround their party bus, but we've been in the s**t. We've seen some stuff. So, I think that's a factor for sure."

Self-deprecation and sprinter van swarms aside, Heather can say she's growing through the process of putting her life out there for public consumption on reality TV, a life she honestly thought was over when she made the decision to separate herself from the Mormon church. 

"I'm kind of finally coming into a small sense of self that I've never really had before," she confesses, "and I'm also coming out of what I feel safe to say was the very darkest period of my life. It's kind of a new awakening."

"I joke that I’m like Kimmy Schmidt, you know?" she continues, referencing the Netflix comedy that saw Ellie Kemper play a woman acclimating to life in New York City after living in a cult, in an underground bunker, for most of her life. 

"Just pretend I was in a vault for 40 years," Heather says. It's 40 years of unpacking she processes in her upcoming memoir, Bad MormonRHOSLC cameras captured the writing process and the fallout it caused with Heather's still-religious family.

"I learned that there is power and catharsis in writing down your story without an agenda, and just saying truth for truth's sake," Heather says of the tome, which she's quick to note she wrote for her teen daughters, Ashley, Georgia and Annabelle. It hits bookstores in February of next year.

"For so long, I masqueraded for my girls as just this perfect mother, and I didn't have feelings or emotions," she explains. "And now we're kind of in a freeform, new-age motherhood, and I feel like this book is a concrete anchor point for my children to know who their mom was and I did it for them."

Heather gets choked up describing her reasons for writing, because it came at a cost. She says there's "no hope" for reconciliation with her estranged family, seeing as the book reveals so-called secrets from inside the Church. 

Heather Gay poses with a giant mockup of her book cover on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Randy Shropshire / Bravo

"If I wasn't in Outer Darkness before the publication of this book, I am in Outer Darkness now," she professes, name-checking one of the realms of the afterlife in her former faith. 

"They used to say, you would just be disemboweled and kill yourself before you would tell the secrets," she shares, "and this book has what a lot of people consider to be secrets. ... The cost is high, but the reward is great so far."

What she's lost in family, she's gained in friends from the show; but season 3 tests those friendships, especially the once unbreakable bond between Heather and her cousin, Whitney Rose

"'Bad Wheather' was what I've always believed is an impenetrable force," Heather laments, invoking the nickname castmate Lisa Barlow bestowed upon the duo at the season 1 reunion. "I mean, who wants to go up against a tornado? Not me, not you, and I was pretty attached to being 'Bad Wheather,' but I’m also attached to being a good friend, and I know that Whitney was over it, and wanted to stand on her own and have her own identity, and you know, I'm a pleaser. I'm a middle child. Like, I do what I’m told."

In a separate interview with ET, Whitney described her and Heather's relationship as "changed forever," citing a near-physical altercation they get into over a discussion surrounding rumors about Lisa and whether she trades favors to up her tequila business, gossip passed to Whitney by way of Lisa's one-time BFF Meredith Marks.

"I did not know she felt that way," a shocked Heather admits after hearing Whitney's thoughts on their friendship. The two went straight into filming The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip's third season after filming season 3 of their own show, an experience Whitney agreed was a little "awkward" given what unfolded between them on RHOSLC.

"It was not awkward or uncomfortable," Heather rebuffs. "So that's interesting. ... That seems like a reach, if not a complete fabrication."

It's clear these two have work to do in order to get back to the place they once were, which may or may not happen. Whitney's unexpected friendship with Lisa throws a twist into any course back to each other; she tells ET she felt like she was seeing Lisa through Heather and Meredith's "lenses" in seasons 1 and 2, but now sees her clearly for herself, another statement that puzzles Heather.

Whitney Rose, Lisa Barlow and Heather Gay catch up at a party on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Fred Hayes / Bravo

"I'm triggered and flattered," she responds to the idea of somehow "poisoning" Whitney against Lisa in the show's first seasons. "You know, I think that that's interesting that she says that. I don't know what that's about, because I think that diminishes the really strong opinions that she shared. That doesn't really track for me at all, because Whitney had a lot of theories and shared a lot of things about Lisa, things that never occurred to me until I heard Whitney say it. So, if it was me and Meredith that kept her from being friends with Lisa, that's... does Lisa agree with that explanation?"

"I don't think anyone tells Lisa Barlow who to be friends with or not to be friends with," she rattles off. "So, maybe the better question is, what switched for Lisa to want to be friends with Whitney, you know?"

"I'm a little shook," she confesses as she processes Whitney's take on the state of their friendship, asking for a break when ET asks who she considers her closest friend in the group amid the shifting dynamics. "It's news to me," she explains. "It's a surprise to me and it feels pretty harsh, and no one likes to hear things like that."

After taking a beat, she runs through the rest of the cast, name-checking season 2 guest turned "friend of" in season 3, Angie Harrington, as one of her best friends. 

"We have grown super, super close," she says. "I treasure our friendship. I treasure my friendship with Meredith. I treasure my friendship with Jen [Shah]. I treasure my friendship with Lisa, for all of its strains and difficulties. I’m really hopeful for our friendship, and I have been for a while... and we have continual setbacks, but we also have continual gains."

In the game of chess that is this social circle, Meredith admits she's "surprised less than thrilled" that Meredith and Jen have found their way to friendship. Meredith spent most of season 2 aiming to distance herself from Jen, whose life essentially imploded on camera after she was federally indicted on fraud charges. Jen offered an olive branch of sorts to Meredith at the reunion, sympathizing with her having to process grief (her father died near the start of filming) while also dealing with the drama that follows Housewives -- including social media attacks against Meredith's son, carried out in part by Jen.

"I can count on Meredith to always do the right thing," Heather notes. "She is a measured, intelligent, emotionally mature woman, and god knows I'm not."

Heather Gay and Meredith Marks pose at an event on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Fred Hayes / Bravo

"I'm always impressed by her ability to just get beyond herself and do what needs to be done," she says. "I'm thrilled that she has shown up for Jen. I'm thrilled that she continues to show up for Jen, and I think that it speaks volumes to her character and to her compassion and to her ability to put things aside, put her pride aside, put previous offenses aside, and do the most important thing."

Viewers will see Meredith and Heather travel with Jen to New York City, where she surprised her co-stars by pleading guilty in her case. She had been professing her innocence for nearly two years at that point, challenging anyone who suggested otherwise. She now faces up to 30 years in prison.

"I was devastated, and I was devastated for her," Heather shares, admitting she hasn't fully processed the change in Jen's story. 

"Any feelings I had about it were immediately eclipsed by the reality now of what she had admitted to, and what she was now facing, which is coming up, you know, her sentencing," she continues, "and I haven't really thought about my personal feelings about it, because however I needed to show up for her before has now exponentially increased. And she needs more support now than ever."

Jen's change in plea came at the end of filming season 3, so fans can expect a winding journey to get there. Heather describes the entire season as "tumultuous." 

"Conflict reigns," she promises. "Not a lot of sweet in the city of Salt." 

"It's like pulling out a thread on a sweater," Heather goes on to tease, repeating her own quote from the season 3 trailer. "You think it's the end, it's just the beginning."

The true star of the trailer, though, is Heather's black eye. The Beauty Lab + Laser owner shows up with a shiner, the origins of which will be revealed as the season plays out. She jokes it's the result of "a huge traumatic event." 

"To quote my favorite Housewife, 'Roll footage!'" Heather quips, referencing Lisa's infamous demand for evidence at the season 1 reunion. She's serious, though, as cameras captured whatever caused the orbital distress. 

Heather Gay shows off her black eye on season 3 of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City


"Cameras are always there," she notes. "You can't get a black eye, you know, under a bed... or maybe you can? Maybe that's the tease. I don't know!"

As for what else to expect this season, Heather says the newbies -- Angie Harrington, Angie Katsanevas and Danna Bui-Negrete -- all shake the table.

"I feel like Angie Harrington was a Housewife the second she appeared on her screen in that pink feather dress, and, you know, confronted Lisa," Heather says, referring back to Angie's season 2 clash with Lisa over catering at a charity event. 

"That was a moment worthy of any snowflake-holder in the history of Salt Lake City Housewives," she declares. "I adore Angie Herrington. She is my people. ... She's kind of a Mormon nerd like me, but she's also just a fun-loving, free-loving, you know, witty spark of life, and she has brought so much joy to the filming and all of it. And we've grown really close."

"I'm all for fresh meat," she adds of Angie K. and Danna, "and I think that it's going to be fun to kind of see the different personalities that exist in Salt Lake City, and the ways that, for such a homogeneous, insular society and community, we have a little bit of flair. And I think Angie and Danna really represent that. Their back stories are fascinating and really unique, and I think I like I like having that type of representation."

The three newbies help fill a Mary Cosby-sized hole on the show. The OG star exited the series after skipping out on the season 2 reunion, following some awkward encounters with since-fired Housewife Jennie Nguyen and near-constant conversation surrounding the inner workings of her church, which some of the women implied is a cult. Mary denied those accusations.

Fans wondered if the Pentecostal pastor might be a plot point on RHOSLC season 3, even if she doesn't make an appearance, seeing as Heather and Jen were spotted with cameras outside of Mary's church. It's unclear if that footage will air, but Heather expects her presence to always be felt on this show.

"Listen, as a Housewives fan I deeply miss Mary Cosby," she shares. "As a human navigating a friendship with her? There are pros and cons, but the truth is, at the end of the day there's not a lot of people that really just challenge you, and uniquely challenge you, and Mary Cosby definitely did that. She and I had really great moments of friendship, and we also had some conflict."

"I miss her, but I respect her decision to step away," she adds. "In many ways Mary Cosby was it. I mean she was 'hospital smell,' the quote heard around the world!"

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. 


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