Kyle Richards recently got candid with fans about how she’s coping with her separation from Mauricio Umansky, her husband of 27 years. During an Amazon Live session, a fan asked how the couple were doing, to which she responded: 

“That’s a very loaded question. You know this has been very hard to do because it’s playing out with so many people having eyes on us and with us being in the public eye.”


She went on to add that they care deeply for one another and that they were on good terms. And though she didn’t say much about the specifics after that remark, she didn’t have to because the stories and social media posts have been published quite frequently and help the fans paint the picture themselves.

Kyle has been a fixture on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for years now – 13 to be exact. So naturally, fans have come to know her, her husband and her marriage very well, or at least, we thought so. When the pair announced their separation earlier this year, a lot of fans and longtime viewers were caught off guard. These two appeared to be solid and more communicative than the rest of the Real Housewives cast in their relationships, so it really felt like it came out of the blue.

In July, PEOPLE released the exclusive news, which pushed Kyle and Mauricio to release a joint statement on Instagram, saying though it had been a “hard year”, that “divorce was not being discussed”.


Later that month, Kyle did an Amazon Live reflecting on how the kids were processing their parents separation, calling them ‘strong’ and saying they were ‘holding up’.

Separations aren’t easy. I feel like I go through one every three years. But separations are especially difficult when a) you’ve been married for 27 years, b) the guy is as hot as Mauricio is and c) it plays out in front of millions of people. But being a reality star, that’s precisely what you sign up for.

Just yesterday I wrote about how Nick and Vanessa Lachey have really commoditized their marriage to help push the viewership of their hit Netflix shows Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum. And by the same token, though entirely different circumstances, I suppose we could say Kyle and Mauricio are doing the same thing with their divorce. But it does beg the question of whether it’s intentional. 

Rumours about Kyle having an intimate relationship with country singer Morgan Wade began swirling around the time the news of their separation started to become public. According to Morgan, who opened up to PEOPLE last week about her relationship, sorry, friendship with Kyle, she says the pair became friends after Morgan reached out to thank Kyle for supporting her music.


“We’re friends,” she insisted. “The Internet’s a dumb place.”

But that dumb place, the internet, is the exact place we’ve all seen photos of them hanging out together, quite frequently. And that dumb place, the internet, is where Kyle and Morgan shared her latest music video, which Kyle stars in. Kyle appeared in Morgan’s music video for a song entitled “Fall In Love With Me’, which both insisted is a mockery of all the rumours that have swirled about them on, you guessed it, that dumb place, the internet. 

So it’s no wonder that people had a lot of questions when Kyle and Mauricio recently shared photos of them and their entire family on vacation together in Italy. 

I think that’s the thing to note here – it's the obvious fact that people will have questions. You’ve signed contracts with a major network agreeing to have your life filmed and made millions off of offering people a look into some of the highest and lowest points of your life, which for Kyle, likely includes her testy relationship with her sisters Kim Richards and Kathy Hilton, only to close the curtains the minute the attention becomes “too much”. 


I almost don’t recognize myself writing this piece because I offer an unusual amount sympathy to reality TV stars. My level of sympathy resides between feeling bad for Rachel at some points of Scandoval but still being very anti-Nick and Vanessa Lachey. I hope that paints the picture of where I am on the scale. 

So yes, I absolutely value people’s privacy and am not of the belief that just because you appear on TV means the world is entitled to the inner workings of what’s transpiring in your life at all times. But I do believe that if you’ve shared so much of that life with us for 13 years, and then only share the tip of the iceberg when you go through perhaps one of your most pivotal moments yet, while also dangling it like a carrot in front of our faces and then snatch it back, it’s very strange.

So why did she do all that? The joint statement, parading around with Morgan, the music video, the Italy trip? Well, I think it’s because she wants to keep her place on the show. She knows that raising as much speculation about an unconfirmed, looming possibility of divorce while remaining as tight-lipped as she can is a very strategic decision to ensure she gets as much money as possible going into the newest season. Why else is she doing these Amazon Lives, framed as a “what’s in my bag but let’s also talk but not really talk about my separation”? And what, even, is an Amazon Live?

Rumour has it that over at Real Housewives of Atlanta, the entire cast is getting shaken up because there’s not enough drama. We saw something similar with Real Housewives of New York after they let go of the entire cast and brought in new women (who I’m enjoying more than I thought I would if I’m being honest). 


Real Housewives of New Jersey has also brought in some new faces, too. And with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills being one of the oldest shows in the franchise that has some of the longest-standing cast members, I get why it’s important to show producers you can hold your own. But do I think this is the way to do it?

I guess the question is – what other way is there? That question applies for Nick and Vanessa, too. Does it have to be so obvious? Does it have to be so constant? And in Nick and Vanessa’s case, does it have to be so corny?

I want to say no to all of the above, but we see just how effective these strategies are when it comes to attracting and maintaining viewership. Remember, parasocial relationships and people becoming invested in someone’s journey can really earn a show some lifelong viewers, and earn a person a lifelong fan. 

I may not be entirely on board with the idea of marriage, but I know it must suck when it ends (at least if my cycle of separations is any indication). The only thing that helps balance out that crappy feeling is what I call the post-split glow up. It’s the kind of glow up we’ve seen from women like Kristin Cavallari, Emily Ratajkowski, Tia Mowry, Ciara, Keke Palmer and so many others. And though I was already planning on tuning into the latest season of RHOBH,  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t watching with the specific intention of finding out how the post-split glow up will look on Kyle.