The real reason Tamra Judge got fired from RHOC

Real Housewives of Orange County alum Tamra Judge is still searching for answers after her departure from the Bravo series was confirmed in January 2020 ahead of Season 15. Judge denied being fired at first, telling People, "It's been a wild ride, and after all these years, I'm looking forward to life away from the cameras." She added, "I was offered a chance to come back to the show in a limited role, but would prefer to walk away on my own terms." But a few days later, the mom-of-four admitted the truth during an Instagram Live chat with Bravo exec Andy Cohen, joking (via The Sun), "I'm not cheap Andy, and that's why I got fired!"

Although Judge's candor is entertaining, her claim that she was canned over cash is a serious allegation. Cohen has yet to confirm whether money was the reason for her exit, but he did joke during the chat that the ex-reality star isn't cheap. 

Of course, there are many reasons why Judge might have been fired from the show, including one compelling theory courtesy of Flipping Out alum Jeff Lewis. Trust us when we say Lewis' hypothesis is as juicy as the orange Tamra Judge held in her palm for 12 seasons.

Is RHOC in financial trouble?

Just when you thought Tamra Judge's time on RHOC was kaput, she hinted there's a possibility she'll return for Season 16. "It was a job to me and when this job ended, I never thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to get another show,' because I don't have agents," Judge explained to Jeff Lewis during a February 2020 episode of his SiriusXM show, Jeff Lewis Live, per Showbiz Cheat Sheet. "Well, I've been approached. Andy told me to hold off on signing any kind of contract, run it past him first cause he says that I'll be back next year." It's unclear whether this return will ever come to fruition, but Lewis does have a theory about why the mom was axed in the first place. "I think it's all about money [and] that advertisers are not paying what they used to," he speculated. "I don't think it's as profitable as it was and I think they have to go through and they have to cost-cut."

Judge — along with fellow canned co-star Vicki Gunvalson — made a ton of dough while on RHOC. The former amateur bodybuilder reportedly made $600,000 per season, while Gunvalson raked in $750,000, according to Radar Online. Given these high figures, it's reasonable to suggest money was a factor in the firings. However, it's worth noting Real Housewives OGs NeNe Leakes and Ramona Singer still have their jobs. Hmm.

Some fans accused Andy Cohen of ageism

After Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson's firings were announced, some fans of the franchise accused Andy Cohen of ageism as the ladies were two of the oldest cast members on the show at the time (52 and 57 respectively). Cohen's response to the accusation? "If you look at the breadth of Housewives on all of the shows, we represent all ages and specifically New York City, Ramona [Singer]'s 61 or something," he responded when a caller brought up ageism on his Radio Andy SiriusXM show, per People. "This doesn't have to do with age." Cohen continued to explain how the decision was motivated by an entirely different factor, stating, "We just felt like, with Orange County, we were going in circles a little bit with the group. Sometimes you have to take people out of the group to see the stories go in a different direction." He added, "I think if we had taken Shannon out of the group, then we could have a discussion about whether this had something to do with age."

There you have it, folks. It sounds like Tamra Judge got the boot from RHOC because her storyline had staled. Let's just hope she doesn't end up like these Real Housewives who need to realize they aren't famous anymore.