Kyle Richards appeared on Watch What Happens Live this week, just in time to respond to a statement made by her estranged husband Mauricio Umansky and his Dancing With The Stars partner Emma Slater. Their statement came after TMZ obtained photos of Mauricio and Emma holding hands and laughing before going to dinner together. In it, they denied weeks-long rumours that the pair may be having an affair.
I suppose “affair” isn’t even the right word to be using here because Mauricio and Kyle announced that they were separating back in July, which I wrote about here. So whatever verbiage we want to use – it’s caused quite the ruckus, particularly with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premiering this week and viewers desperately trying to piece it all together.
“We are not dating,” Mauricio said in an Instagram story. “We are really good friends. We've been dancing together now for six weeks, four hours a day, every single day…You know, just to clarify, we went to a restaurant to go get some sushi right after rehearsal. We were in our rehearsal clothes. Lots of the stories are wrong.”
“It's intense, like you really form a very, very special bond and I think we have similar personalities,” Emma added, calling their relationship “super supportive.”
Up until two days ago, I was ready to write an article blasting Kyle for parading Morgan Wade around all summer for Mauricio to see but suddenly deleting her DWTS posts supporting him and Emma when the photos of them holding hands emerged. But when she was talking to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, I saw and felt her pain.
"That was very hard to see," she said, discussing the images. "Yeah that was, I mean, yes, that hurt my feelings…I love him very much and we are amicable but that really did hurt me.”
If you tuned into the season premiere, it’s obvious that Kyle is pissed. It’s not clear what she’s so pissed about, but it looked a lot to me like the kind of distinct rage that comes from infidelity. Unfortunately, I and many other people know that rage very well. And whatever uncertainty I had around whether Mauricio did, in fact, cheat has been replaced with the assumption that he has, based on what I saw unfold in the first episode of what’s bound to be an action-packed season.
Even beyond what aired though, the preview for the rest of the season also teased a lot of marital issues and tension and sees the messy dynamic between Kyle and Mauricio spill over into her friendships, many of whom are trying to tell her that she’s “in denial”, which were the exact words of the ever-classy Sutton Stracke, who is a very close friend of Kyle.
For context, I’ve always loved Mauricio. He’s hot, he’s successful, he’s a great dad, and for the most part, he played the part of a damn good husband throughout the seasons. So when the news about Kyle and her friendship with Morgan Wade started to take off earlier this year, which I (also) wrote about here, I was confused. Why was she out there on the town with a woman? Getting matching tattoos? Doing sultry music video scenes? But after the rage I saw in that season premiere, it makes a lot of sense.
I’m going to toss a theory out there that some may not agree with. Keep in mind this is based solely on me being an avid watcher of this show since its inception, sprinkled with a few of my own lived experiences, and topped with a bit of understanding about what some women default to in these scenarios.
I think Mauricio cheated on Kyle first. Some people already believe this to be fact, so this is just the tip of my theory. Stay with me here. Whether this was back in season four, before or after, I think he cheated first. And whether she knew and decided to stay or wasn’t able to confirm it but perhaps felt strongly enough about it that she lost trust, for whatever reason, it’s all coming to a head now.
Some people are suggesting it’s because the kids are all grown up and moving out. I mean, sort of. Her eldest just got engaged, the other daughters are 27, 23 and 15. So it’s not to say they’re totally out of the woods when it comes to getting all the kids through high school, at least. But I think things were falling apart long before that.
For the entire summer, all the fingers have been pointed at Kyle over her relationship with Morgan, despite Morgan, Kyle and Mauricio all repeatedly insisting it's strictly platonic. I really don’t think Kyle and Morgan’s relationship would result in her going off and like, marrying Morgan. But I do think she’s enthralled by Morgan’s vibe and the security and friendship she’s been able to provide for Kyle in these trying times.
And with Mauricio’s past indiscretions, I think Kyle really did feel justified in having an emotional relationship with Morgan, not feeling like it was “cheating” in the technical sense because they may not have crossed a physical boundary, but also because society has always downplayed relationships between women. It’s not uncommon for a lot of men to fantasize about this kind of thing. Which brings me to my next point.
Part of me always wondered if Kyle was doing the whole Morgan thing to get a rise out of Mauricio. And if she was, it completely backfired. Because he was really encouraging and egging on the relationship, and the music video, and I think that frustrated her even more. When that music video dropped, his response was about how “hot” it was. Imagine trying to put your husband on notice and him thinking you’re having some sort of hot lesbian fling?
In any event, throughout the season premiere, there were telltale signs of their marriage being in severe distress. At one point, he asks how many tattoos she had. She said five, and he responded that he thought she only had three. Her response?
“Well maybe you should look at my body more.”
And then there was the instance of her and Mauricio discussing her relationship with Morgan, and he says, jokingly, “I can’t believe you’re the one having an affair," and she quips, “Yeah, for once,” in all seriousness. The speed and abruptness of her delivery told me everything I needed to know. And telling your husband he needs to look at your body more? I know that feeling.
Couples going through sh-t on Real Housewives, or reality TV in general, is nothing new. Just yesterday there were dozens of articles swirling about Kyle’s castmate Dorit Kemsley having to respond to rumours that she and her husband PK are divorcing and that he’s been living in a guesthouse. So it’s all par for the course.
But with Kyle and Mauricio, specifically, my heart really does break for the both of them. Because having watched them build their family, their wealth, and their marriage throughout the seasons, only for it to end like this, even if it’s just for now, is a gut punch. Because the more Morgans and Emmas there are between the two of them, the harder it will be for them to come back to each other, assuming that's their goal.
Moments like these remind me that while I do love to see someone spilling a drink on someone that deserved it during filming, or one housewife reading another for absolute filth at a reunion, I don’t only watch these shows for the big houses, the nice cars, expensive purses, fights and drama, but also to see how people, how families, navigate some of the most trying times of their lives. To find out what they feel they did right and what they feel they’ve done wrong. And I’m realizing just how much it can help balance the scales of pure catty behavior, with pure, and perfectly-flawed, human behavior.