"Real Housewives of Dallas" star LeeAnne Locken has had quite the season: From extreme highs (getting engaged!) to extreme lows (contracting a flesh-eating bacteria) and every argument and hot mic moment in between, Locken has truly been through it all this year. And she's ready for a break.
"I'm done. Emotionally, I'm done," she told AOL Entertainment during a recent sit-down. "We've shot the reunion, and everything that's going to happen has happened. I'm sad about some of it -- most of it -- but as far as I'm holding up, I'm Texas Strong. If a flesh-eating bacteria isn't going to take me out, then a freaking reality TV show won't either."
Locken told us that it took over three month to kill the bacteria, which she got towards the end of the cast's trip to Mexico during filming, and that she still has to undergo a second reconstructive surgery as a result.
In addition to fighting a flesh-eating bacteria, the outspoken Texas native was constantly at odds with fellow cast member Cary Deuber this season. Their tense relationship took a shocking turn when Brandi Redmond told Deuber about the rumors Locken repeated to her just before undergoing surgery -- essentially, that Deuber's husband, Mark, had allegedly solicited men at a local gay bar in Dallas. It's a controversial moment that Locken wishes she could take back.
"I regret saying it, completely," she admitted to us. "I regret repeating what people told me, but I will say this: I had taken medication when I left my house. I don't like surgery, and I'm a control freak. You give me pills, and I'm going to fight those drugs and be aggressive. If you look at that boat scene where Brandi says what I said, the look on my face says it all: I don't even remember saying it! I knew I had said it, because I'd been told that information. I did not plan on repeating it, though."
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"There's several other pieces of information in my head that I have not repeated, and that's one of the things that I've truly learned this year: Just because I have the information doesn't mean that I have to say it," she continued.
Though the explosive moment represents perhaps the pinnacle of Deuber and Locken's contentious relationship and potentially a point of no return, Locken recently had an "epiphany" when it comes to their dynamic.
"I had this epiphany at the reunion," she explained. "Everybody knows I'm an alpha. I've found and clawed and that's how I've survived life. Cary wants to be an alpha and, being the older alpha, at some point I need to be able to say, 'You can have this one.' Gracefully and not just handing it to her, but letting her believe that she can be the alpha here. If I did that, maybe she would ease up with me. Because I consistently win when I'm around her, she consistently tries to twist it. She's frustrated."
While not exactly a concession, Locken's revelation when it comes to Deuber is somewhat of a step forward, especially when compared to her relationship with Stephanie Hollman, who Locken says will probably always "hate" her.
"She thinks I'm a three-headed satan," she told us with a laugh. "She believes I'm satan walking the earth, and I'll tell you why: Marie downloaded a bunch of lies into her head, and she is holding onto those. As long as she holds onto what Marie said as truth, it's easy for her to hate me."
As for her broken friendship with Redmond, Locken insists that what they shared heading into the season was a genuine connection, despite Remond's tweet at the beginning of the season that proclaimed they were never friends.
"Right when the season started, she tweeted that we were never friends, and that broke my heart," she told us. "I called the owner of our production company and was like, 'Am I that stupid?' I believed that we were friends!"
Locken told AOL Entertainment that she developed a relationship with Brandi in an effort to "show her what an adult friendship really looks like," alluding to she and Stephanie's friendship, which is often criticized as immature.
At the end of the day, Locken says that it's her commitment to being honest that steers her ship, regardless of what people accuse her of.
"I know it's weird and rare, but I really do believe in honesty," she said. "Why is it so acceptable for us t live in a world where people just twist sh-t and make up stuff? It's not me. I refuse to live in that world. Because I'm this off thumb in this land full of fingers, people are wondering what to do with a thumb."
Speaking of fingers, Locken has been rocking some shiny new bling on her ring finger ever since longtime boyfriend, Rich, proposed to her during a date at the state fair this season. The massive ring featured two hearts ("his heart and my heart!") and still makes Locken emotional for what it represents.
"This was the moment that I've been waiting my whole f--king life for," she told us through tears. "For someone who really loves and accepts me just as I am to say that he wants me."
The night before filming the reunion earlier this month, Rich and LeeAnne laid down next to one another as Rich muttered his lifetime promise to her.
"He told me I could always count on three things," she recounted. "'We're always going to have a home, you're always going to come home to me and I'm always going to love you.'"
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- This article was initially published on AOL.com: 'Real Housewives of Dallas' star LeeAnne Locken regrets hot mic moment, reveals reunion 'epiphany' she had