Brynn Whitfield spoke candidly about her traumatic childhood on Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of New York City.
While the ladies were sharing breakfast on the last day of their Hamptons trip, they discussed their Thanksgiving plans. Brynn opened up about her troubled upbringing, telling the group that she’s never had “a real family” and would “love an overbearing mother-in-law” or relatives “dropping by unannounced” for the holidays.
She explained, “That’s why I’m friends with all of my exes and their families.”
Brynn explained that she was raised in Indiana by her maternal grandmother, who adopted her and her brothers and sisters. In a confessional interview, the marketing consultant revealed she wasn’t close with the rest of her living relatives and often relied on her previous partners to fill the void of family.
“I so badly want to have a family of my own and traditions and a place to go. So there’s times when I’ll call up some ex and be like, ‘What are you doing?’” she said. “It’s Band-aids. It’s painful. It’s hard.”
After Erin Dana Lichy overheard Brynn telling Jenna Lyons that she didn’t have a “parental figure,” she added in an interview that she’d “always known that Brynn had a really rough history, but I didn’t realize it was this bad. It’s heartbreaking because you could tell that she’s upset about it.”
Sai De Silva felt inspired by Brynn’s candor and decided to organize a “Brynnsgiving” party so her friend wouldn’t be alone for the holiday.
“I was talking to Brynn, and she has absolutely no family around the holidays. And I just felt really bad because I know how that feels. She has no one,” she explained to her husband David. “I just relate to Brynn because I know what it feels like to not have family around. Like, she just reminds me a lot of myself before I got with you.”
Once she got the green light to host the festivities at the house, Sai called Brynn on FaceTime to propose a Thanksgiving celebration where she could be surrounded by her friends.
“That would be so much fun,” Brynn gushed, taken aback by the kind gesture. “I would like that.”
She continued in a confessional, “Sai is absolutely a tough cookie, but I always tell Sai that she has a soft spot for me. I always try to hug her even though she hates hugs. But it’s things like this I’m like, ‘See? You’re a sweet, thoughtful little sweetie pie.’ So it’s nice to not just have a Friendsgiving but one specifically in my honor.”
Later in the episode, the ladies gathered around the table to celebrate and Sai made a point to shout out the guest of honor who got increasingly emotional.
“This is something for Brynn that I wanted to put together because you’ve expressed to us why Thanksgivings and holidays [are tough] and you not having family,” she explained.
After the group asked how she was handling the season, Brynn took a drink and admitted she didn’t want to get emotional about how the holidays have affected her.
Erin noted that Thanksgiving must be particularly tough based on the nature of the holiday. “Yeah, because it’s when you’re supposed to — especially in the U.S. — [be with] family and coming together and everything,” Brynn replied. “It’s not an awesome situation.”
In a confessional, Brynn held back tears as she explained why she was longed for loved ones to share special moments.
“I’m so obsessed and focused on the fact that the two people who were supposed to love me didn’t or couldn’t,” she said.
Brynn finally began to share the details of her upbringing to the rest of the group, explaining that her mother had her and her siblings when she was a teenager.
“She had her own issues and stuff and then my father [was] older,” she said. “The only time that my brother and sister and I lived with my parents was for the first six months of my life.”
She revealed that she and her family lived in “Section 8 housing” and were “poor as f—” with “welfare, food stamps, everything” and her parents eventually got into trouble.
“The bad stuff was super, super f—ed up,” Brynn added, claiming she suffered from “abuse” and “neglect” when she was only 6 months old.
“I wasn’t picked up for six days, or my diaper wasn’t changed,” she said, tears streaming as “To Be Continued” flashed on screen.
‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.