After a grisly season — marred especially by the death of her mother, Lois — Lisa Rinna will not be returning to “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” People magazine broke the news, and Variety has confirmed her exit with Rinna’s publicist.
In a statement, Rinna said: “This is the longest job I have held in my 35 year career and I am grateful to everyone at Bravo and all those involved in the series. It has been a fun 8-year run and I am excited for what is to come!”
Rinna joined “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in 2014 for its fifth season, and quickly became known for her constitutional gifts for pot-stirring. In her freshman season, during a cast trip to Amsterdam, Rinna conjured one of the most famous fights in “Real Housewives” history after she prodded fellow cast member Kim Richards about her alcoholism. Richards then made insinuations about Rinna’s husband Harry Hamlin, which prompted Rinna to reach across the table as if to strangle Richards, and then she threateningly smashed a wine glass in Richards’ direction.(Yolanda Hadid had to step in to control Rinna.)
In Season 6, Rinna then turned on Hadid, questioning the severity of Yolanda’s Lyme disease, and alleging she may have Munchausen instead: It was a plotline that hijacked the entire season. (In Dave Quinn’s 2021 oral history of “The Real Housewives” franchise, “Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It,” Rinna claimed that Lisa Vanderpump had been behind the Munchausen theory, which Vanderpump has denied.)
In other words, for her eight seasons on the Bravo show, Rinna was central to its drama. She also managed to thrust her family — especially her daughters, Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray, for whom she manufactured modeling/influencer careers — into the spotlight, no matter how averse Hamlin (whom Rinna always called “Harry Hamlin”) was to get into the show’s messiness. And though Rinna could be a divisive presence, her self-deprecation and determination to cop to bad behavior — or to “just own it,” as she’d frequently say — would often win fans back.
Yet in the past few seasons, the balance seemed to tip for Rinna, and that ineffable thing that sometimes happens with “Housewives” infected her: Her antics went from charming to sour. In Season 10, Rinna turned on her longtime friend Denise Richards, who had joined the cast during the previous season, and she grilled Richards on camera about her perceived hypocrisy about not wanting to discuss threesomes in front of Richards’ daughter Lola, as well as about an alleged one-night-stand former “RHOBH” cast member Brandi Glanville claimed to have had with the “Wild Things” star. (Richards would later quit the show.)
While Season 11 was a fallow period for Rinna — she was actually criticized for being too mellow — the recently concluded 12th season was catastrophic for her. Shortly after production began in October 2021, her beloved mother, Lois Rinna, who’d appeared frequently on the show, died after a stroke at the age of 93. In grief, Rinna seemed to spiral, and frequently took out her anger on cast member Sutton Stracke, whom she perceived to be the weakest member of the group. Yet Rinna’s lashings-out weren’t fun or entertaining “Real Housewives” fodder; instead, they came across as ungenerous and desperate.
The bearer of Rinna’s death knell, however, came in the form of Kathy Hilton. During a trip to Aspen, when Hilton was already in a rage about a tequila brand she’s invested in being snubbed — by Rinna especially, who’d made a point to order her “friend” Kendall Jenner’s 818 tequila at a bar — events took place off-camera that up-ended the entire cast dynamic. All we know for sure is that after a night at a club without cameras, Rinna and Hilton went home together in a sprinter van, and that Hilton was in a bad mood. These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed.
From there, the accounts diverge. According to Rinna, Hilton verbally decimated the whole cast, member by member, with her ire especially directed at her own sister, OG cast member Kyle Richards. Yet Rinna was unable to provide a single receipt for this alleged outburst: If there were cameras anywhere — in the sprinter van home, in Richards’ Aspen house — or a voice memo that Rinna could have recorded, we didn’t see or hear them. The audience was instead asked to rely on Rinna’s word, and to fans, trusting her after all these years may have been a bridge too far.
Back in Los Angeles, during a scene at Richards’ house with Hilton and Rinna, Hilton apologized for her behavior: But only to a point. When Rinna revealed signs of not being able to let it go, and said among other things that Hilton has a “black heart,” Hilton turned to ice, and refused to engage further. At a party during the show’s season finale, Rinna ceaselessly repeated how “shook” she’d been by Hilton’s behavior, and when Richards begged her to stop talking about it, Rinna said she had to tell her truth — or she’d get sick with cancer.
Those kinds of comments endeared Rinna to no one. But during Season 12, it wasn’t only on television where she flailed. Even before the premiere, Rinna began taking shots at Hilton, and throughout the season, her Instagram stories were the social media equivalent of a dumpster fire GIF. And beyond her feud with Hilton, she criticized “RHOBH’s” Garcelle Beauvais, which led to her having a racially charged feud with Caroline Brooks of “The Real Housewives of Dubai”: Rinna lost that fight decisively. It got so bad that in one of the reunion episodes of “RHOBH,” moderator and “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen called Rinna’s social media “disastrous,” to which she snapped, “Put me on pause!”
She has gotten that wish.
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