Andy Cohen Reveals Truth Behind Lisa Rinna's "Toxic Relationship" With "Housewives"
Cohen wrote about her exit from the franchise in his book, and Rinna disputed his story.
After eight seasons on the show and countless memorable moments and quotes, Lisa Rinna left The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in January. She had had a rough previous year—due to both a loss in her personal life and intense drama on the show—and decided to leave ahead of the reality series' 13th season.
"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," the 59-year-old said in a statement to People at the time. "It has been a fun eight-year run and I am excited for what is to come!"
Now, Real Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen has shared his side of the story and claimed that Rinna actually changed her mind about quitting. In his new book, The Daddy Diaries: The Year I Grew Up, the Watch What Happens Live host also explains why he thinks the Housewives star has a "toxic relationship" with the show. Read on to learn what else Cohen has said about how Rinna's departure went down and about the statement she made in response.
Cohen claims Rinna quit… then reconsidered.
According to E! News, in The Daddy Diaries, Cohen wrote that Rinna texted him that she wanted to leave the show after they filmed the Season 12 reunion in September 2022. But she then seemed to change her mind.
"It kinda seems like Rinna isn't quitting, based on some correspondence with the team. This is going to be a journey, on both sides," he wrote (via Reality Blurb).
He hopes and expects for her to return someday.
Cohen says in the book that he thought at the time that the reality star "should go on pause but absolutely come back." He also said that both sides were in favor of her stepping away. "We mutually agreed with Rinna that she should take a break from the show (this is a real pause)," The Daddy Diaries reads.
Taking "a pause" has become a running joke in the Housewives world, since The Real Housewives of New York City star Dorinda Medley insisted after her 2020 firing that Cohen had used that phrasing with her and that she expected to return. In this case, the executive producer has made it clear that he does hope that this is just a hiatus for Rinna.
He also said as much soon after the news of Rinna's departure was announced. "She has been really a huge part of Beverly Hills, and I really do hope that this is a pause. I hope she will come back," he said in January on his SiriusXM show, Radio Andy (via Today).
Cohen says Rinna's relationship to the show had become "toxic."
"Feels like she has a toxic relationship with the show at this point, and taking a breath away could do everyone good," Cohen wrote of the 59-year-old reality star in his memoir.
While Rinna was a Housewife who was never afraid to get involved in the drama or stir the pot, Season 12 took a particularly dark turn. During the season, which aired in 2022, Rinna had a conflict with part-time cast member Kathy Hilton, who is the sister of long-time Housewife Kyle Richards. Rinna claimed she had witnessed Hilton having an off-camera "breakdown" that she said left her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
During the finale episode, Rinna said she would "get cancer" and "get sick and die" if she kept Hilton's supposed mbreakdown secret and didn't share it with the group. Her statement was denounced by the American Institute for Cancer Research and by viewers. (While Hilton admitted that she had become upset on a group strip, her recollection of events did not align with her co-star's.)
Rinna also posted frequently about the show on social media, particularly her storyline with Hilton. It was even rumored that she used secret social media accounts for those purposes, which she denied.
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Rinna disputes Cohen's account.
In a statement to E! News, a representative of Rinna said that the former soap actor is "not 'on pause,'" and added, "There was never any discussion with anyone about that concept."
"Her contract ended, and the parties mutually agreed not to engage on a new one," the rebuttal continued. "She felt her time on the show had run its course and she was more than happy to move on. And she still does not regret it."
She also said that Housewives fandom had become "unhealthy."
In a January conversation with Interview, Rinna opened up about when she decided to leave.
Her version of the story is the same as Cohen's in the sense that she also said that she made the call after the reunion. "What happened was I left, really, right after the reunion. People don't know that," she said. "But I let everybody know right after the reunion that I was going to move on, that was going to be it."
She also said that she had a "rough year" and found that "the way the fans react to the world of Housewives" had become "unhealthy."
"I [expletive] hated this year," Rinna said. "For a lot of reasons. My mom died, we all know that. But that's not the biggest reason. The story just didn't get told as two-sidedly as I would've liked. How about that?"
As for being benched by Bravo, the star told Interview that the word "pause" didn't apply to her circumstances.
"I'm good to take a break," she said. "It's time for a break. Not a pause, I don't go on pause. You don't put me on pause. I go bye-bye. You know what I'm saying?"