Denise Richards went where no Housewife has gone before: she broke the fourth wall. Well, she broke it and the network used it, that is.
"My first week of filming -- I'm sorry, Kyle [Richards], I have to say this -- Kyle was actually the one that told me to put our hand in front of our face and say, 'Bravo! Bravo!' if we didn't want something that would air," the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star confesses to ET, via video chat. "So, I didn't make it up. I learned from the other women that have been before me on the show; many of them did it during my two seasons."
While Kyle, the longest-tenured Beverly Hills 'Wife, says the women used to do the "Bravo! Bravo!" bit as a joke to sneak in makeup touch-ups, Denise implies it's a semi-regular practice. Denise took things one step further with her use of it, though, adding a "f**king" in front of one of her Bravos. It all went down at a dinner party, which airs on Wednesday's episode of the hit series. It’s a follow-up to a heated dinner at Denise's house, in which the women got into it over glam -- specifically Dorit Kemsley and Denise's use of it -- and not showing up to events on time, or at all.
"I felt that there was some miscommunication on that issue, and Kyle was pushing the issue, so I did that to stop, to clarify things with our amazing production [team] before I continued our dinner," Denise explains of shouting out "Bravo" a few times. As seen in a first look clip at the episode, Denise is upset by Kyle implying she gets hair and makeup specifically for their group events when, Denise says, she's only ever glammed up because she's coming straight to Housewives gatherings from set, as a working actress. This, after Kyle also called Denise a "ragamuffin," a comment she's since apologized for.
Denise says she found it hard to get her point across with Kyle, whom she says was controlling the conversation. At the time, Denise was also recovering from surgery to repair four hernias in her abdomen, something she didn't feel like Kyle was taking into consideration while going head to head with her. The scene was first teased on the RHOBH season premiere, which ended with a wild, two-minute look ahead to the drama of the season, which appears to be all about Denise. The tease included the fourth-wall breaking moment, a black title card that simply read, "Denise stopped filming with the group in December" and multiple, much-talked-about walk-offs.
"If it plays out the way it was shot, people will see [my side of things], and if there's questions, obviously I'll answer it at the reunion," Denise teases, sharing her take on the preview.
That premiere montage also featured Denise's co-stars, specifically Kyle and Lisa Rinna, speculating that she won't show up at the reunion. Lisa went so far as to proclaim that they would "never see Denise Richards again."
"The only people that have said I quit the show or won't be at the reunion are my co-stars and, you know, they never checked in with me [to see] if that was true, and it's not true," Denise fires back. "That's obviously not the case."
Denise clarifies that she never stopped filming, she just didn't attend two group events that took place near the end of filming.
"I'm very committed to the show," she declares. "I filmed a dinner party three days after having a major surgery. The show is something that's very important to me [and] something that I wanted to be committed to."
Denise is staying committed to the series, even in isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic. She's filming confessionals, the interviews intercut with the action of the show, from home. She's been saving saying her piece on most of what will go down this season on the show for those interviews.
"Part of why I wanna stay quiet is, I come from a scripted world and you usually let the teasers and all that, hopefully the viewers will come and watch the show and let it play out on television and not in the media or not on social media," she explains. "I didn't want to reveal anything."
Months before Bravo released any footage of season 10, tabloid headlines popped up about Denise distancing herself from the group amid allegations of an affair with former Housewife Brandi Glanville, claims Denise has vehemently denied; she even told ET in March that she found the discussion surrounding her personal life to be "disgusting."
Fans expected the Brandi story to be the big drama of the season, but the cast has been adamant with ET that there's a lot more that goes down with Denise before that so-called revelation makes its way around the group. Some have implied that Denise came into her second season operating differently than she did in her first -- hiding things she didn't want on TV, acting "fancier" -- but Denise says she's always been herself.
"My second season, I think I'm a little bit of a target and that’s OK, 'cause we all have a turn for that," Denise admits. "There [were] a lot of issues that were brought up, and questions that I kept answering repeatedly, to where I felt I was blue in the face answering those questions, where I had nothing else to say about it and was like, all right, if you guys wanna keep on talking about this, I can't. There's nothing else to say."
Denise admits the repeated questioning from her co-stars is what drove her to walk out more than once. It remains to be seen what those issues are, though it seems safe to say the ball is in motion on at least the start of them with the "Bravo! Bravo! F**king Bravo" dinner.
As for choosing to walk out on moments with the ladies, Denise says she was simply keeping it real. In her interactions off-camera, if she's done talking about something or doesn't want to be around someone anymore, she says she walks away.
"I like to just resolve stuff," she offers. "We can agree to disagree and move on from it. But I felt it kept going on and on and on and on and on and enough's enough. And I treat it as real reality. I'm being myself. If you wanna keep going on and on then I'm gonna, you know, I have nothing else to say and leave the table."
Denise also is quick to note a moment of hypocrisy, or at the least a double standard, she sees in the group.
"If it airs the way it was shot, people will see why I would get up and leave the table," she teases. "You know, Kyle left my dinner party. No one seems to say anything about that -- but we won't talk about that."
Something Denise is happy to talk about, though, is her new business venture, CBMe Beauty, a new, hemp seed oil-infused skincare line she helped develop.
"It's actually been two years in the making," she gushes of the line. "I've always been passionate about skincare and taking care of my skin since I was 15 years old. I've always been very adamant about keeping my face out of the sun, sunscreen and clean living, and just really taking good care of my skin."
While Denise and her partners never expected to be launching a new company in the midst of a pandemic, she does find the timing a bit kismet, as a lot of people are indulging in extra self-care while stuck at home. The line features a range of products, including neck, décolleté and eye treatments, which Denise says she turns to as alternatives to plastic surgery.
"A lot of people say I had plastic surgery on my face, which I haven't," she notes. "I did try Botox. I personally did not like it. I looked very rested -- that, I loved -- but I personally didn't like how it felt physically on my face. It felt like someone was pushing down on my forehead or something. I don't know. It was very bizarre."
"And also, I have very expressive eyebrows and I'm an actress," she continues. "I use a lot of expressions through my face, so that was something I felt like I couldn't do as much, so that’s also why I, personally for me, I don't like how it feels."
Denise hasn’t been able to flex her acting muscle in quarantine, though, as production on her day job, CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful, was shut down as part of California’s stay-at-home order. The shutdown has lasted so long that the soap is actually out of new episodes, an unprecedented occurrence for a show that films months in advance. She says she’s anxious to get back in front of the camera, though she’s curious what it will look like when that day comes.
"Are we gonna all have to wear masks in a love scene?" she quips. "I don’t know! None of us do. I mean, that’s the thing with our industry, being actors in entertainment and doing what all of us do, it's a big challenge for all of us, the close proximity with each other. So I’m not sure."
For now, Denise is figuring out how she can work remotely on another new venture, her Quantum Reach Foundation, a non-profit aimed at helping animals and children, which she founded with her husband, Aaron Phypers. Denise says the organization has actually been years in the making. She first got the idea to give back when she adopted her daughter, Eloise, 8, in 2011; Eloise has special needs and had to undergo many expensive tests, which Denise knows not everyone can afford. A drive to help those less fortunate led to Denise and Aaron's current mission to help children dealing with bullying and mental health issues. They've developed programs, Denise says, that incorporate some of what Aaron does at his Q360 "energy healing center" to provide a holistic approach to those in need.
Aaron's job is a much-discussed topic in Housewives fan circles after his unexpected explanation at a recent dinner party on the show, in which he claimed to "remove blocks, discord [and] information" so that people can heal themselves from injuries, potentially without the need of Western medicine. The conversation left many of Denise’s co-stars confused.
"At that moment in the dinner, I knew -- it's always about, know your audience," Denise says with a laugh. "While we were eating and at that dinner like, OK, this might not be the dinner for this. So, we're gonna wrap up the conversation and call it a night."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.