Who Are Lauri Peterson's Kids? The 'RHOC' Alum Shared Her Son, Josh Waring, Died at 35

Lauri and her husband, George Peterson, adopted Josh's daughter, Kennady, shortly after her 2012 birth.

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Apr. 9 2024, Published 3:56 p.m. ET

In 2006, Bravo debuted The Real Housewives of Orange County, sparking a franchise and fandom that has been etched in the pop culture zeitgeist for nearly two decades. And while many credit Vicki Gunvalson for her efforts as one of the first Housewives, she made history alongside several other OGs, including Lauri Peterson. Lauri joined RHOC as a divorcee looking to find love again and someone to help raise her family.

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During her time on the show, she got her husband, with fame and fortune to boot. Unfortunately, since exiting RHOC, Lauri has faced a tragedy that hit too close to home.

In April 2024, Lauri shared a heartfelt Instagram tribute to let her fans know her son, Joshua "Josh" Waring, had died at age 35. Those who remembered seeing Josh and Lauri's other kids on TV expressed their condolences on her platform.

Here's what to know about the Bravo alum's family.

(l-r): Ashley Zarlin, George Peterson, and Lauri Peterson
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Who are 'RHOC' alum Lauri Peterson's kids?

Lauri appeared on RHOC from Seasons 1-4 before deciding to step away from the show in 2008. While on Housewives, she introduced viewers to her three kids – Josh, Sophia Waring, and Ashley Zarlin. Her kids are from her past relationships with Howard Zarling and Philip Waring.

In 2012, years after raising her three young kids, Lauri married her third husband, George Peterson, during the RHOC Season 3 finale. She also adopted Josh's daughter, Kennady, who he had with his ex-wife, Hannah, in late 2012, per The Daily Dish. Lauri took Kennady due to Josh's struggles with substance abuse, something she had discussed on and off the show.

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During a 2008 interview with The Orange County Register, Lauri admitted Josh's "escalating drug addictions and legal problems" contributed to her leaving RHOC after Season 4.

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"I needed to really pull back, concentrate on my emotional well-being, and deal with the aftermath of [Josh's] arrest, " she said. "Josh is not a stranger to problems. I truly believe drug addiction is a genetic illness."

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Lauri Peterson said she is "forever grateful" for the support she and Josh Waring received before his death.

Lauri briefly returned to RHOC for another year in Season 8. Although her resurgence didn't last long, she has remained in the Bravo family, appearing at BravoCon 2023 that November. Fans also continued following her and her family on social media and were devastated when Lauri shared her son had lost his battle with substance abuse.

"It is with a shattered heart that I write this post to let you know that my sweet Josh left this earth Easter Sunday," Lauri wrote on April 7, 2024. "No one can ever prepare you for this feeling of such deep loss. Every fiber in my body hurts. Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great. Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great."

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The slideshow, which included older photos of Josh with Lauri or Kennady, further shared how "grateful" Lauri was for the support she received from fans regarding Josh over the years, including the "many parents that have shared their stories over the years with me about the children they have sadly lost due to this illness."

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Lauri said Josh has "gained his freedom" after decades of hardships.

While Lauri didn't dive into Josh's cause of death, TMZ reported it was possibly due to an overdose. In addition to Lauri discussing Josh's struggles on RHOC, he was also in legal trouble before he died. His first arrest came in 2016 when he was charged with three counts of attempted murder and faced a sentence of 65 years to life after shooting a man named Daniel Lopez outside of a sober living home in Costa Mesa, Calif.

According to The Daily Mail, Josh served four years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts, including "assault with firearm and leading police on a chase, two counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, hit-and-run with property damage and battery."

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He later filed a lawsuit in 2019 against Orange County and two OC deputies, stating the deputies set him up, a claim Lauri supported. Josh was also arrested in 2024 — several weeks before he died — on suspicion of punching a security guard in the chest at Chapman Global Medical Center in California.

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Lauri wrote on her Instagram tribute to Josh that, throughout his hardships, he "continued to maintain his sense of humor, continued to be optimistic, continued to be kind to others, defended those that were unable to defend themselves and continued to love his family so so much!" Additionally, she said she took solace in her baby boy finally having peace.

"Josh I love you so much and I will miss you terribly!" Lauri said. "I will forever be your “Mama Bear & Mama Dukes,” and every time the clock turns to 11:11, I will expect your call to tell me to make a wish! What will I wish for now? My heart is with you and I pray you have found the peace that you so deserve. Heaven has gained the coolest angel and you have gained your freedom at last sweet boy. Love always and forever, Mom."

We're sending Lauri and her family our condolences and healing thoughts!

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