Learning and growing. Dr. Jen Armstrong and her husband, Ryne Holliday, have had some ups and downs during season 16 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, but they’re working on their romance.
“We separated for a while and lived life without each other,” the Bravo personality, 42, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, February 9. “And I think that made us have more of an appreciation for who the other person was and have a different outlook on getting back together and putting in the work to stay together.”
The aesthetic doctor said that she and her spouse were only separated for about one month after filming for season 16 ended, but the time apart helped the duo realize how much they loved each other.
“Ryan and I are much better now,” the reality star explained. “It got worse and then I turned a corner and came back around. It got better.”
Though the Armstrong MD founder is happy that being on the show with the travel specialist eventually strengthened her marriage, she still doesn’t love the fact that viewers get such an intimate glimpse of her personal life.
“I don’t really like it,” Jen confessed to Us. “We’ve had a challenging relationship and people can be very judgmental. A lot of people have reached out and said, ‘Oh, you deserve better. How do you let him treat you that way?’ But they’re not in the day to day. They don’t know the history.”
The physician noted that she thought of some of Ryne’s behavior throughout the season was “pretty embarrassing,” but she still wanted to defend him from fans who don’t see all sides of him. “At the same time, I can see there are definitely time periods of our life where I would like to have him be more supportive,” she added.
During the Wednesday episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Jen revealed that her husband doesn’t watch RHOC, but she thinks he’s “generally proud” of her career achievements — though he might want a little more praise for himself. “I think he has a hard time not being recognized for his accomplishments with the children,” she explained.
The couple share three children: twins Vince and Valor, 9, and daughter Cece, 6. While RHOC has exposed some of the cracks in Jen and Ryne’s foundation, the skincare specialist is ready to move forward.
“I would say that the show put a magnifying glass on what was going on in our marriage that we had ignored for so many years when both of us were not happy,” Jen told Us on Wednesday. “You’re forced to either come together or walk away. And so we walked away and then came together. We did both.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi