"It still sucks. I was really looking forward to showing the other side," Windham-Burke, 43, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, just days after revealing she was canned from the popular reality show.
"You know, I got very raw this last year with sobriety and I think everyone could tell I was struggling and how hard it was."
Windham-Burke, who joined the cast in 2019 claims to have been six months sober when they stopped filming season 15. "So, I was really looking forward to showing the other side of it. You know, the light at the end of the tunnel."
"Sobriety is fun. Sobriety is beautiful," she continued, "It's very hard getting sober and that's all you saw last year was the getting, not the being. I really do wish that people could see, 'Yes, it takes work. Yes, it's hard.' But once you get to the other side, it's beautiful."
However, the Laguna Beach native's sobriety didn't save her from being shown the door. News broke on June 15, that Windham-Burke, who also has come out as a lesbian in December 2020, would not be returning. Other axed cast members include Elizabeth Lyn Vargas and Kelly Dodd.
Heather Dudrow, on the other hand, will be returning to the franchise after her 2016 exit.
Bravo host Cohen, 53, shared the network's decision to cut Windham-Burke for season 16 on the Heather Dubrow's World podcast, "Listening to [Braunwyn] at the reunion made [us] feel like, maybe at this moment in time, being on TV wasn't the healthiest spot for she and her family."
"I think she was dealing with some real stuff with herself, with her marriage, with her children. It was a lot," he said.
What seemed like words of concern for the reality star were taken as a knife to the back by the mother of seven who has never been shy about her marital ups and downs with husband Sean Burke. "I haven't spoken to him. I think that's what hurt me so much," she said. "I was not in the healthiest place at the reunion. I was less than a year sober."
The reality star went on to explain, "I was still struggling a lot. There was a lot of tension with my cast. I knew what I was getting into and it wasn't hard."
As far as someone from the show not reaching out, Windham-Burke said, "Although I wasn't in a great place [then], I've gotten so much better by doing the work. And I think we all go through moments in our life that are tough. We've all had, you know, mental breakdowns or times in our life where we're not OK, but we get better. We do the work. And then we heal."
"And I wish someone had just said, 'hey, what's going on now? How are you healing? how are you doing?' Because where I was six months ago and where I am now are so different. So that did hurt just because no one took the time to call."