“If you can survive a marriage on reality TV, you can survive at all,” Mauricio quips to ET, Zooming in alongside his wife from their Encino, California, estate. “There’s no question.”
The pair celebrated 25 years of marriage earlier this year, a milestone/fete that’s not lost on them, with Kyle acknowledging the pressures a public life places on their private one.
“It’s certainly not what we expected,” she admits. “I mean, I was an actor all my life and my family had been in the public eye, but we never expected this turn. I never expected to do reality television and what that would do to our lives. But we definitely face some challenges, because I think that when you have something great — and people see how happy you are — the more they kind of come after it. So, you know, people always say to me, ‘You should write a book on how to have the best relationship.’ As soon as I do that, people want to come after me. So now it’s like, you get more protective, but it’s definitely made us stronger. We’ve learned just to be even more protective of our relationship, and appreciate it.”
RHOBH cameras have documented the duo’s love story over the last 12 years (including their romantic anniversary dinner on the most recent season), and now The Knot is joining in on the celebration. The magazine teamed up with Kyle and Mauricio for its own 25th anniversary. The couple stuns as the mag’s special issue cover stars, on newsstands now.
“It’s so fun,” Kyle says of the honor. “You know, we were going through the airport the other day … and we’re like, ‘Look, there we are, on the cover of The Knot in the airport at LAX in the store.’ So it was really fun. … And our kids think it’s great. It’s like, ‘Oh my god!’ You know, and they sent us the [press] box and my kids open it, they see their parents on the cover. Like, this is so exciting.”
While the couple is happy to pose for the cover of a wedding-themed publication, they have no plans to renew their vows (a trope on Housewives shows that’s led to a so-called “curse,” seeing as most renewals lead to divorces soon after).
“We have zero interest in removing–,” Mauricio starts when asked about a renewal, a Freudian slip or sorts, continuing with a laugh, “Removing? In renewing our vows. … We’ve actually talked about it a couple of times, but we don’t want to mess with a good thing. We’ve been super lucky, and why change the energy that we have around us? It’s been really good energy.”
“We’re very funny about numbers and synergy and all that,” Kyle jumps in to add. “Whatever we did worked and we don’t want to mess with a good thing. So we’re happy with that. We will have plenty of other things to celebrate in life. So we’re good. We just had our youngest daughter’s bat mitzvah, which honestly, was one of my favorite days of our lives. It was such an incredible event. So we’re good with moments like that.”
Kyle and Mauricio share four daughters — Farrah (Kyle’s eldest, from a previous relationship), Alexia, Sophia and Portia — and look forward to celebrating their future vows instead one day. The whole family is coming off a long wedding weekend, as Kyle’s niece, Paris Hilton, just tied to the knot to Carter Reum as part of a three-day event.
“Hopefully we will be throwing four weddings,” Mauricio exclaims. “We’re excited to do that. So yeah, I don’t think we need to throw another party to renew our vows.”
There’s plenty to celebrate in the Umansky-Richards universe at present: Kyle is the reigning queen of Peacock, hot off the release of Halloween Kills, the premiere of Paris in Love, the soon-to-launch holiday movie Housewives of the North Pole and, this week, the debut of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, the all-star mash-up series that sees stars of the Real Housewives franchise from all over the country descend on Turks and Caicos for a one-of-a-kind, eight-day vacation. Mauricio makes a guest appearance on a future episode, as he was in town for business (his real estate firm, The Agency, helped secure the villa where the women filmed their island escapade).
“I definitely walked into some chaos,” Mauricio teases. “They invited me to a dinner, and they had just come off of some very chaotic moments that were shared with me. Thank God I didn’t have to witness them at my dinner. My dinner was actually relatively calm and cool and easy.”
“Well, something did happen later — you were just probably talking to one of the guys,” Kyle interjects. “You forgot.”
“Probably,” he says. “But yeah, I got a chance to see Kyle one night and be with her, and it was great.”
“I had to do the walk of shame,” Kyle cracks. “Just put that out there. You’ll have to witness to what went down later.”
Kyle is the lone Beverly Hills star on RHUGT, while every other cast member has a co-star from their city: New Jersey‘s Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga, Atlanta‘s Cynthia Bailey and Kenya Moore, and New York‘s Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer. While there’s been much speculation that Kyle was supposed to have a diamond-holding buddy (Lisa Rinna’s name floated in “the blogs”), she says it was always the plan for her to fly solo.
“They know I can handle myself,” she quips. “I didn’t really know what to expect though, because I thought, ‘Well, there’s two New York, two Atlanta, two New Jersey, just me…’ but we don’t have preexisting relationships amongst the other cities. So I thought, I don’t know what could possibly happen. I thought this is kind of odd. But no, [the drama] started pretty much right out of the gate. I mean, we hadn’t even landed and it started. It was about the bedroom: Who was getting the best bedroom? And I really thought [Ramona] must be joking, but it wasn’t a joke.”
Peacock surprise dropped the first three episodes of Ultimate Girls Trip on Monday night, with superfans tuning in to see the Ramona-Coaster, as its known, running off the rails. Ramona found herself at odds with nearly half the cast almost immediately, with more antics to see in the coming weeks.
“I actually admire Ramona,” Kyle says after living through the trip. “Yes, she has her moments, but I also have seen a lot softer side of Ramona, and a very sweet side of Ramona. She opened up a lot about some things towards the end of the trip, which explained a lot to me about Ramona, and how she kind of operates and why she does the things she does.”
“You have to wait and see, but I did get to spend a lot of time with her,” she continues. “She is a lot of fun, I will say. Yes, she offends people sometimes. I don’t know if she’s just very unfiltered and says things that are not appropriate, but she also makes me laugh — and I forgive when people make me laugh. I can forgive anything if you make me laugh. And she was really making me laugh. And we were always like the ones that were ready to go and have fun all the time.”
Kyle says Ramona was always down for a good time on the show — including a few times they forgot they were being filmed! Unlike traditional Housewives shows, cameras never went down on the Ultimate Girls Trip, thanks to mounted rigs throughout their villa.
“I remember I was in the jacuzzi with Ramona thinking, we have 15 minutes, OK,” Kyle recalls. “Instead of going to change, I’m just going to hop in the jacuzzi. We’re talking. All of a sudden, I look [up], I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a camera right in our face.’ This is not actually 15 minutes downtime.”
“This is just not how we work!” she scoffs. “The little hidden cameras, it’s all the corners of the room, the ceilings … We don’t work like that. Like, you come with the big cameras. They put the mic on you. You know what you’re getting into. I would be asleep in bed — I was on L.A. time — so all of a sudden a light would go on above my bed at 7:00 a.m., which is 4:00 a.m. L.A. time — and as soon as that light would go on, I would be like [mimes an abrupt wake-up], I’d hear. ‘Kyle, are you ready to have a mic put on?’ And I was like, are they kidding me? I haven’t even washed my face or brushed my teeth. What is this?”
“I mean, I would be going to brush my teeth and a camera would be whizzing past,” she continues. “I’d be walking to brush my teeth, and they’d say, ‘Can we get an interview really fast?’ And I was like, what are you talking about? This is madness like I’ve never seen for eight days.”
That said, Kyle walked away from filming with new friendships, and a new appreciation for her Beverly Hills experience.
“I love the women I work with, contrary to popular belief,” she says. “I know we argue, but I really love all these women. And you know, some of us obviously are closer than others, but we have an incredible cast. And what I learned in doing the Ultimate Girls Trip is that not all the franchises are like that. They all feel like they have to watch their backs. They don’t trust anybody. Our production doesn’t work like that. I love our team, our cast, our crew.”
“[The RHUGT girls] were all telling me they don’t trust anybody, they have to watch their back,” Kyle adds. “My girls from Beverly Hills were checking on me when I was there. ‘Are you OK? Is everything good?’ Like they’re like sisters to me.”
Should any of her sisters sign themselves up for future Ultimate Girls Trip, Kyle offers one piece of advice: “You are going to be really exhausted. You better get all the sleep in you can before you go, because you will not be having any downtime.”
Speaking of sisters, there’s much speculation floating about that Kyle’s actual sister, Kathy Hilton, is holding out on a return to RHOBH after becoming the show’s breakout star in her debut turn as a “friend of” the cast in season 11. Cameras are up on season 12, and Kathy has been noticeably absent from well-documented all-cast events so far.
“We’re just going to have to wait and find out,” Kyle offers when pressed on the matter. “Right now, everything has been really chaotic, ’cause we just started, you know, and Paris has been planning her wedding and now there’s been chaos everywhere with the wedding and everything. So we shall see.”
Kyle is for sure back for her 12th season, and says while she does think about the longevity of being a Housewife, she isn’t handing in her diamond anytime soon.
“I think when the bad outweighs the good, I will know it’s time to give up my diamond,” she says. “I also think that when you’re not having fun anymore. Right now, it’s a lot. I’m juggling a lot, but I have to say that NBC, Bravo, Peacock have been really good to me. And it’s really fun to be able to be doing the Housewives and they are allowing me the freedom to do the Ultimate Girls Trip, and to do my Christmas movie, the Housewives of the North Pole. They gave me the time to do Halloween. And so the fact that I’m able to juggle these things, and that they’re working with me around that, and I’m still having fun.”
And as as long as Kyle’s a Real Housewife, Mauricio can continue to own the title of “hottest House-husband.”
“You know, honestly, until I’m sitting in an interview with you here or until somebody comes up on the street and says, ‘Can I have a photo,’ or, ‘Hey, I’m a fan,’ or ‘I love you,’ or whatever, I forget about it,” Mauricio admits. “For me, it’s just part of my life.”
“But you like having people say, ‘Hottest House-husband,'” Kyle chides.
“Oh, I’d much rather it be me than PK,” Mauricio fires back, referencing Dorit Kemsley‘s husband. “And by the way, beating out Harry Hamlin, you know, one of the sexiest men alive? I’m totally down with beating that one, so I do love that. There’s no question about it.”
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Tripis now streaming on Peacock, with new episodes debuting on Thursdays.