Even the sudden hospitalization of cast member VICKI GUNVALSON could not halt the backbiting and brawling on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Especially with frenemy GRETCHEN ROSSI!

Just days after filing for divorce from her husband of 16 years, Vicki landed in the hospital Oct. 28 with internal bleeding – and fellow housewife Gretchen Rossi accused her of staging her medical crisis as "a publicity stunt," said an insider.

But Vicki told The ENQUIRER that her health problems are real: "I was supposed to be at another event with the other housewives, but instead I ended up in the emergency room.

"My daughter Briana, who is a nurse, took me to the hospital, where I had minor surgery to correct the problem.
"I was diagnosed with diverticulosis and bleeding ulcers in the colon. I was released from the hospital the next day and was told to go home and rest."

The health scare struck when the Orange County gals were taping a launch party for fellow housewife Alexis Bellino‘s dress collection.

"Gretchen told me, ‘I find it interesting Vicki had to go to the hospital now.’ Gretchen thought that Vicki was trying to undermine Alexis and take back the title of top drama queen on the show."

Vicki, who heard about Gretchen’s comments, told The ENQUIRER: "I have no clue if, in fact, Gretchen doubted I was really sick. Rumor had it she and a few others thought the timing was questionable."

Even before Vicki’s hospitalization, there’s been no love lost between the two women.

"Gretchen’s boyfriend Slade Smiley often refers to Vicki as ‘Icky Vicki’ behind her back," said the insider.

Surprisingly, Gretchen and Slade, perhaps out for publicity, went to see Vicki with flowers in hand, but were turned away by staff.

"I’m surprised they didn’t call the media to film them at the hospital delivering the flowers," scoffed the insider.