RHOC’s Noella Bergener confesses she thought her son’s autism diagnosis was a “death sentence” and mourned the “loss of life”

NOELLA Bergener admits her initial response to finding out her son had been diagnosed with autism was wrong.

The Real Housewives of Orange County newbie revealed that when she was first diagnosed, she was “completely devastated.”


Noella and her two-year-old son James Jr.Credit: Instagram
The boy was diagnosed with autism earlier this year.


The boy was diagnosed with autism earlier this year.Credit: Instagram

In an interview with PEOPLE, Noella notes that her “ignorance” of the disease led her to initially believe that autism was a “death sentence” for the boy.

“The word autism sounds like cancer in many ways when you’re a parent,” she told PEOPLE. “It’s just a bad word and it can overwhelm you.”

Two-year-old James Jr. was diagnosed earlier this year after his mother first noticed that the words he had learned were regressing.

At first, the mother of two refused to believe it. She therefore had James reassessed five times before accepting the diagnosis.

“My own personal struggle was my lack of education. I thought it was a death sentence. I mourned the loss of life that I thought my barely 2 year old son was going to have.”

Since her initial diagnosis, Noella has not only come to terms with autism, but has also dedicated herself to learning more to help her son thrive.

“In the past two months I must have been fluent in it and it has been a great trip.” she said.


The Reality Rookie may be new to the Real Housewives franchise, but she’s already stirring the pot on the West Coast.

Last month, Noella filed for divorce from husband James Bergener and seeks legal and physical custody of their two-year-old son, James Jr.

The split comes after he was accused of having “millions in tax debts.”

In court documents initially obtained exclusively by The Sun, Noella said she wanted James to pay spousal support as well as his attorney fees.

In the new petition, Noella noted that she did not know the exact amount of their assets and debts and reserved the right to update this information at a later date.

The couple married in June 2020 and James first filed for divorce from his wife in August in Puerto Rico, as reported by TMZ.

Sources told the outlet that The RHOC star was “blinded” by the case, adding that James is not currently living in the Orange County house they share together.


Noella didn’t make any new friends when her co-worker, Heather Dunbrow, accused her of giving porn to her daughter in the Real Housewives of Orange County season 16 trailer.

The women come face to face at a dinner on Cabo Beach where Heather, 52, tells Noella, “I didn’t want to invite you because you gave my daughter porn as a gift.”

Noella looked panicked when Heather confronted her before looking completely shocked and covering her mouth with her hands.

It’s unclear which Heather’s daughter she’s referring to, but it’s most likely 17-year-old Max who Noella was seen dating in a previous scene.

Noella, 36, approached the teen enthusiastically and said, “Are you Max? Hi Max! I’m bisexual too.”

Noella is ready to take a turn as she enters the new season.


Noella is ready to take a turn as she enters the new season.Credit: Instagram
The Real Housewives of Orange County change teams.


The Real Housewives of Orange County change teams.Credit: Bravo
Noella enters the new freshly divorced season


Noella enters the new freshly divorced seasonCredit: Noëlla Bergener / Instagram
World Autism Awareness Day: Everything You Need To Know

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