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RHOC's Elizabeth Lyn Vargas Dishes About Being Raised In A 'Religious Cult'

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Source: Instagram @ Elizabeth Lyn Vargas

Dec. 31 2020, Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

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Getting real. Real Housewives of Orange County star Elizabeth Lyn Vargas got candid about the "religious cult" she was raised in.

On the most recent episode of the Bravo show, Vargas had a panic attack, which was triggered by discussing her childhood, but costar Braunwyn Windham-Burke helped Vargas throughout the episode. 

"From zero to 13, I was raised in this religious environment," Vargas said in a confessional. "My grandmother was the head of the religious cult and my father was one of the main preachers as well."

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The church is believed to be the Faith Bible Tabernacle church in the Midwest.

"As a young girl, I knew something was wrong with what was going on in this church," she continued. 

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"We couldn't wear anything else but this uniform. We couldn't eat anything but what they made us or what they shot. We couldn't leave the ranch — we were stuck on a commune. We couldn’t even go to a hospital, they knew how to control every single person on that property."

Vargas said that she had to hide how sad she was and pretend to be happy. "I found that laughter attracted people to me — it was easier to live in a fantasy world of happiness than live in my reality of depression. Religious abuse is the worst kind of abuse," she said. 

The family was kicked out of the church in the end after Vargas told one of her neighbors what was happening. 

Vargas previously told OK! when she was "younger I was raised dirt poor and my goal was to come to California and find gold."

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"Coming from Missouri my work ethic was huge. I would cut cords of wood with my mom, we would sell the cords of wood, we would clean out garages from people who passed away and sell that. My father was a pinto mechanic and salesman. Whatever we could to make ends meet," she revealed.

Vargas worried that Windham-Burke would "think differently" of her after she opened up about her traumatic upbringing. 

"It just makes me think better of you because now it's like I have context for all of this," Windham-Burke said. 

Windham-Burke had previously struggled to get Vargas’ story straight and even snooped into her personal and financial life for some clarity. "This puts everything into perspective, I regret digging up the petty stuff," Windham-Burke admitted in her own confessional. "I wasn't a good friend when I could have been. I definitely have to make a big amends to her."

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In previous episodes, Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson admitted that they couldn’t figure out what Vargas was saying and were confused about whether Vargas wanted to continue to date her new boyfriend or to have a baby via artificial insemination without him. 

Vargas’ divorce from Bernt Bodal was a focal point of season 15 of RHOC, and she confirmed that the divorce was finalized in July. "You know, I don’t know how I’m feeling today. I’m excited but I’m sad and I — it’s the end of an era — I was with the guy for 20 years. 17 years but divorcing for three,” she wrote on her Instagram Story. 

Vargas reportedly landed $31,000 per month in spousal support, a $5 million mansion, a Range Rover and a Bentley in the divorce settlement.

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