Splitting up with a BYU QB prepared Angie H. to be on ‘Real Housewives of SLC’

Her divorce was pretty high profile in Utah County.

(Bravo) Angie Harrington and Lisa Barlow on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Getting divorced from a Brigham Young University quarterback turned out to be great “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” training for Angie Harrington.

“I’ve learned not to care what people think,” she told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I had a very public divorce in Utah Valley. And my ex-husband was kind of the golden boy of Provo. So that prepared me for reality television.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bret Engeman at a BYU spring football scrimmage in 1999.

Her ex-husband is Bret Engemann, a Timpview High grad who played off and on — occasionally starting — for the Cougars in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

She and Engemann (whose sister, Shawn Southwick, was married for 22 years to CNN host Larry King) met in college, married and had two sons before their split, which was in the glare of a local celebrity spotlight.

“Some people were wonderful. But everyone talked about it,” Harrington said. Going through her divorce from Engemann was “extremely challenging, but it gave me very, very, very thick skin. But it still hurts to be misunderstood and misrepresented. It’s still hard.”

Setting things straight

There are “a lot of things” Harrington “wanted to set straight” about Season 3 of “RHOSLC,” and at the top of the list is the accusation that she and her husband, Chris, bullied Jen Shah and Lisa Barlow. The Harringtons have admitted that Chris operated an Instagram page — @shahexposed — but Angie denies it was about bullying the two Housewives.

(Bravo) Chris Harrington, Angie Harrington, Meredith Marks and Seth Marks on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

“What was said from that account was not bullying. It was just getting another side of the story out,” she insisted. “I totally understand that doing it from a fake account is not the appropriate way to do it. ... It just kind of backfired on us. And it was a mistake and a bad move.”

Was she auditioning for a regular role?

“Yes and no,” said Harrington, denying that she was “super thirsty” to be cast as a regular. She said she left voluntarily after appearing in Season 2 because of her huge blow-up with her now-former friend Lisa Barlow, and wasn’t expecting to return (as a “friend”) in Season 3 — but her new BFF, Heather, convinced her to “give it another shot.”

She said she and Heather “just naturally clicked” and the two of them “clown around, we laugh, we goof off. … We laugh ‘til we cry. ... It is unfortunate what happened with Lisa. I wish her good things. But I gained Heather, and I really love that relationship.”

(Chris Haston | Bravo) Angie Harrington appears as a "friend" on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Angie-vs.-Angie tension

For new viewers, the fact that two of the Season 3 friends are both named Angie can be a bit confusing. It’s why the Housewives refer to them as Angie H. (Harrington) and Angie K. (Katsanevas).

“Well, there’s first-string Angie, and then second-string Angie,” Angie H. said with a laugh. “I don’t have a massive ego. So it doesn’t bother me that much.”

Which is not to say that Angie H. is on good terms with Angie K. “She wasn’t nice to me from the get-go,” Harrington said. “I’d never met her and she immediately came for me.”