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Kyle Richards: 'It's a Big Price to Pay' Being on Reality Show
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is one of the most talked about reality shows on TV. While the first season focused on Camille Grammer's highly publicized divorce from husband Kelsey Grammer [Frasier], the second season saw Taylor Armstrong struggling to deal with her abusive relationship with late ex-husband Russell Armstrong, who tragically committed suicide in August 2011.
RHOBH star Kyle Richards, 43, has also had her share of drama. Although she has a loving family life with her four daughters and husband Mauricio Umansky, her rollercoaster relationship with sister Kim Richards has captivated viewers since the show's premiere.
Richards, who has written a new book called Life Is Not a Reality Show, talked to Parade.com about the cast's painful second season, her relationship with Kim, and whether she'll return for another season.
On the bond she shares with her castmates.
"It's hard to explain. There was some rumor saying that we weren't really friends and it was all made up, but none of us would ever agree to pretend we were friends. We do spend birthdays and holidays together and go trick-or-treating with our kids on Halloween. We also visit each other's homes without cameras around. Yes, we have fights and disagreements, but we cry and make up just like normal people."
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On the drama-filled three-part reunion.
"It's very difficult, especially when [host] Andy Cohen asks us questions that we don't want to relive. But that's what the reunion is all about. We have to go back over these things. It's very painful at times, but we're expected to be honest. It's hard because we don't want to be, but we can't all just sit there and say 'Everybody looks so beautiful today' and 'How are the kids'?"
On her relationship with her sister Kim, who checked into rehab in December for alcohol addiction.
"I'm very happy to say that my relationship with Kim today is in the best place it's been in many years. We are having fun together and we're able to laugh and just be real sisters again."
On watching their tumultuous relationship play out on the small screen.
"For so long, people didn't know what was going on with her and what her issues were and I was holding everything in. I had a lot of anger for many years towards Kim about her issues. Watching the show, I realized that the way I was interacting with Kim and the way I was dealing with that situation with her wasn't getting me anywhere. Even though the comments I made were hurtful during the Season 1 finale, that's how I was feeling in the back of the limo that night. I was very angry, but I couldn't explain to the world why and how because I didn't want to reveal family secrets. But I sat back and said 'Ok, I can still learn from this.' Obviously, the way I was handling my relationship with Kim wasn't healthy, so there were some changes to be made."
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On returning for a third season.
"Since Bravo has not announced a third season yet, we're all just taking the time to think if it's something we want to do because of what we've all been through. Yes, there are some good things that come with it, but it's a big price to pay being on a show like this. It's something you really have to think long and hard about. I'll have to sit down with my family and make it a family decision. There was more drama than we needed this year."
On the secret to having a long and successful marriage in Beverly Hills.
"Making each other the priority is really the number one thing. My husband and I are so busy right now, but we know when we're getting too wrapped up and need to pull back on the reins and remember our priorities. Mutual respect is an important thing in a relationship. We really make a point of letting each other know how much we love each other and that we appreciate each other."
On growing up in Beverly Hills.
"Because I was a child actress, I had a different experience than most who grew up in Beverly Hills. I was going to the set every day in Simi Valley and riding horses on the set of Little House on the Prairie and catching tadpoles in the stream. It gave me a glimpse into a different world, which I really appreciate now looking back as an adult. In Beverly Hills, everybody is very privileged and has help and drivers, so it was a nice break from that."
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On why she's decided not to have nannies, stylists, or personal chefs (like many of her co-stars).
"I grew up in a town where everyone had so much and we always had nice things, but my mom was one of these women who liked to do everything herself. Even though we had housekeepers, she'd be right there with them and she would always do her own hair and makeup while all the other women were at salons. That was my role model growing up. It was always very important to my mom that we were down to earth. She made us clean our own rooms and wash our own cars. That's how I was raised and that's how I want my daughters to be raised. Plus, I enjoy it. I enjoy being with my kids. I don't want someone else driving my children to school. I want to be there with them in the car having those conversations."
On her famed locks.
"I think brunettes have more fun, what can I say! I know I have fun. As a child, I was a brunette in a sea of blondes in my family, but I've always loved being a brunette. I think people tend to take brunettes more seriously. It's funny how many viewers on the show will tweet me and ask, 'Did you trim your hair?' They don't miss a trick! Eventually, I will cut it. I don't know how short because I'm just not a short hair person. I wouldn't feel like myself."