RHOC Alum Lauri Peterson Breaks Hearts With News Her Son Josh, 35, Died On Easter

The following contains references to substance abuse.

On a day that should have been filled with celebration, Lauri Peterson suffered an unimaginable loss. The "Real Housewives of Orange County" alum announced on April 6, 2024, that her son Joshua-Michael Philip Waring died on Easter Sunday, March 31. He was just 35 years old. "No one can ever prepare you for this feeling of such deep loss," she wrote in a heartbreaking announcement on Instagram. "Every fiber of my body hurts." 

Though an official cause of death has not been named, Waring had a known history of substance abuse, and Peterson's post suggested this was a contributing factor. "Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great," she wrote. Peterson's half-sister Ashley Zarlin confirmed as much on her own Instagram account: "On Easter Sunday, I lost my brother to the relentless grip of addiction. It's a disease that distorts and destroys, leaving behind shattered dreams and broken hearts. He was brilliant and had limitless potential, but addiction veered him off course."

Waring is survived by his parents and extended family, including Ashley, half-sister Sophie Waring, and several stepsiblings by Peterson's husband George Peterson. He also has a daughter, Kennady Kadence, from a previous marriage. Now 11, Kennady was adopted by the Petersons as a baby because of her parents' history of legal troubles. 

Josh Waring had a troubled life

Lauri Peterson's son, Josh Waring, grew up with love and wealth, but he also wrestled with anxiety that led him to turn to drugs. As he told the Los Angeles Times, he was drinking and smoking weed from age 12, and by the time his mother landed her iconic show, Waring had moved on to harder substances. Though Peterson starred in some of the most bingeable seasons of the "Real Housewives" franchise, Waring seemed to resent his part in the storyline. "The show took my problems and put a bulls-eye on my back for law enforcement," he said.

Waring racked up a number of drug-related felony and misdemeanor charges over the years and spent four years in jail on charges of attempted murder in relation to a shooting that took place at a house he had recently visited. While behind bars, Waring got clean, and his family and friends tried to help him stay that way. Sadly, the addiction had taken too tight a hold; in 2022, Waring was arrested again for meth and fentanyl possession and sentenced to two years in jail. It has not yet been reported whether he was incarcerated at the time of his death.

Peterson's eulogy emphasized her love for her son, citing his great humor, optimism, athleticism, and sense of justice. "My heart is with you and I pray you have found the peace that you so deserve," she wrote. "Heaven has gained the coolest angel and you have gained your freedom at last sweet boy."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).