‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ star grounded in her local roots

Heather Gibson of the Triple Moon Coffee Company poses with Emily Simpson, right, of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” reality show recently at the Triple Moon Coffee Company. A native of Madison Twp., Simpson returns to the area to visit friends and family. ED RICHTER/STAFF
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Heather Gibson of the Triple Moon Coffee Company poses with Emily Simpson, right, of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” reality show recently at the Triple Moon Coffee Company. A native of Madison Twp., Simpson returns to the area to visit friends and family. ED RICHTER/STAFF

She may be one of the “Real Housewives of Orange County,” but Emily Simpson continues to stay grounded in her deep Midwestern and Middletown roots and values by returning to the area periodically to visit family and friends and to simply relax.

“I feel more like myself here when I hang out with family and get away from all of the Orange County hype.

Simpson, a graduate of Madison High School and Miami University, recently returned to the area for a few weeks and brought her twin sons, Keller and Luke, both 3, with her to see southwest Ohio for the first time. In the past few years, she has visited family and friends here with her daughter Annabelle, 5. Her sister Sara lives in Waynesville and was the surrogate mother for her children.

“I wanted to bring them home to learn more about my growing up years,” she said. “I want them to know my roots and that there’s a whole different lifestyle outside of Orange County.”

Those roots include the fact that her family are descendants of Middletown founder Daniel Doty.

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A few weeks ago, Simpson stopped in at the Triple Moon Coffee Co. in downtown Middletown with her children and her mother, Carolyn Patrick, to get a quick bite to eat.

Fans of the show asked for photos with her as they were running errands, shopping at Target and a stop for coffee and lunch at the Triple Moon. Simpson said she stops by the downtown restaurant as well as Murphy’s Landing when she is in town.

One of those seeking a photo with her was owner Heather Gibson. The Triple Moon Coffee Co. has been a place to catch a glimpse of celebrities as famed director Ron Howard recently stopped by the restaurant while scouting locations for the film version of the best-selling book, “Hillbilly Elegy.” Gibson said she was going to add her photo with Simpson to her newly started wall of fame that includes the photo with her and Howard.

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“I’m a country girl,” Simpson said. “I used to run around barefoot, riding horses bareback, catching frogs and raising tadpoles in a goldfish bowl in the living room.”

She said growing up in Madison Twp. with her mother and sister made them a close-knit family which is also a major part of country living.

“I’ve always felt this was a safe area,” Simpson said. “I remember being able not to lock the doors at night.”

Simpson said she always saw herself living elsewhere, somewhere warm.

“When the opportunity to live in California came, I jumped on it,” she said.

She said it was “shocking and sad” to see the negative drug epidemic stories about Middletown that made the national media. However, she is happy to see that the city is coming back and loves what has been done in the downtown area in the past few years.

Simpson, who is also a practicing attorney in California, has been on the show for the past year. She said being selected for a part in the show was “a grueling process” competing against thousands of women through multiple rounds. She said she did not make the cut the first time around in 2017 but was selected in January 2018, on her birthday.

“I like being a Midwestern girl living in Orange County and just five minutes from Laguna Beach,” she said. “But I feel I’m not jaded by the opulence of Orange County because I am a Midwestern girl and I’ve retained my Midwest values.”

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