Tonight, Bravo will wring the last drops of drama out of the epic first season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with a director’s cut of the infamous dinner party. With so much tension lingering at the end of the reunion shows, we wanted to know if the housewives had actually since achieved any closure with each other. So we called Kyle Richards, whose rage increased exponentially as the season progressed (anger at Camille Grammer, her sister Kim, medium Allison DuBois, even that lady who once danced with her husband, Mauricio … ). We reached her on Valentine’s Day, when she was in a good, romantic place, and asked her to reflect on her various feuds, update us on the status of her relations with her fellow Housewives, and give her frank encapsulation of the Bravo experience. And because we knew Vulture’s Real Housewives fans would settle for nothing less, we are running the conversation as a virtually uncut Transcript: No explanation of Camille’s behavior has been left on the cutting-room floor.
So, why do you think you clashed with Camille right off the bat?
It started off-camera. I didn’t know about the personal things she was going through that made her more sensitive. I think she was overly sensitive. I wasn’t aware of what was going on in her life. But we speak different languages.
Do you think you acted insensitively toward her, though?
No, I don’t. I was only asking her normal girl questions: “Is your husband meeting you [in Hawaii]?” I was just making conversation, because I didn’t even know her well yet. I had only met her a couple of times. I was just trying to chat with her and make conversation, and I’m not sure how it happened but it all went wrong and that set the tone for the rest of the season. [Editor’s Note: This is when Richards made the comment that Grammer famously interpreted to be, “Why would anyone be interested in you without Kelsey there?”]
Obviously, Camille was slightly paranoid that you were out to get her.
Right, and I tried telling her. [When she accused me of saying nobody cared about her without Kelsey], I said, “That’s not how I feel, that’s not how other people feel, that’s how you feel.” But that didn’t go over too well either.
You also called her a “fucking liar.”
I can be direct, which is maybe not a good combination with Camille. But [as far as the Hawaii comment], I didn’t think like that. I don’t think most people think like that. Maybe she’s been around people who do think like that. At that point, she was not really sure about her marriage. Maybe she’d dealt with things like that before — with being people more concerned with Kelsey than with her. So I didn’t really know how to tell her that. I wasn’t attacking her. Really!
Do you think she has self-esteem issues?
Yeah. I kept thinking, You have everything. I don’t know why you feel like this.
After that whole thing happened with the Hawaii comment, by the end of the season, it still seemed like you were really passive aggressive toward her.
Every time I tried to fix it, it just became worse. So it definitely became both our faults. We were clearly not friends and I didn’t know where to go with it. She was saying things about me. It snowballed into this ridiculous thing. It never should have happened in the first place. I kept thinking, We’re not going to be like the other shows. We’re not going to clash, we’re not going to have problems. Ha! The next thing you know, it happens. And I was like, “How did this happen!?”
Did you really think you guys would be the one cast who didn’t fight?
I didn’t think we would fight. I said before, I’m a girl’s girl. Contrary to what you see on the show, I really don’t clash with people. Yes, I clash with my sister sometimes. But I thought we’d be great on the show and have fun. Because we all have a lot going on in our lives, we wouldn’t fight. We wouldn’t need that in there. It just naturally happens. You stick six women together and put them in situations where they have to be together and they’re in the same circle, and that’s what happens, I guess.
Why do you think that is?
Well, if I think something looks like a toxic situation, I don’t put myself in that environment. But when you’re filming a show together, you really don’t have a choice, so I guess it’s harder to just bite your tongue and walk away.
At the reunion, you were called a bully. The medium also said that you probably bullied girls in high school. Have you ever been called a bully before?
Oh my God, never in my life, never in my life. I’ve never been a bully, ever. The medium — maybe that’s where Camille got that word from.
What was with that medium? Do you think there was any truth to what the medium said about your marriage?
No. Even Camille will tell you she believes the medium was picking up on Camille. I’d never met that medium before, and I really don’t know why she was so angry. In her defense, the medium — I have done a reading with a friend and they were asking me all these questions that were all about my friend’s life. So, later, watching the show and knowing what we know now, it actually makes sense, she was picking up on Camille’s marriage. Even Camille said she thinks she was picking up on her life.
When you guys left the house that night, Camille made the comment that Mauricio likes a lot of women. Did you confront your husband about it? Do you think he’s ever been unfaithful?
I don’t have to ask that, and that was completely deliberate on Camille’s part. She apologized and even admitted that. I know where my husband is and where he is at all times. I have no questions about my husband. But Camille’s intentions bothered me. She did it on-camera, and I think she did that on purpose so that would be out there. She apologized to me on the phone for that.
By the time the reunion ended, you seemed really angry.
Oh my God, when I was watching the reunion, I kept thinking, I look so angry. We were all so stressed. I didn’t even know that’s what I look like. But you’re incredibly stressed. The anxiety leading up to that day is terrible, because nobody wants to relive these moments. Nobody wants to go back and look at something shot six months ago and talk about it. And yet we’re going to be put in this position where we have to, and it’s very difficult. Watching that day was so uncomfortable. When we watch the show, we’re watching it like you. We didn’t see what the other people were thinking about us and were saying about us at the time. So I was very angry about that comment Camille made about my husband, which I thought was deliberately designed to cast doubts on my husband and my marriage. I knew that was on purpose, and I was very angry about that because we have a great relationship and I thought it was a very mean-girls thing to do. And then we had to talk about all these things, so I was so anxious. I was literally on edge, and I guess that’s what I look like when I’m on edge.
So you don’t think you’re an angry person?
I am not an angry person. Anyone who knows me knows I am not an angry person. I’m a very happy person. Everyone handles stress differently. Later, me and Camille were laughing about it. That look in her eyes, and her chest was all red — that’s how she handled it. Me, I had this look of, like, I was trying to be calm, and it comes off angry. I was angry at times, but I’m not a mean person. But it definitely looked like that. I saw that and even I was surprised by that.
What’s the status of your relationship with Camille now?
Camille and I are actually in a good place. After the reunion, I thought there would be no turning back and we’d never be able to fix our relationship, but we’re actually in a good place now. We were laughing about my face at the reunion and how angry I looked. And she was like, “What about those looks I was throwing you?” So we can laugh about it now. I hope we can stay there, because it feels much better than things being very tense between us.
Are you helping her through her divorce?
I have reached out to her a number of times now that things have calmed down between us. She has been much more receptive. She knows I am here for her and the others girls in the cast as well. When I found out she was getting divorced, I said, “We’re here for you.” I know she’s going to be a single mom. My heart goes out to her.
Did your husband end up losing business as a result of your fight with Camille? Is he still working with Kelsey?
No, he didn’t. They are still working together.
Is there any truth to the rumor that Camille might join the Real Housewives of New York cast?
I think that’s a complete rumor, I can’t see her wanting to move to New York. She wants to be here right now.
How are things with Kim?
Kim and I are good now. It took a while, but we’re happy. That was the worst. We’re in a good place. We’ve put it behind us and we’re moving forward. We had a very rough time though … We didn’t talk for a while. I can’t remember how long, it felt like forever, but it was maybe six weeks. It was after we finished shooting. It was very difficult. We both needed to heal and discuss the things that had happened, off-camera. There were other things that led up to that moment. So it was a very difficult time. And it was difficult having that play out on television, because the viewers don’t judge you by your lifetime of history together. It looks like just a moment.
Are you kinder to her now?
Well I definitely feel that the show has taught me to handle her in a different way. She comes across as very meek and reserved on the show, but she’s really not. She has a very strong personality as well, and you don’t always see that on the show. Well, you didn’t see that on the show. So I think that it’s taught me that what I was doing [with Kim] wasn’t working. Now I don’t try to step in as much, and I let her be who she is. That’s one thing I learned from all this.
How did the rest of your family — Kathy, Paris, Nicky, and Rick — react to you and Kim fighting on the show?
When we first decided to do the show, we were all skeptical, but then we thought, Okay, it’ll be fun. Kathy said, “Don’t use any bad words!” And I was like, “Oops. Did that on the first episode.” But I promised her I was not going to use bad words, that I was not going to be like that. I swore. But obviously … Everybody was excited and they enjoyed watching the show, but of course the final episode was very upsetting for the whole family. That was very difficult for everyone to watch. We’d mended wounds already and moved forward, and then it was like, “Here it comes again, rearing its ugly head.”
Why didn’t they show up for your daughter’s graduation?
You know, I was disappointed that they weren’t there, but what can I say? They had business to do and they had to go. I was disappointed, but I know they were proud of her.
Have you chatted with Paris about dealing with fame?
Yeah, I talk to her about it all the time. She’s obviously gone through all this and she’s become very strong. And she told me people will make things up and they’ll attack you, and it’s very difficult. She’s helped me learn to be a little thicker-skinned. I’ve heard so much about the show, and people have been so kind and it’s really been very touching. But then when I had my argument with my sister, people were very angry about that. And it was so painful to me because I kept thinking — I wanted to call each and every person and be like, “No, let me explain!” But you can’t. It’s painful. I love my sister, and many people think I don’t even care. But what can I do? And then people are nice and supportive again, and it’s just a roller coaster.
Would you do the show again now, knowing how it played out?
Many times, lately, I feel that I wish that I hadn’t gone on the show. There were a lot of fun times, though. My sister and I had a lot of fun together, too, believe it or not. They didn’t show everything. They only show whatever they choose to use, but we had a lot of fun filming. Unfortunately, the way it ended left me with a very sad feeling inside. I think some aspects of the show were really toxic and negative and it’s been very difficult. You bring that home, and then my husband says, “I don’t like to see you feeling down.” So sometimes I wish I really hadn’t done this, and sometimes I just think I’m going through a hard time and I’ll be okay.
You made a comment about Cedric, that you felt like he was just looking for his fifteen minutes of fame. Do you think the women on the show are doing the same thing?
Ummm. Well, yes, I could see that point. But a lot us already had stuff going on in our lives. Cedric wasn’t a cast member, but he really wanted to be. And I could just see that. I’ve seen it before. Growing up in this town and being around my niece, you see a lot of that, and you can spot that a mile away: People who position themselves to be around people whose shadow they can hang out in, and I picked that up with him. My position is that going on this show is not the same thing. I can’t speak for the other women. I know for me, growing up as an actress, I was always comfortable in front of the camera, so it wasn’t about being on television. I’ve been around TV my whole life. I never wanted to do reality, I would rather be acting, but my business has changed so much. It was like, “I’ve been an actress my whole life, things have changed, and the types of roles I was doing … ” So I didn’t really want to do the show, but I went back and forth and decided to give it a shot. It is much more difficult than scripted television. Much more difficult. But it wasn’t about my fifteen minutes. I don’t think anyone in their right mind really sets out for fifteen minutes.
So much of the show is about your wealth. How do you feel about flaunting your money to America when we’re in a recession?
I was very uncomfortable with that. Even though a lot of us have a lot more than other people, we’re all going through a hard time right now. It’s affected all of us. People look at us and think, “Yeah, right,” but it does. My husband and I are grateful for what we have, but we’ve got kids we’re taking care of. I don’t have anyone who’s going to leave me everything one day. My husband’s in real estate, he’s affected by the economy. I felt very uncomfortable talking about how much I spend on things. They ask how much you spend on things, and I would never say. I found that to be in very poor taste. Even though the economy did affect us, I know people are having a hard time putting food on the table. So when I was asked, “How much was this or that,” which you do get asked on the show, I would not answer. They had to find out on their own the cost of my daughter’s birthday party, through the party planner, because I didn’t want to say. Little did I know that I was being cheap compared to Taylor. So when they’d ask about that, I’d say, “I’m not saying, I’m uncomfortable.” But they found out. I’m very uncomfortable with that. I know it’s a part of the show, but it’s uncomfortable. As far as Beverly Hills standards go, I’m pretty low-key. I don’t have the nannies, I’ve never had a baby nurse. I am a hands-on mom. That’s been a lot more challenging since doing the show, because even though it’s a reality show, you’re working like any person on a regular TV show. We’re working full-time. It’s hard to juggle it all.
Do you work?
Other than the show, you mean? This is what I’m talking about — people don’t think that the show is a job! It takes up just as much time as if you were filming a regular TV show. You’re filming every day, and I thought, Three months and then it’s done. But then you’re traveling and you’re doing press. You’re blogging. I did not realize it was going to be so time-consuming.
Is there a line of work you want to break into now? A lot of Housewives write books.
I’ve been approached about a jewelry line. I love jewelry, so that’s something I would like to do. And I’m about to start a handbag line. I really do love handbags. I’m starting a handbag line, handbags that look really cool that won’t cost what people here have to spend on a bag. It’s so ridiculous. It’s crazy what people spend on their handbags here. It’s just getting all started up now. I’m excited.
Do you spend a lot of money on handbags?
I do! It’s crazy. I don’t want to. I want a bag that looks really cool that you don’t have to spend that on. I might not spend as much as some of the others, but I do spend a lot of money on handbags. I love nice things, and if I can, I will buy them. But if I can’t, I’m okay with that, too. When I married my husband he didn’t have any money. And I was fine with that. He didn’t have money when I married him at all. We did this together, and I’m very proud of how far my husband has come. He was the one who always wanted more and more and worked his butt off. I said if he didn’t make a ton of money we could always move to Vail and he could be a ski instructor. He’s a great skier. So if I have it, I’ll spend it. If I don’t, I’m totally fine with that.
Are you going to do a second season?
I don’t know yet, to be honest. Once they announce it, I’ll decide, but I don’t know if I have it in me again. It’s been very emotionally draining. Until they announce it, I’m going to discuss it with my husband and my children and see how they feel, and if they’re on board, and I think I can handle it again, then yes I would. But if it’s brought about too much drama and problems in our lives, then we’ll probably just leave this behind us and move on.
Is there something you’d like to see change if you agreed to a second season?
I think it would great if it was a more diverse cast. I don’t know why it’s not like that. I think that would be great.
So Taylor, apparently, lied about her name, and lied about Adrienne being her daughter’s godmother.
I didn’t know Taylor before the show. I know she said her name was Shanna, so I’m confused about her name. Maybe Taylor is her last name? I’m not sure why she changed her name. And with the godmother situation, I guess they discussed that off-camera. I think she told me they discussed it before the reunion and she asked, but Adrienne thought it would be better if it was a family member.
Is Taylor a pathological liar?
Not that I’ve seen? I don’t know. We’re friends. I mean, we’re not best friends. I think our relationship was made to seem bigger on the show. I’m friendly with her. We got to know each other during filming. She was always very nice to me.
I’ve also heard you’re friends with Bethenny Frankel.
I’ve been friends with Bethenny for twenty years. She worked at a restaurant in Beverly Hills and my family’s been going there for my entire life. She came up and introduced herself and sat in my booth and I found out she was dating my ex-boyfriend. But we hit it off right away.
Did she encourage you to go on Bravo?
I didn’t tell her about it until later because I wasn’t allowed to discuss it. I always wanted her to be the first one I told, but I was waiting to be allowed to talk, and then unfortunately someone leaked it before I was able to tell her. She kind of warned me. She said it’s challenging. She gave me a heads-up, but it was too late then. I reached out to her now, and I talked to her about it. People can say one hundred nice things and then one mean thing is like a knife through my heart. So she said, “Let it go. You know who you are, your friends and your family know who you are.” And I’m getting there. She’s given me good advice.
You said we didn’t see all of your sister’s personality on the show. Is that because she has a drinking problem?
I don’t want to discuss that. Sorry. I feel like those questions are for her, and I can’t speak for her. People ask me so many questions about her, but I really want her to answer those herself.
Is it true Lisa and her husband only have sex twice a year?
I’m not there to witness it, but I know that’s not true. That is a joke. But it’s Valentine’s Day! Big day for them.
Okay, so how is your hair so incredibly shiny? It’s ethereal.
I’m very neurotic about taking care of my hair, like some women are about dieting or their skin. It’s not fancy, I’m just really careful about brushing it, and I don’t color it or put product in it because it takes away the shine. I honestly just use Pantene and conditioner. I have naturally straight hair, so I don’t use flatirons. Every now and then I do now, but seldomly. And I trim it every six weeks. I always tell my daughters, “Brush slowly from the bottom up.”