“I never told a soul. Not a single soul,” the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star, 48, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Tuesday, February 7, release of her memoir, Bad Mormon. “That’ll be a complete shock to [my family]. But it’ll probably be par for the course, because we really believe that if you do not follow all of the rules, your life will fall apart and you have no promise.”
In her book, the Beauty Lab + Laser founder revealed that she was arrested in 2012 after celebrating a friend’s birthday. At the time, she was going through her divorce from ex-husband Billy Gay, with whom she shares daughters Ashley, Georgia and Annabelle.
“At the club, I never even ordered a single drink,” she wrote. “I was naive and I was numbing out, which turned out to be a dangerous, and, in my case, criminal, combination.”
On the way home, she was pulled over and charged with DUI, though the charge was later reduced to reckless driving. “It felt like a horrible black mark on my soul,” Heather continued. “Maybe I truly was a bad seed. I didn’t want to do terrible things, but here I was. I wanted to repent of it immediately.”
During the RHOSLC season 2 reunion in early 2022, Lisa Barlow asked her costar about “your DUI” amid a discussion of the “dirt” the women had on each other, but Heather denied having one on her record. “I don’t have one,” the esthetician said at the time, seemingly referring to the fact that the charge was reduced. “Look it up!”
Aside from the brief mention on RHOSLC, Heather had never spoken about the incident to anyone except her bishop at church — not even her relatives. The Bravo personality doesn’t know if her family has or will read her book, but she assumes they haven’t.
“They have not acknowledged the book even exists, nor do they really acknowledge that the show even exists — or anything that has taken me away from this life as a devout Mormon,” she explained to Us. “So, I’m sure the fallout will be even more intense than what it is now.”
Heather has been estranged from several of her family members since stepping back from the church, which is officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her book recounts her time in the religion from childhood through her adult years, when she realized that some of the church’s teachings no longer fit her life.
“It was a slow bleed,” Heather told Us of deciding to step back from Mormonism. “I didn’t have a way to adequately explain to my children why we are choosing to dedicate our lives to an institution that did not hold our same values and dancing around it. When your kids come of age and they start asking questions and they start wanting to step outside the box, I had two choices as a mom: to either clamp down and toe the line or really examine it honestly. And Housewives gave me a platform to talk about it, but really that process had been happening for years, probably since I was a little girl.”
The Ultimate Girls Trip star hopes the book helps fans in similar situations “feel seen” as they read. “It’s like the first time the Mormon insiders told the story,” Heather explained. “And I think there’s something to be said for that.”
Bad Mormon is available now.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi