After discovering in recent weeks that her husband, Jim Edmonds, sent lewd text messages to another woman and that her 1-year-old son, Hart, has irreversible brain damage, the former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star has dealt with more drama in the public eye than she ever did on reality TV.
“A lot of people tell me I’m strong,” the 34-year-old recently told Page Six. “I don’t want to be strong anymore. But I think it’s possible to be strong and still feel all the feelings of sadness, anger, regret and guilt. Like question everything in the world, but still move forward.”
Jim, 49, declined to comment for this article.
Growing up the oldest of four children in a political family — both her maternal and paternal grandfathers were congressmen in the Missouri House of Representatives — Meghan “always loved going to school every day,” she said. “I was proud of my relationships with my teachers and classmates, and I was proud of being well-rounded.”
At 18, she was accepted into the University of Mississippi to study civil engineering on a partial academic scholarship. But at 5 feet 11 inches with a naturally slim figure, she decided to try professional modeling and took a semester off to work in Milan.
“I hated it,” she said. “It taught me that I wanted to use my brain to make a living and not my looks. Modeling is total objectification — especially back in those days … It felt like all these girls were so desperate to get out of their countries. I had opportunities in the USA, and I could do anything I wanted to without smiling for a camera.”
After only a few months abroad, Meghan returned to the University of Mississippi to complete her degree, this time in marketing. While at school, she fell in love with a classmate named Brad McDill, who was getting his law degree.
“I got married literally the July after I graduated from UMiss,” Meghan said. She was just 22 years old.
“I was too young. I didn’t even know myself,” she explained. “I wanted to be like my parents’ perfect marriage. I just thought I was going to have the same love story, because why not? I’ve done everything else like my parents, so why wouldn’t it work out?”
The couple lived together in St. Louis for a few years, but were legally separated by October 2011 and soon after finalized their divorce after four years of marriage.
At 26, Meghan was divorced and dating again. She’d eventually meet Jim through another man she was dating. “So, I was dating this other guy when I met Jimmy. There was nothing romantic. I was in a full-blown relationship.”
However, once Meghan and her boyfriend split in January 2013, it took Jim only a few months to reach out. “He was waiting in the wings,” she told us. “He said he had to wait for an acceptable amount of time to pass before he asked me out on a date, because he didn’t want to have bad blood in his group of friends.”
Before agreeing to go out with him in April 2013, Meghan had reservations about going out with a former Major League Baseball player who was 15 years her senior, already had four children and was in the process of divorcing his second wife, Allison Jayne Raski.
“I never dated athletes,” Meghan said. “I thought they were too immature and full of themselves. I kept talking to my sister, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I should go. He’s so much older than me, and he has all these kids.’ And [my sister] Julie was like, ‘You’re not going to marry him. Who cares, just go.’”
At the time, Jim was still legally married to Raski, but Meghan believed they’d both moved on. “She was in a full-blown relationship months before Jimmy and I went on our first date,” Meghan said. “That guy, she’s married to right now and they have a baby.”
But while Jim’s ex-wife seemed like a non-issue at the start of their relationship, that soon changed once Raski realized Meghan was a fixture in Jim’s life.
Allison Jayne Raski and Jim EdmondsFacebook
“I honestly could not fathom any relationship with Jimmy’s children or ex-wives as anything but loving because I knew how I love and understand love,” she said. “Now I have since understood that that’s not how everyone operates, and so that has been extremely difficult for me.”
In October 2014, Meghan and Jim were married, but their newlywed life was far from traditional.
Their first year as husband and wife was spent traveling back and forth between St. Louis and Orange County, Calif., where Jim’s two oldest daughters lived. Jim’s first wife, LeAnn Horton, was battling colon cancer, and the couple helped care for Jim’s daughters Lauren and Hayley Edmonds. Hayley eventually moved in with Meghan and Jim in St. Louis for a short time during her junior year of high school.
During one of their trips to the West Coast, Jim’s friends Heather and Terry Dubrow invited the couple to a party that would be featured on the Bravo reality series, “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” which Heather was a part of.
“I was involved in some drama there that I didn’t know I was involved in until I watched the show,” Meghan said. “Next season, they were casting and they just called me to ask if I would be interested.”
“I kept thinking, I don’t have anything to hide,” she said. “If I watch it and think of it as if I’m a character, then maybe I can remove my emotions from it.”
In 2015, Meghan became a full-time cast member during Season 10 of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” She made her mark on viewers by calling out “the OG of the OC” Vicki Gunvalson over allegations that Gunvalson’s then-boyfriend, Brooks Ayers, was faking cancer.
“I was just shocked at how inherently and deeply mean and vindictive people can be,” Meghan said. “It’s sad. I’m talking about Vicki and Kelly [Dodd]. They’re not bad and mean all the time, but when they are, it’s deep.”
Meghan lasted three seasons on the show, and wrote on her blog in January 2018 that filming had taken a “massive emotional toll.” She shared her IVF journey with Bravo’s cameras and revealed she was pregnant with twins.
“Twin pregnancies must be treated more delicately than a singleton pregnancy and are high-risk by default, so I also wanted to have a peaceful pregnancy with positive influences,” she wrote. “Consistent positive influences are harder to find on ‘RHOC’!”
While she might not be an official cast member, Meghan will make some appearances this coming season, notably a lunch with Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge. She isn’t planning on making a full-time return to reality TV given the recent scandal with her husband.
On June 13, Meghan opened her Instagram and found a direct message from a stranger with a link to an All About the Tea story headlined, “Jim Edmonds’ Steamy Affair While Meghan Was Pregnant With Twins EXPOSED — Dck Pics, Threats, Hush Money More!”
At that moment, she felt “totally blindsided — so naked in every way and in the grossest way possible,” she explained.
The article revealed texts between Meghan’s husband and a woman named Jennifer McFelia Villegas, also known as the “baseball madame,” that implied Jim had an affair. The outlet also claimed to have video of the former athlete masturbating.
Meghan was in St. Louis taking care of the couple’s three children — 1-year-old twin sons Hayes and Hart and their 2-year-old sister, Aspen — while Jim was in New York. When she called him about the story’s accusations, he confessed.
“He was so sad and so sorry,” she said. “As time went on, I just figured this would be something that would unravel so much more.”
In a June 14 blog post titled “I’m Sad,” Meghan made her feelings public, writing, “I don’t trust him anymore” but adding, “I have hope our marriage can recover.”
The emotional post garnered lots of attention and hundr of comments.
“That was Jimmy’s idea, actually, for me to write,” Meghan said. “It felt really good. It felt like I had a little bit of power back — for whatever that’s worth.”
Meghan claimed that Villegas said, “I’ll take a lie detector test to prove that we got together.” She recalled thinking, “I know what she looks like, my husband would definitely not hook up with anyone who looks like her just out of his self-respect.”
Despite their conversation, Meghan denied All About That Tea’s claims that she left the mistress a “threatening voicemail” message.
“That’s what piqued my interest in the first place because I was like, ‘Well that’s definitely not me,’ and I definitely haven’t spoken to her ever, so this is happening to somebody else, at least one other person,” she said.
“This woman has gotten thousands and thousands of dollars — it’s her job,” Meghan alleged. “She goes after baseball players, she baits them, and they’re stupid and weak to take the bait, but they do it, sometimes. Once I found that out, it kind of made me feel a little bit better that this wasn’t something that [Jim] sought out.”
In a statement to All About The Tea, she said, “I want to make a few things very clear — I never set anyone up, blackmailed anyone nor have I attempted to ruin anyone’s family. All my relationships have involved two consenting adults. I made a poor decision to enter a relationship with a married man, and for that I am sorry.”
Meghan shared with us a screenshot of a direct message conversation she had with a former professional athlete who alleged that Villegas approached him at a hotel in New Orleans and appeared pregnant at the time.
“She seriously would harass me and call 100 times to where I just turned my phone off,” the MLB player allegedly told Meghan, adding that Villegas would allegedly “threaten” him with “all types of BS.”
The ex-wife of an MLB player also spoke with Page Six exclusively and claimed Villegas first approached her husband when he played in the minor leagues for the Mariners organization in 2011. Villegas allegedly said she worked as a sales rep for Under Armour and could get him and his teammates free gear.
“That seemed to be the opening,” the ex-wife said. “They then got involved with each other until I got this random Facebook message. She told me, ‘We’ve been sleeping together.’”
The ex-wife alleged, “One time when we spoke, she was in Chicago at a White Sox game and name-dropped some other players that she was involved with, so when I connected with Meghan, I said, ‘This isn’t about Jim or my ex-husband — obviously they did something wrong. But the issue is that this woman has a super long history of targeting players.’”
The ex-wife said she never understood why Villegas came forward about the affair, adding that the “baseball madame” seemed to enjoy telling her about it. She could not confirm whether Villegas ever asked her ex for money in exchange for keeping the affair secret.
“I really don’t understand the motivation at all,” she said. “It seems like she was manipulating me and manipulating him.”
“She had a reputation at Kennesaw State,” the source said. “She was banned from the baseball field there when she was around 17 years old for harassing the players. They called her ‘Mama’ because she brought them food, clothes, money, all kinds of stuff.”
A rep for Kennesaw State could not confirm that Villegas harassed the players, telling us in a statement, “We simply have no information that this person was ever a student at KSU or had any affiliation with anyone at KSU.”
“She lied to two of them about being pregnant,” the source claimed. “One she lied to about having a miscarriage.”
“I don’t know what’s happened to Jennifer, but she has gained a lot of weight, so she doesn’t get the attention that she used to get,” said the source, who knows Villegas personally. “She looks horrible, and she’s not getting the money that she used to get from these players, so she’s looking for other ways to get it.”
Meanwhile, she was dealing with personal issues regarding her daughter.
In May 2016, she was accused of reckless conduct for leaving her daughter inside her car while shopping at a supermarket. She plead nolo contendere, which means she did not accept or deny responsibility for the charges but agreed to accept punishment, which included a $500 fine, parenting courses and 400 hours of community service. Villegas also has two DUIs on her record.
In a statement to AllAboutTheTea.com, Villegas addressed her record, saying, “I am no saint. My past includes two DUIs and for that I am deeply remorseful and I’ve learned from my mistakes. My life today is completely devoted to my relationship with God and my daughter.”
Although Jim says he never had sex or physical contact with Villegas, Meghan said the former MLB star did admit to meeting up with Villegas after she allegedly threatened to speak to the National Enquirer in exchange for money.
“If she violated it, she would have to pay him $15,000,” Meghan told us. “He could have done a sting operation on her. That’s what he should have done — got her arrested. But in his guilty mind, he thought he was trying to protect me.”
According to our source close to Villegas, most of the married athletes are “afraid,” and so they try to silence her with “hush money.” Jim was just another to go along with that plan, but was late with a second payment and “that’s why she went public.”
While the allegations against Jim were made public, Meghan was dealing with serious health issues surrounding one of her 1-year-old twins, Hart, while still trying to raise his brother, Hayes, 2-year-old sister Aspen, and stepchildren Landon and Sutton.
She visited a pediatrician, two neurologists, an independent occupational therapist, an independent physical therapist, and an alternative medicine doctor before Hart’s MRI results gave her the confirmation she needed.
“I was in my car leaving my new house that we’re building, and [the doctor] started telling me, ‘He has damage to some white matter in his brain,’” Meghan says. “It was a relief. It was vindication in a weird, twisted way. Vindication I didn’t want, but I knew that I would get.”
Meghan has shut down all of her business ventures for the time being — aside from a few Instagram ads. Her days consist mostly of her caring for her kids and taking Hart to his doctor’s appointments. The pair will soon go to California together for a three-week intensive therapy program.