What Is Going on With Kyle Richards and Kathy Hilton?
A brief summary of relevant ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ events, ahead of the tumultuous reunion
“Why is she upset and crying? I’m the one who bullied and percacuted for 10 months!” Kathy Hilton wrote, somewhat incomprehensibly, on Instagram over the weekend. The mother of Paris Hilton, wife of hotel Hilton, and housewife of Beverly Hills (sort of) (she’s not an official housewife but she’s there) was responding to a comment that showed concern for the emotional state of her sister Kyle Richards, following a preview of the upcoming Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion episodes. In it, Richards is upset and crying.
Why is she upset and crying? Especially when Kathy Hilton is the one who bullied and percacuted for 10 months? I don’t know, but we can try to untangle it together.
Is it because of years of family trauma?
“They cannot reconcile, and it's all so complicated because nobody's backing down,” a source told People regarding the current state of the sisters’ relationship. “Kyle has backed up her sister for years and no matter what she does, Kathy isn't satisfied. What we're watching is years of family trauma that hasn't been dealt with in a family dynamic."
Thanks to the fact that Kyle and her sisters have been followed by Bravo’s cameras for over a decade, we have some insight into some of that family trauma. Let’s go through it in a bullet-pointed list:
- In 2011, Kyle’s husband Mauricio Umansky left the Hilton family real estate agency, Hilton & Hyland, to start his own real estate agency called The Agency. During the RHOBH season eight reunion (in 2018), Kyle said she and Kathy hadn’t spoken for months, attributing Kathy’s anger in part to Mauricio’s decision to go from employee to competitor. "I think it started with my husband leaving their real estate company and opening The Agency.”
- Kim Richards, Kathy and Kyle’s sister and a former housewife, struggled with sobriety throughout her participation in RHOBH’s early seasons. This caused tension between all of the sisters, but was frequently a sore point between Kyle and Kim in particular, which often led to a Kathy-Kim alliance. "Kathy would not ever act like this,” Kim said during a season five reunion episode, while accusing Kyle of not sticking up for her while the other women questioned her sobriety. “Kathy would have my back like a real sister." (Kathy was not a member of the cast at this point.)
- In 2015 Kyle announced she was producing a series called American Woman for TV Land, starring Alicia Silverstone, loosely based on her childhood and her mother. Kathy didn’t want her to air the family’s dirty laundry on TV (Land), and this caused a years-long rift between the two. “I love my sisters and I would never do anything to disrespect or embarrass them,” Kyle said at the time. “I'm looking forward to the show coming out so Kathy can see it and realize. That's my hope.”
- Kyle was briefly uninvited from niece Nicky Hilton’s 2015 wedding, likely due to the American Woman drama. She was ultimately re-invited, but Mauricio was not.
- Things were bad between the sisters until American Woman premiered in 2018. I guess they forgave each other after that … I don’t know … I remember a scene on the show where they talked about it while eating a Waldorf salad on TV trays at Kathy Hilton’s house.
- Kathy joined the RHOBH cast in 2020, and things with the sisters have basically been fine since then.
- Or have they?
Is it about Eva Longoria’s Casa Del Sol tequila?
Kathy Hilton is an investor in Eva Longoria’s Casa Del Sol tequila and attempted to get the brand on-screen about 400 times this season, to little success. Her breaking point came when the girls took a trip to Aspen. There, Lisa Rinna asked a bartender for some of her “friend” (she wishes) Kylie Jenner’s tequila, instead of Eva Longoria’s tequila.
Is it because of the rest of the stuff that happened in Aspen?
After a day of making ugly hats, drinking Kylie Jenner’s tequila, and toasting to Erika Jayne’s abject cruelty, the ladies went to a nightclub where Kathy supposedly had a meltdown either due to the women not wanting to participate in a conga line, or the DJ not wanting to play Michael Jackson, or something else — it’s unclear both because it wasn’t filmed and because everyone involved is insane.
Also not filmed was an alleged meltdown Kathy had afterwards, back at Kyle’s Aspen house, in front of the likely-fired Lisa Rinna. “She’s screaming she ‘made’ Kyle,” Rinna said during the episode. “And [Kathy] said, ‘I will destroy Kyle and her family if it’s the last thing I ever do.’”
So is it because of Lisa Rinna?
Rinna was the only one there during Kathy’s alleged meltdown. And she has a checkered history with the Richards sisters; a few seasons ago, she spread the rumor that Kim, who was at that point sober (according to Kyle) and no longer on the show, was “near death” from drug and alcohol use. She also threw a glass at Kim once, after Kim suggested Rinna’s husband might be cheating on her.
According to Rinna, who claims she had to lock herself in her bedroom to escape Kathy’s rage, her Aspen meltdown was “a barrage of, 'I fucking can't believe that I have to be around you fucking peons. I don't like them, why do I have to be with them? They need to go away. They're idiots.'"
Rinna claims most of Kathy’s ire was directed at Kyle, but that she also called Crystal and Sutton "pieces of shit" and called Dorit a “stupid, useless idiot." Beyond that, she’s staying silent about what happened, but has suggested heavily that the meltdown is something Kyle should end her relationship with her sister over.
Is it because of Lisa Rinna and Erika Jayne, together?
In the season’s final episode, Kyle had a fight with Rinna and Erika Jayne, an alliance now, because, according to information received by Kathy, Erika Jayne’s publicist was the source of the gossip about Kathy Hilton’s Aspen escapades getting leaked to the press. Kyle thinks Erika spread the rumors to take eyes off of her own legal troubles.
"I'm not sure what happens from here," Kyle said in a confessional at the end of the episode. "If I'm forced to choose between my two friends and my sister, regardless of what happened, it's my blood." At that point, she seemed to have chosen the side of Kathy, regardless of what she said in Aspen.
So why is Kyle upset and crying?????
I don’t know. The sisters reportedly haven’t spoken much since taping the reunion episodes, which begin airing later this week. In response to Kathy’s Instagram question that brought us here today Kyle replied, “Why? You know exactly why.”
Well. I wish she would tell us!