June 16, 2021 | 11:57am

Heather Dubrow didn’t initially take her return to “The Real Housewives of Orange County” seriously.

The actress and reality star, 52, admitted on Wednesday’s episode of her PodcastOne show, “Heather Dubrow’s World,” that she had laughed off the Bravo series’ producers’ first call to gauge her interest in joining the upcoming 16th season.

“Well, what was funny was — so, production called me, like, I don’t know, December or something like that, and I laughed,” she told Andy Cohen on the podcast. “My first reaction was like, I kind of laughed. And then I thought about it.”

Dubrow previously held an orange for Seasons 7 (2012) through 11 (2016) and left as the show’s fights became more intense.

The news of her return comes as Kelly Dodd, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas and Braunwyn Windham-Burke exit the show.

As “Housewives” fans know, Dodd, 45, and Dubrow, 52, did not get along and even got into an explosive argument during Meghan King Edmonds’ sushi dinner in Season 11.

Dubrow may have factored the casting shakeup into her decision, as she explained on her podcast that she took the time to evaluate how she, her family and the culture of “RHOC” had changed before finally deciding to return.

The mom of four added that she was looking forward to showcasing her family and noted that they were also a factor in her decision, saying, “When I sort of came to the realization that, ‘Wait a minute. This might be like that space-time continuum moment where it’s, like, a good idea to go back,’ we sat down and had a family meeting about it. We had a serious talk about it.”

Dubrow said that her entire family — including her husband, “Botched” doctor Terry Dubrow, their son, Nicholas, 17, and their daughters Max, 17, Katarina, 14, and Collette, 9 — were all immediately on board despite her attempts to scare them away.

“I was negative,” she admitted, explaining that she wanted to make the experience seem worse than it would be for them. “I was like, ‘Guys, you’re on social media now. You do this. You do that. People will comment,’ and they were cool.”

Heather also confessed that she has not kept up with “RHOC” since she left and doesn’t plan to watch past episodes to ensure that she has a fresh outlook when she begins to film.

It is unclear when Season 16 will start production, but fans — and Cohen — are already excited for Heather.

He affirmed, “I think with you coming back, that’s a great way to keep it fresh but also keep it familiar in a really positive way.”