Jeff Lewis Says Jenni Pulos Changed on Flipping Out After Divorce: 'She Became Kind of a Victim'
On Thursday, the house flipper, 49, spoke out about Pulos, 47, with whom he had a massive falling out in 2019, on his SiriusXM radio show Jeff Lewis Live, saying that she “changed” on camera after her divorce from ex-husband Chris Elwood in 2008.
His comments came as Lewis and former Real Housewives of Orange County stars Lizzie Rovsek and Peggy Tanous were discussing how reality TV may affect those who appear on it.
“A lot of [the Housewives] become addicted to the attention and the fame,” Lewis claimed. “You get drunk on the love, and then it becomes like, there’s almost an inflated sense of self. And then I find people almost become the character the fans want them to be.”
Lewis then pivoted the discussion to Pulos.
“I would say this to her face, I do believe that over the years she changed — in the sense of, not who she was off the cameras, but who she was on the cameras,” Lewis said of his former friend.
“Jenni was funny, she was sarcastic, she was edgy, she was dark. And then what happened was, around season 2 or season 3, when her husband left her, and it was devastating, there was an outpour, a huge outpour of condolences. And it’s almost like she became kind of a victim on camera,” Lewis said. “I found that, from that moment on, I felt like she was more edited and more self aware on camera than she was off camera.”
Lewis’ comments came weeks after he reached out to Pulos with an apology for the way their friendship ended.
The two were close pals for nearly 20 years before their friendship fell apart over the course of Flipping Out‘s 11th season.
One particularly tense argument seemed to be the catalyst for their separation. It began when Pulos lamented that her job at Lewis’s design firm, Jeff Lewis Design, was keeping her from the acting career she always wanted — and ended days later at a meeting, when Lewis let Pulos go from her role at his business.
That face-to-face was the last time Lewis and Pulos have spoken. After filming ended, Lewis accused Pulos of making complaints about him to Bravo HR (an accusation which she vehemently denied to PEOPLE).
Pulos opened up about the rift for the first time last November, telling PEOPLE that she was blindsided when he fired her. “I had no idea it was coming,” she said.
“The whole thing is wild and completely unexpected,” she said that same month, during a visit to Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen. “I have loved him like a brother and I always will.”
Since the estrangement, Lewis has expressed regret for what happened, previously saying that he didn’t think it was worth ending their friendship over.
In a January episode of Jeff Lewis Live, Lewis said he had extended a text message apology to Pulos in an attempt to make amends, even reciting the message to his listeners.
“What I wrote to her is, ‘Hi, Happy New Year. I hope you and your family are happy and healthy. Would you be open to meeting with me sometime?’ ” Lewis recalled. “‘I don’t feel good about what happened between us and I’m very sorry for my role in it.’“
He went on to explain that he wanted the message to lead to an in-person meeting. “I would love to sit down and talk to her,” Lewis said, adding that while he was hopeful the two could bury the hatchet, he was also open to whatever Pulos wanted to make of it. “I don’t expect anything in return from her. I plan on clearing my conscience and telling her everything that I’m sorry for.”
“[We have a] long, long history together,” Lewis added. “She’s like my sister. We live basically in the same neighborhood. I know I’m going to run into her some day, I don’t want it to be awkward. I have no expectations attached to this. I just don’t want it to be uncomfortable if I run into her.”
Pulos has yet to respond to Lewis, he has said. “She ghosted me!”
Jeff Lewis Live airs weekdays (12 p.m. ET) on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy (Ch. 102)