The Real Housewives of New York City’s Brynn Whitfield is known for her fun and flirty ways and is usually stirring up the drama, but the marketing communications consultant revealed a more vulnerable side when she recently opened up about her traumatic childhood.

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With the holidays quickly approaching, Brynn’s usually playful demeanor turned serious during a Hamptons girl trip when she shared that traditional family holidays like Thanksgiving can be hard for her.

“I’ve never had, like, a real family,” she confided over breakfast. 

Brynn Whitfield on Her Family

Brynn grew up in Indiana with her brother and sister, but her parents “weren’t really in the picture” and she was raised by her mother’s mother, who legally adopted all three. 

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The unconventional childhood has left the currently single Housewife craving a more traditional family of her own.

“I would love an overbearing mother-in-law,” she said. 

And for the last few years, Brynn has had to soldier on without her beloved grandmother, Darlene. 

She opened up about how hard it was to lose the strong matriarch of her family in a 2021 Instagram post on her first Mother’s Day without her.

“Don’t call your mom today and only chat for a few obligatory minutes. Stay on the phone for as long as you possibly can, maybe even ask her if you can record the conversation. When you talk- Thank her over and over again for being your mom. Tell her you know she did her best, and her best was more than enough- in fact, it was perfect. Thank her for helping you become the person you are today. Tell her that you hope you’re making her proud. Because one day… you will feel how I do today. The day you have to endure your first Mother’s Day without her,” she wrote. “Your first Mother’s Day where you can’t call her, you can’t send her a card, you can’t buy her flowers. And let me to tell you: your heart is going to ache in ways, and in places, and in depths, that you never knew it could.” 

While many of the other Housewives in Season 14, Episode 4, said they were spending Thanksgiving with family, Brynn was headed to London for a week with her ex-fiancé Gideon to escape the American holiday.

“I’m not close with most of my relatives and I so badly want to have a family of my own and traditions and a place to go, so there are times when I’ll call up some ex and be like what are you doing? You know, it’s Band Aids, it’s painful,” she admitted during a confessional. 

Brynn’s struggle was all too real for Sai De Silva, who knows how complicated the holidays can be. 

To ease Brynn’s pain, Sai decided to host a Friendsgiving, appropriately named “Brynnsgiving” in honor of her friend. 

“I just relate to Brynn because I know what it feels like to not have family around,” Sai explained. “It feels lonely, it feels isolating. So I understand why she just gets up and leaves or always wants to go on a trip with a friend.” 

The festive gathering at Sai’s Brooklyn brownstone — complete with a chef and bartender (there was no shortage of food here) — began with Brynn’s playful joking but when they all sat down at the gorgeously tablescaped dining room table, Brynn quickly got emotional. 

“I don’t have like, family,” she said once again. 

Brynn went on to explain that her mom was just a teenager when she had her and her siblings and was ill-equipped to care for them.

“She had her own issues and stuff and then my father, older. The only time that my brother, sister and I lived with my parents was the first six months of my life and we lived in like, you know, section 8 housing,” she said. “It wasn’t a good situation. We were poor as f-ck, welfare, food stamps, everything.” 

According to Brynn, her parents “got into some trouble.” 

“I mean, it was more so my dad doing all that stuff and the bad stuff it was like super, super, f-cked up,” she said.

The heartbreaking details painted the picture of horrific living conditions for Brynn, then just 6 months old, and her siblings.

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“There was, like, abuse and neglect,” an emotional Brynn revealed. “I wasn’t picked up for like six days or my diaper wasn’t changed.” 

Her grandmother, Darlene, quickly stepped in and became the mother figure Brynn needed in her life, but she admitted earlier in the show that growing up as a biracial child in a predominantly white area had its own challenges (Brynn’s mom was white but her dad was Black).

As she told her hairdresser Nadia, her grandmother didn’t know how to take care of Black hair. Fortunately, a close friend at work convinced her to take Brynn to a Black beauty salon and it was the first time Brynn was able to connect with that part of her heritage.

“It was my only exposure to the Black community, to Black women,” she said. “I saw how beautiful Black women were, how strong they were, how funny they were, and doing that literally every weekend for like a decade, like, thank God for it, you know. It was amazing.”

Fans will have to wait until next week to find out just how the rest of the first annual Brynnsgiving plays out, but it’s already clear these ladies know how to show up for a friend in need.