RHOC: The Truth About Elizabeth Lyn Vargas' Tragic Childhood

Elizabeth Lyn Vargas helped put the "reality" in reality TV on The Real Housewives of Orange County. She shocked season 15 viewers with revelations about the "religious cult" she said she was raised in, as noted by People. While opening up to fellow housewife Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Elizabeth recalled her disturbing upbringing in Missouri and how she came to the realization that "religious abuse is the worst kind of abuse."

The online music company CEO moved to the O.C. by way of her marriage to her ex-husband and is now living the lavish life on the West Coast with her boyfriend Jimmy, Bravo reported. While she comes off as perky and positive around her co-stars, she finally confessed to putting on the act after suffering a panic attack on air. "I felt for years I had to hide my sadness and show people I was happy," Elizabeth shared. "And 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." 

As the newest housewife on the show, fans are still getting to know her. But many were surprised when she opened up about her troubled childhood. "From zero to 13, I was raised in this religious environment, "the RHOC star said during a confessional. "My grandmother was the head of the religious cult and my father was one of the main preachers as well." But, that was only the beginning of her concerning past.

Elizabeth Lyn Vargas has been through a lot

Elizabeth Lyn Vargas went on to explain the strange dynamic within the religious environment she was forced to follow. "As a young girl, I knew something was wrong with what was going on in this church," she confessed, via People. "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."

While opening up to housewives Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Kelly Dodd, and Gina Kirschenheiter, Elizabeth became emotional while revealing how she got her family "kicked out of the church" after telling a neighbor about the sexual abuse she was enduring. "I went through a situation as a young girl that no one, no woman, should ever go through — no girl should have to go through," she admitted. "We were in a church environment and all this s— the fan, and I told my neighbor what was happening inside the church and the FBI came to shut the church." After Gina asked if she was molested, Elizabeth said yes before confirming she was assaulted by many men. "I feel like I hurt the family by talking, because I was told by the church, 'Do not repeat what's happening, or you will get kicked out.' ... I just felt guilty," Elizabeth shared. 

Elizabeth's account remains one of the more grim revelations in Housewives history. She has not identified the church by name, per People.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.