■ The restaurateur and ex-model, 58, on LA’s LGBTQ community and why she quit The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills
You’re hard to pin down.
I’m filming Vanderpump Rules [her reality show filmed at her LA restaurant]. Yeah, I’m always, always in the middle of something but I’m a producer on the show so I can do whatever I want.
Do you need to be in control?
No, not really. But to create a hit show is important to me.
You kind of own West Hollywood, the gay area of LA, don’t you?
Well, you know, it’s been a flow, an accumulation of properties and restaurants but if you go back to our old days in Soho in London we had many restaurants within the same kind of proximity.
How did you get into The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Were you real friends or were you just thrown together?
When it was the original cast I lived opposite Adrienne Maloof and I was approached a couple of times to audition for it, so I did. But if I knew then what I knew now!
Do you regret it, though?
No, I have no regrets. I regret doing this season of Housewives because it’s been so ridiculous, the whole thing, and been so hard to deal with.
So, what went wrong this last season? I know you’ve just pulled out.
Yeah, I quit. Five women, coming at me from all directions…
Does the show egg them on or does that naturally happen?
I think they probably egg each other on but it was something I just didn’t want to be a part of any more. I had a very hard year last year and I wasn’t as emotionally strong.
Are you friends with any of them? I know you were always quite close to Kyle Richards?
Not at all. I mean, it’s all aired out on TV. You see the whole cast turn against me. I occasionally speak to Camille Grammer. I mean, they flipping throw all things at me so I decided to walk away. Thankfully, the audience saw the truth and supported me and really helped me through.
And you have Vanderpump Rules, which is cooler anyway.
Yes, it’s been very successful. It’s unusual for a spin-off to have eight seasons and still be stated by Vogue as the most perfect reality show in the US.
You come across as very kind in that show, because those young employees need a firm hand.
Oh yeah, but I love them all. I really do. I mean, of course, they’re a pain in the a**e but I’ve loved them and seen them grow up and I have a good relationship with all of them.
You just got the award from the City of LA for your work with the LGBT community. How did that come about?
Over the years I’ve just been an advocate and a straight ally. And it’s very important to me and very important to the LGBTQ community to have a straight ally, to dig a conduit and obviously I’ve had a huge vehicle on reality TV to parley that message around the world.
Did you hear about the women beaten up on a London bus recently?
I was horrified! To think that they were so young! That highlights how essential it is to have education about the LGBTQ community. For those girls to have the crap beaten out of them by boys who are 15 and 16-years-old… What the hell is happening? Just learning about being kind and compassionate to other people is not going to turn you into a lesbian, for god’s sake. That’s the reason we have Pride. People need to educate their kids.
In Hollywood, the fact that you and your husband Ken are still together is almost weird. How many years has it been?
Thirty-seven. But [laughing] I’m still always looking for someone I like better. Are they out there? They just haven’t come across me yet. So I’ll stick with this one. But marriage isn’t easy, whoever you are, whatever city you’re in, it’s what you make it really, isn’t it? It’s about how you communicate, how you treat each other with respect. I mean, neither of us is perfect. Well, I am, but he’s not.
It seems you work as a team?
Yeah, I think we are on the same side and held each other’s hand through it… until George Clooney gets a divorce and comes knocking. Can you put that on the front cover?
Has this last season of The Real Housewives taken the shine off living there?
Oh no. It’s taken the shine off being on the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, that’s for sure! I quit because I’m not going to compromise my happiness being around women that are so… I’m trying to find the right word.
That’s what other people are saying but I can’t. But I could agree with you.
■ The Real Housewives at 4.05pm & 5pm today and Vanderpump Rules at 10.55pm on Tuesday, both on ITVBe