The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Lisa Barlow has spoken exclusively to Digital Spy about how the cast reacted to co-star Jen Shah's arrest.
In March, Shah was charged by US federal authorities with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly taking part in a telemarketing scam taking advantage of the working class and elderly.
Shah maintains her innocence and is set to answer the charges in court later this month. Bravo cameras were actually rolling at the time of her arrest and captured her castmates' reaction to learning the news.
When we spoke to Lisa Barlow about the new season, she admitted the scandal took things a complete turn away from the way she expected Jen's personal story to unfold following an already-chaotic first season.
"The season prior to Jen's situation was a lot [already]," she admitted. "There was already so much going on. I already thought we were showing so much and giving so much. And then when [the arrest] happened… I was shocked.
"For me, after last year… I'm always rooting for Jen. When that happened, I was thinking, I saw a different side of Jen then, I think, viewers saw. The rawness of her. Everyone has a lot of different dimensions inside of them."
She continued: "I full-heartedly [felt] thought this was going to be such a big chance for Jen to show so many different facets of her [in season 2]. What it's like to be Polynesian, the dynamics in her marriage, her family with her children and different levels of friendship and show how friendships shifted.
"So, when that [arrest] happened, I was surprised. It's sad. It's a lot. Jen's situation doesn't change who I am as a person and how I'm going to treat Jen as a friend, but it was a lot. It took me weeks to recover from some of the stuff we had to go through."
Lisa's co-star Heather Gay confirmed on Bravo's Chat Room that investigators questioned the entire cast on the day of Jen's arrest since they were supposed to be going away together on a trip.
Under such stressful conditions, friendships can easily fray — and Lisa says she will make no apologies for how she handled the aftermath of Jen's charges.
"When you're in a situation like that, you don't know how you're going to react," she acknowledged. "I went through a myriad [of emotions]. I can speak for myself… I went through sadness, anger, frustration, more sadness and, then, positivity.
"One never knows how they are going to handle a situation like that, but I went through a myriad of emotions. I'm still going through them, in some capacity, because this is a long battle Jen has to fight.
"I'm definitely not going to apologise for any of the things I felt, said, or went through because those were real and that was what was happening in real-time, and captured. It was a lot.
"Just speaking for myself, we all process things differently. I went through all of those emotions. You always hope for the best, especially for your friends."
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season 2 returns to hayu on September 13 and also airs Bravo in the US each Sunday night at 9pm ET beginning September 12.
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