Not only is she the longest-serving veteran of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after starring in all 12 seasons, Kyle Richards reckons she’s “the only Irish Housewife” in the entire franchise.
“I did this DNA genealogy study [into my family background] and always knew my mom was Irish, all her family is all from Ireland. But I thought my dad was Welsh and turns out, he’s from a completely Irish background too so I’m an all-Irish girl, and the only Irish Housewife.”
Proud as she is of the title, Kyle admits it may be time to draft in some born and bred Celtic blood into the hugely successful reality series and reckons former Beverly Hills resident Claudine Keane would make the perfect addition.
The mum-of-two — who lived in Los Angeles while footballer husband Robbie Keane played for US side LA Galaxy — is close pals with Richards’ Housewives co-star Dorit Kemsley. Eagle-eyed fans have previously spotted the Irish power couple mingling with the Housewives cast during bashes thrown by Kemsley, which featured on the show.
“The producers like it to be a genuine friendship so Claudine would be an amazing Housewife. She’s close with Dorit, certainly has the lifestyle and is beautiful, for sure,” reckons Kyle.
Though the Keanes relocated back to their native Dublin last year, the reality TV queen says she’ll lure the couple back to Hollywood with the lucrative offer when she finally visits Irish shores.
Incidentally, Kyle was set to jet to Ireland with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hillsin 2016. The trip was intended to appear on the show as the annual girls’ trip abroad but last-minute scheduling meant she and her castmates had to pull out, allowing the Real Housewives of Orange County to snap up the holiday instead, with luxury stays at Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry and boozy nights out in Temple Bar.
“That was supposed to be our trip,” she cries. “I’m the Irish one, I wanted to trace my roots and something changed and we couldn’t go but production had already cleared all these different places in Dublin and Wicklow for us to film at and OC[Housewives] ended up taking my trip.”
A former child actor who starred in Little House on the Prairie and iconic chiller, Halloween, the 53-year-old has long been a fan-favourite since the Bravo reality show first aired in 2010.
Part of the phenomenally successful Real Housewives machine, which boasts series based in New York, Orange County, Atlanta and New Jersey to name a few, Beverly Hills became an overnight smash during its first season and has since become the highest-rated series in the franchise.
Along with original castmates including charismatic restauranteur Lisa Vanderpump and Camille Grammer — formerly married to Frasier star Kelsey Grammer -— fans were hooked on the mum-of-four’s champagne lifestyle featuring decadent parties, ostentatious mansions, and outrageous bust-ups.
“Before I started the show, the producers wanted to build a group around me so I was introducing people that I knew,” she tells Magazine+, during a whistle-stop visit to London. “There were clients of my husband’s [real estate magnate Mauricio Umansky] like Lisa Vanderpump and Camille Grammar, and Adrienne Maloof who was Lisa’s neighbour.
“Camille came on last minute and we ended up fighting a lot so I regretted suggesting her at the time. But in hindsight, our fighting made for great TV.”
The volatile relationship between Kyle and her former child star sister Kim played a central theme on the show too, with memorable altercations including a notorious tussle between the pair in a limo during season one, exposing Kim’s struggle with addiction.
“I brought both my sisters, Kim and Kathy [mother of Paris Hilton] onto the show and we all saw what happened between Kim and me. One of my lowest moments was that fight in the limo, I felt like it couldn’t get any lower.”
So how’s the relationship with Kim now? “She’s good,” Kyle carefully responds. “She has the two of the most beautiful grandsons. She’s great.”
And her friendship with Vanderpump? Enjoying a close bond during the early series, the pair famously fell out during season nine over accusations of lying. Three years later, where do they stand now?
“I’ve bumped into her a few times but Lisa is someone who digs her heels in. And I think any sort of repair of the friendship has passed. It’s been so many years not being in each other’s lives. I think I’m good. I don’t have the energy to give to people and not get it back.”
With season 12 currently airing on streaming platform Hayu, the star recently came under heavy fire for questioning castmate Sutton Stracke’s revelations of miscarriage in a row with controversial newcomer Diana Jenkins.
She also faced backlash for defending embattled Housewife Erika Girardi’s insulting behaviour against Garcelle Beauvais’s family.
Criticism, Kyle says, is part of the job. “I’m used to it. It’s really confronting when it first happens and I have deep empathy for new cast members, like Diana.
“She came in with this attitude, ‘I don’t care what people think of me’ but it didn’t last long. It never does. I didn’t watch that episode with the scene between Diana and Sutton, largely because I kept doing the splits that night on the dancefloor at Garcelle’s party as I was way overserved [on alcohol], but I know some things were said that people found offensive.
“It can be a lot coming into a show like this and being attacked on social media. We’ve all gone through it. I checked in on Diana and she’s pretty rattled by it.”
Her acting career has recently enjoyed a revival thanks to a crowd-pleasing return to the Halloween franchise in Halloween Kills and the upcoming Halloween Ends.
Does that spell the end of her time on Housewives? “I could walk away,” Kyle frankly responds. “Acting is my first love, and if I had to choose, I’d go for the option that causes me the least anxiety, which isn’t Housewives. After every season, I ask myself am I still having fun and if the good outweighs the bad, I’m going to hang in there.”
At least until the Beverly Hills Housewives team reschedule that much-delayed Irish trip, Magazine+ adds. “Oh yeah,” she laughs. “Or maybe I can move to Ireland and start from scratch, and it can be fresh and new again.”
Is the reality star aware of the Irish iteration of the Housewives franchise, Dublin Wives, which aired from 2012 for two seasons on then TV3, now Virgin Media? “I actually did hear about it. I have some amazing fan clubs that follow me and some of them are from Ireland and I’m sure they told me about it. Is it on YouTube? I really want to see it now. It’ll help me work on my Irish accent.”