Braunwyn Windham-Burke And Daughter Rowan Open Up About Teen’s Near-Fatal Eating Disorder!

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Real Housewives of Orange County alum, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and her daughter, Rowan, opened up about the 19-year-old surviving a  crippling eating disorder, in a recent interview with Page Six. 

“All I wanted as a mom was to fix it. What can I do to fix it? And there was nothing I could do,” the former Bravo star said in the joint interview. 

“Once she hit 18, it was becoming harder. I wanted to fix it. She wanted to be left alone. There was definitely a power struggle, I would say. [She] wanted to do it [her] way, I wanted to do it my way,” Braunwyn said.

Rowan shared that while she initially resisted her mother’s help, she now has a better understanding of her feelings. 

“When you’re a parent and you see a kid who hasn’t eaten for, like, 30 days, is 25 pounds underweight than they should [be], literally on the brink of death, and can’t even eat a single vegetable, that’s scary,” Rowan told the outlet.

Braunwyn and her daughter admitted that they sometimes engaged in explosive verbal fights over food, and referenced one particular exchange that spilled over into social media. Rowan explained that her mom’s plea that she “eat a f—king vegetable,” haunted her into her high school years.  

“It was her first time dealing with this,” explained Rowan. “So, obviously [she] didn’t know how to deal with it; I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Braunwyn became emotional during the conversation about her daughter’s battle with body image. 

“I was so afraid we were going to lose her. She was so close to dying,” the Bravo alum said of the daughter she shares with ex-husband, Sean Burke. 

Braunwyn revealed that the former competitive dancer would skip meals and exercise for four hours day at the height of her illness.  

“I remember begging her to eat this carrot, holding her baby sister who’d just been born, saying, ‘Please eat this for her.’ In her mind, I kicked her out of the house,” Braunwyn recalled.

“In my mind, I sent her [to spend the night away] with Sean because I was so afraid that she wasn’t going to wake up — and I didn’t want her little brothers and sisters to find her [in that state].” 

Rowan Burke

Rowan shared that she believed that she “would have died” if she had not been pushed into treatment, only days later. 

“When you’re in the mindset that I was in, being sent away to treatment is the worst thing that can possibly happen to you,” she explained. “But it was actually something that was completely needed.” 

Rowan lives in West Hollywood and her mother splits her time between Orange County and NYC, where her girlfriend, Victoria Brito, lives. 

Braunwyn Windham-Burke

“I feel like, with everything that you’ve been through and everything that I’ve been through and the amount of self-growth and development that we’ve both been doing, you’re able to understand me a lot more than you ever have,” Rowan said directly to her mother.

“I’m also able to understand you the most, the most out of everybody in the family because we’re the most similar.” 

Braunwyn, who came out as a lesbian during her stint on “Housewives,”  inspired Rowan to come out as pansexual. The unique connection has encouraged Braunwyn to share more about her own past issues with her daughter. 

“Some of [the stories] are about my sexuality. Some of them are about my own battles with food,” she says. “[Rowan] didn’t realize that I had struggled with a lot of the same things that she did. Although I’ve been open about other parts of my personality, like my addiction with alcohol, my relationship with food was actually the one I had the most shame around and I never shared that.”

Rowan shared that while her current relationship with food is always changing, her overall heath is in a much better place. 

“I don’t think that there is a ‘fully recovered’ when it comes to these types of things because it is an everyday battle and struggle,” she said.  

“But I definitely am the best that I have been since it started, 100 percent. I am the best and the healthiest, not just physically but mentally, that I have been since I was 15.”

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