How Tamra Judge's Kids Are Reacting To Dad's Sad Diagnosis

Real Housewives of Orange County alum Tamra Judge received devastating news about her ex-husband, Simon Barney, not long before she was reportedly fired from the Bravo series. Barney — who shares three kids with Judge and was married to her for 13 years — confirmed to People in February 2020 that he's currently battling stage three throat cancer. "I think everything happens for a reason, I think your destiny is pretty much set for you, and you're here to learn lessons," the businessman told People. "This has been a tough lesson for me. And I'm hoping it can be a lesson for others, too."

Speaking of tough lessons, Judge and Barney's children — Sidney, 21, Spencer, 19, and Sophia, 14 — are understandably having a rough go of the situation. The now friendly exes opened up about this very issue in a separate interview with People, noting how each sibling has adopted a unique way to cope. This is also true for Judge's first child from a previous marriage, 34-year-old Ryan Vieth, who was estranged from Barney before his diagnosis. 

Of course, cancer is a difficult subject and there's no "right" way to deal with this topic. So we commend the Barney and Judge families for coming together to shed light on the many feelings a person can have when their loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness.

Sidney Barney wants to help as much as she can

Sidney Barney, a college student, is arguably the most private of the Barney kids. Sidney's Instagram account is private, for example, and she hasn't appeared on RHOC since she was a kid. However, her preference for privacy doesn't mean she doesn't care about Simon Barney (pictured above with his fiance), who she has continued supporting despite the physical distance. "She [Sidney] said, 'Do you want me to get out of school and come home and help you?'" Simon recalled to People. "And I said, 'Absolutely not! You're staying in school. That's not going to happen.'" 

Ultimately, the health scare led Sidney to reconnect with her estranged mom, Tamra Judge. "The kids were split after the divorce and chose sides but, at the end of the day, none of that matters," Judge said about everyone talking again. "All we have to do is rally together to make it through this."

Spencer Barney is the practical one

Tamra Judge has revealed on past episodes of RHOC that her second son, Spencer Barney (pictured above), is her most mature kid. "He really is like a 90-year-old man," she said during an episode featuring Spencer's 18th birthday party. "He has his life planned out, he loves politics, he's into history, he likes to communicate." Judge also gushed, per Bravo, "I'm so proud of Spencer and his choices in life."

Considering Spencer is wise beyond his years, it's not too surprising he's handling Simon Barney's diagnosis in a practical manner. "He wanted to know specifics first, he's more an old soul," Judge explained to People. "So he wanted to know where he's going to be treated, who his doctor is. He's just very clinical about it." 

Similarly to Sidney Barney's experience, the young adult decided to reconnect with his dad, who he became estranged from after his parents' divorce. "He finally reached out to me the other day and just said, 'Sorry, Dad. I just had to get a hold of it,'" Simon revealed. "It's good because I haven't really talked to him in a while. But we're getting there now."

Sophia Barney is doing the best she can

As the youngest of the Barney children, Sophia Barney (pictured above) has had the toughest time accepting her dad is sick. Simon Barney explained to People how the teen "doesn't want to talk about it" and "doesn't want to see" him ill, which are heartbreaking details. Despite Sophia's struggles, however, she's thriving in a myriad of ways. "I'm so proud of the strong, driven, kind young lady you've become," Tamra Judge penned to her daughter in September 2019. "Keep reaching for the stars and never give up on your music & passion for fashion (she's working on her own clothing line)."

In those moments when Sophia needs a shoulder to lean on, Judge will be by her side to see her through the tough times. The mom even revealed how being there for her kids was a big factor in her decision to part ways with RHOC. "In my mind, I knew there was going to be a phone call during filming where someone needed me — where Simon was in the hospital, or one of my kids were upset — and I'd need to handle all that stuff, away from the cameras," she told People.

Ryan Vieth and Simon Barney are on good terms

Although Simon Barney and Ryan Vieth loved one another, they frequently butted heads in their stepdad-stepson relationship. "Simon, he wasn't a bad person, like he didn't hate Ryan," Tamra Judge said about the pair's fraught relationship in an after-show episode for RHOC, per Reality Blurb. "He was trying to give him the structure he never had at 13 and this kid is like, 'What are you talking about? That's not how we do things.'" And when Barney divorced Tamra Judge in 2011, Vieth naturally parted ways from his stepdad. 

Despite their differences, Ryan confirmed via his Instagram Stories that he talks to Barney every week, according to Reality Blurb. The renewed relationship hasn't been lost on the dad-of-three, who told People about his change of fortune, "It's kind of like a new beginning for me and my family. It's really brought everyone closer together." He added, "When I told Tamra, she said she cried for like, two or three days. Things changed with our relationship from there, in a good way. We're getting along in ways we haven't in years. And she's become close with my fiancée. And that shift carried across the board with my kids, too."

Here's to hoping Simon Barney and his loving family will be able to enjoy each other's company for a long time to come.