AceShowbiz - Tamra Judge's ex-husband is seeing the bright side of his health woes. On the same day he made public his stage 3 throat cancer diagnosis, Simon Barney revealed that his situation has given "a new beginning" for him and his family that have been estranged since he and "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star split in 2011.
In an interview with PEOPLE, the 55-year-old spilled that his diagnosis has "really brought everyone closer together." He went on to share his ex-wife's reaction to his shocking news. "When I told Tamra, she said she cried for like, two or three days," he recalled. "Things changed with our relationship from there, in a good way."
Detailing on what positive changes his condition brought to his relationship with Tamra, Simon explained, "We're getting along in ways we haven't in years. And she's become close with my fiancee. And that shift carried across the board with my kids, too."
"That's what I've always wanted," he said. "My fiancee, the same thing, she's always wanted that with my ex-wife, for the kids. The kids would prefer it if we all got along. And they see that now, and it's had such a powerful effect."
Corroborating Simon's account on their improved relationship, Tamra agreed, "Our conversations now are so different than they were before." She added, "Before there was always such hate behind them. Not that we would always say nasty things towards one another, but we both came from a place of hate. And now we're coming from a place of concern."
In the interview, Tamra additionally opened up about her initial reaction to Simon's illness. "Honestly, I've never seen him like that," she shared. "He told me the news and we both literally started crying. I just couldn't believe it. My first thought was, 'I don't want to take my kids to their dad's funeral,' and immediately, any ill feelings between the two of us just vanished."
As for his throat cancer, Simon first noticed symptoms in May 2019. At the time, his salivary glands were swollen on one side. After going through ultrasound and biopsy, it was discovered that he has cancer. He later found out that the cancer has spread into his throat, tonsils and lymph nodes. In January 2020, he began dual treatment of chemotherapy and radiation.
Simon and Tamra got married in 1998. He filed for divorce in 2010 under the reason that she was "verbally abusive and has committed acts of disloyalty and infidelity," and got into a messy custody battle. They shared two daughters, 21-year-old Sidney and 14-year-old Sophia, and a 19-year-old son, Spencer.