He said, she said. The Real Housewives of Orange County star Noella Bergener’s divorce from James Bergener quickly turned messy as the former couple hashed out the custody of their son, financial arrangements and more.
Noella and James dated for five years before tying the knot in June 2020. They relocated to Puerto Rico in late 2020, but she returned to California in May 2021 to appear on RHOC. After making guest appearances on the Bravo show during season 15, she became a main cast member for season 16, which premiered in December 2021.
Us Weekly confirmed in August 2021 that Noella filed for legal separation from James in Orange County after one year of marriage, listing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their split. She requested primary and physical custody of their son, James, and monthly spousal support.
However, James’ attorney told Us that he filed for divorce in Puerto Rico in July 2021, and the proceedings were finalized in December 2021.
Amid the legal battle, Noella accused James of abandoning their son, who has autism. “5 months ago my husband and partner of 6 years left the house with his toothbrush leaving behind his life, family and home,” she claimed via Instagram in December 2021. “He ended our marriage with service of divorce papers from Puerto Rico. … To this date James has not visited our son or given me any explanation for his departure.”
She continued: “I realize there are three sides to every story. I have asked him to give an explanation through a 3rd party to provide insight which he has repeatedly declined. Everything I’ve said and am saying are FACTS. Thank you for your continued support and prayers for my family. I don’t wish to encourage James bashing with this post. Just providing insight to the hell I am still in.”
James, for his part, told Us in a statement at the time that he looked “forward to addressing all these false accusations in a courtroom.”
Prior to filing for legal separation, Noella reacted to allegations that James owed the IRS and the State of California approximately $5.8 million. “I was just as shocked and disgusted to find out a week before filming … and not from husband,” she commented on a Real Housewives Instagram fan account in July 2021. “My marriage has been a fight every day since. I am being very open about my journey and looking at every option to settle my husband’s debts.”
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Scroll through the gallery below for everything we know about Noella and James’ divorce and custody battle: