Photo Credit: Adam Olszewski/Bravo
When Kyle Richards first signed up to be on Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, she thought the ladies were "going to avoid all that drama," she tells iVillage exclusively. Little did Richards, 41, know that between her constant fighting with older sister Kim Richards and her seemingly neverending feud with Kelsey Grammer's soon-to-be ex-wife, Camille, she's actually the center of the show's drama.
iVillage spoke with the mother of four (to daughters Farrah, 21, Alexia, 14, Sophia, 10, and Portia, 2) about her small-screen battles, her hunky husband Mauricio's inappropriate fans and the advice her niece Paris Hilton gave her about being on a reality show.
How has the show affected your relationship with your sister Kim?
We don't always see eye to eye. I thought it would be easier to hide it. But I am someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and it's hard for me to lie. What I think or feel, I end up having to say.
Some people have the perception that you're mean to her.
It does make me feel bad. You're seeing a relationship that's many, many years in the making. You have no idea of the back story or history or anything. It's hard, because you want to defend yourself. But it's been a learning process, too. I need to learn how to handle myself better with her. Easier said than done. I want to say, "Wait -- you don't know how she acts toward me." You haven't seen that yet!
Previews for the rest of the season show you and Kim getting into a huge fight in a limo.
I can't go into details, but that was the worst part of doing the show. That was so miserable. Any kind of personal family thing to have out there is very upsetting. You say things, you do things that you wish you hadn't that you try to take back. Don't think I didn't try. I begged and begged.
You and Camille have had your share of battles.
With Camille, that totally came out of left field. I didn't know her well. She and Kelsey (Grammer) are clients of my husband's and that's how we knew each other. I didn't know her on a close level. I was really surprised by that.
What's your relationship like with her now?
It's awkward, I'm not going to lie. Our conflict started off camera and then every time we tried to address it or fix it, which was on camera, it just got worse. And I think I came to a place where I thought, "I'm not meant to be friends with everybody and I'm going to accept that." We're together doing photo shoots for work and doing business things and it's awkward.
TMZ recently posted a photo of you in a dress and heels taking out your trash. Are you always dressed that well around the house?
Never! That's embarrassing! Actually, no, that's not true. I was going to Fashion's Night Out, that's why I was dressed like that. Normally I'd be in my UGG slippers and flannel pajamas that I wear even in the summer.
Your niece, Paris Hilton, seems to be really supportive of you and Kim.
She's so supportive. She loves the show and it's so cute. I think it's so sweet that she loves the show so much. She has parties every Thursday at her house and has everyone over to watch and has dinner.
Did she give you any advice about being on a reality show?
I went to her and said, "I'm having such bad anxiety. I don't want any conflict with anyone and all of a sudden I'm having conflict with the cameras there." She said, "Look, this is supposed to be a fun time in your life. You can't stress out about every little thing. Just go with it and have fun. People will say bad things about you even if you don't do anything wrong. Just enjoy yourself."
And you're friends with Bethenny Frankel. Did she give you any tips for surviving Housewives?
Once we were already involved in the show and I had my conflict with Camille, I actually called her. And I just said, "I'm so stressed out. I don't know how you did this. This is so upsetting, having problems with someone like this and having cameras there. I get so upset and worked up. Oh my god, what do I do?" So I kept her on the phone for about an hour and a half having her talk me off the ledge!
Your husband Mauricio won the hottest husband poll on Watch What Happens Live. Has he gotten a lot of female fans since the show started?
How funny is that? My daughters were very amused by that. He has gotten female fans and the strangest emails. I cannot believe how graphic these women are. I have not gotten any emails like that from men! I said it on the show -- women are barracudas. Men don't act like that! Very X-rated photos coming in. My husband is horrified. I couldn't believe it! I get nothing like that. I'm very insulted!
How do your daughters feel about you being on the show?
They're so funny. They don't care either way. They can't understand when we're out and people come up and want to take a picture. They have this look like, "Why would anyone want to take a picture with you?" It's pretty funny.
Lastly, are you surprised at all by all the attention your hair has gotten? How do you get it to look so perfect?
Yeah, I am surprised. I thought people would be saying, "Her hair's too long for her age!" I'm just happy they're not saying I'm too old for it. I might as well keep it while I can. It's not just about the product that you use, though I use Patene. I'm very neurotic about taking care of my hair. I'm like this with my kids too. When I brush it I'm always like, "Do not snag!" Even if I go to the salon, I don't let people brush my hair.
Whose side are you on with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills drama -- Kyle or Camille? Chime in below!