Kathy Hilton says that things "piled up and piled up" with sister Kyle Richards, "and what fans think and what other people think, they've got it so wrong"

By Aili Nahas
June 09, 2021 02:00 PM
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kathy hilton and kyle richards
Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty

For Kathy Hilton, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has always been a family affair.

Though her sisters Kyle Richards and Kim Richards have starred on the Bravo hit, Hilton, 62, says she never considered joining the cast — until now.

"I never would have thought I'd say yes to this," Hilton, who appears this season, tells PEOPLE for this week's issue. "I stopped watching it after the first season. My sister Kyle and I had our ups and downs so it was nothing that I wanted to watch. But Kyle convinced me to do it. And I was flattered. I thought it would be an opportunity for us to spend time together. I really missed her."

Indeed, both Hilton and Kyle, 52, have been open about their often strained relationship. 

For more from Kathy Hilton, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Hilton, who is mom to Paris, 40, Nicky, 37, Barron, 31, and Conrad, 27, with husband Rick Hilton, won't specify what caused the issues, but says that things "piled up and piled up … and what fans think and what other people think, they've got it so wrong."

But ultimately, "family is family," says Hilton. "It takes time, but it feels so good to be where we are now. And I've really appreciated this time."

Kim Richards, Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards
Kim Richards, Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards
| Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

In fact, Hilton says she hopes her mended relationship with Kyle will provide comfort — and perhaps inspiration — for other families.

"I think that by sharing these things I've experienced, it can help other people," she says. "Let's have fun with the show and be silly and girly but let's also have more depth. Maybe someone will [see us] and pick up the phone to call their sister or their mother or their brother."

When it comes to her own journey on the show, Hilton, an admitted "prankster," says she received one piece of advice from sister Kim, who left the show in 2017.

"She said, 'Go for it, you'll be great,'" recalls Hilton. "'Just don't lose your temper!'"

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.