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RHOC’s Emily Simpson and Gina Kirschenheiter Hope Shannon Beador Returns to Show After DUI Arrest (Exclusive)

The Real Housewives of Orange County stars Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson are doing their best to support Shannon Beador after her DUI arrest.

“Emily had texted with her a bit before we got here. I hadn’t spoken to her, but then I was nervous about coming here with her and I was really nervous for our panel,” Gina, 39, exclusively told Us Weekly at BravoCon on Saturday, November 4. “So, I pulled her aside before our panel and I just wanted to reassure her that I wasn’t here to make anything worse for her.”

Gina has had her own ups and downs with Shannon, 59, but she said she didn’t want “to go backwards” with her costar during the three-day fan convention in Las Vegas.

“I don’t want to make anything bad for her,” Gina added. “She made it bad enough for herself, so … [I said], ‘I’m just here to support you and stay out of trouble.’ So, that made me feel better that I just said that.”

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Emily Simpson and Gina Kirschenheiter. Chelsea Guglielmino/Bravo

Gina went on to note that she thinks Shannon was “receptive” to her message, telling Us: “She’s been really kind to me, and I’ve been really kind to her. And I think we’re tabling everything. We’re not getting into anything deep. Maybe at one point we will have a conversation about how this all unfolded and went down, but for now, we’re both really being kind to each other, and I think that that’s good enough for right now.”

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Shannon was arrested in September on suspicion of DUI after driving her car onto a residential property in Newport Beach, California. One month later, the Orange County District Attorney charged her with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol and a second count of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level higher than .08 percent. (Shannon reportedly blew a .24 percent at the time she was booked.)

Earlier this month, Shannon was sentenced to three years of informal probation. She must also pay various fines, complete 40 hours of community service and finish a nine-month alcohol program.

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Shannon Beador. Rich Polk/Bravo

It remains to be seen whether Shannon will return for season 18 of RHOC, but both Gina and Emily, 47, just want her to make the decision that feels healthiest for her.

“I think she needs to do whatever is in her best interest,” Emily told Us on Saturday. “Honestly, if Shannon wasn’t filming, I don’t know if it would make it worse, because she might feel like she lost something, you know what I mean? I just think she needs to figure out whatever’s best for her and whatever is best for her to move forward and be healthy. So, whatever that looks like for her, I support.”

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Gina, meanwhile, is hopeful that Shannon won’t be afraid to discuss her struggles when the show returns. “It’s all out there, and hopefully then she just lets the guard down,” Gina told Us. “She had a lot to guard, and now it’s all been exposed, so maybe that’ll be a release for her and she’ll be able to just be authentically herself again. And it could be a really good thing.”

Gina, who’s been open about her own struggles with alcohol, thinks Shannon’s story “could be a good thing” for viewers. “I know that in my journey, I have so many people who have told me that they admire the journey that I’ve been through,” she explained. “It’s helped them get to a better place, and she has that opportunity to be that person too.”

Bravo has yet to announce any casting decisions for season 18 of RHOC. Season 17 also starred Tamra Judge, Jennifer Pedranti, Heather Dubrow and Taylor Armstrong.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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