After revealing on The Real Housewives of Orange County that she tried to take her own life 24 years ago, newlywed Tamra Barney, 45, admits exclusively to In Touch that things were worse than anyone knew: She’s actually attempted suicide twice. “I felt hopeless,” says Tamra, opening up for the first time about her painful past and family history. “I felt like suicide was my only option.”
Doctors prescribed antidepressants after her first suicide attempt at age 21, when she combined pills from her parents’ medicine cabinet with a bottle of NyQuil while in the midst of a painful divorce from Darren Vieth, her husband of four years (and father of her son Ryan, now 24). “It was just a breaking point. I felt like, ‘I can’t live like this anymore,’” Tamra tells In Touch.
Four years later, around the age of 25, Tamra exclusively reveals in this week’s issue of In Touch she tried to take her own life again. “It was exactly the same situation,” she tells the mag, on newsstands now. “I was in another bad relationship. So I took a large amount of prescription painkillers.”
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Reflecting on the terrible fight with her boyfriend of three years that pushed her to the edge, she tells In Touch, “Feeling stuck in that situation caused me to try and do it again. I didn’t know what to do. I thought, 'Okay, this is it. I can’t do this again.'” After surviving her second suicide attempt, Tamra continued taking antidepressants for another decade — but her troubles were far from over. She wed businessman Simon Barney, 49, and had three more kids — but was miserable during their 11- year marriage, which ended last year. “I had extremely bad intestinal problems because I was so unhappy,” admits the former real estate agent.
Besides growing up in an “nonemotional” home, where “it wasn’t just not saying, 'I love you,' but we just didn’t talk about anything,” Tamra says she also believes that heredity played a large role in her mental health. “We have a long line of people who struggled with depression in my family — my grandmother was schizophrenic, and it just kind of trickles down.”
But now Tamra does have someone she can count on: her new husband. Despite her painful journey, she says she wouldn't change a step along the path that led her to Eddie. "I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't learn those lessons," she says. "My life with Eddie is wonderful — he's an amazing man. I'm so thankful that I've finally found my happiness."
For more from Tamra on her castmates’ reactions, her son’s mental health and how she’s bounced back, pick up this week’s issue of In Touch, on newsstands now. Also, don't forget to tune in to The Real Housewives of Orange County every Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.