“I am an alcoholic,” she told Dr. Phil McGraw in a segment that aired Tuesday, later adding, “I just want to do the right thing, and I want to be the strongest I can be.”
Here are five more revelations from the explosive interview:
1. When Her Alcoholism Began
A child star known for her work throughout the ’70s, Richards, 50, said she started “drinking at night” while caring for her late mother, who died in 2002.
“I realized I had started to become a person I didn’t like, and I couldn’t stand the sight of myself,” she told McGraw, 64.
Personal tragedies continued to be triggers throughout her life, from the brutal murder of fiancé John J. Collett in 1991 to ex-husband Monty Brinson’s current battle with cancer.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” she said of Collett, crying.
2. She Lied on the Reunion Special
Speaking to McGraw, Richards repeated that she “had not drank in over three years.”
That, she admitted in Tuesday’s interview, was a lie.
“I did have drinks a couple other times over the past few months. It was wine. I was ashamed to say anything at the reunion, embarrassed,” she said. “I would have loved to say to the girls, ‘You know what, you’re right,’ but the way they were coming at me, they didn’t make it easy.”
After she stormed out of the interview, angry at the attempted intervention, McGraw’s crew also recorded her telling son Chad that she smokes pot “every once in a while.”
Still, Richards maintained she did not drink at all while filming RHOBH.
3. Kyle Reached Out
As of the reunion’s taping, Richards and her sister Kyle, 46, remained estranged, arguing about what really happening when her pit bull bit her niece Alexia.
On Dr. Phil, Richards said the family fight influenced her decision to drink a glass of vodka the night of her arrest.
“The bottom line is, it’s the overall outcome of where today is with my relationships with the people I love the most, and that’s what really started getting me upset,” she explained.
Now, the sisters could be on their way to rebuilding their relationship.
“She actually texted me after my arrest, for the first time in five months,” Richards said through tears. “She asked me if I was okay. I haven’t spoken to her, but I’m sure some people are having a field day with this, and I don’t really care.”
4. Her Future on Real Housewives – and with Brandi Glanville
McGraw pointed out that being under such public scrutiny was a catalyst for Richards’ relapse, asking her if should walk away from RHOBH if she can’t handle the pressure.
“If I can’t, yes, I will,” she said simply.
After her kids Kimberly, Brooke and Chad joined the session, the family discussed Richards’ friendship with costar Brandi Glanville – a sore subject for Kyle on the show.
McGraw suggested Glanville, 42, is an enabler.
“Toxic, probably,” Chad said, turning to his mom. “She’s a good friend for you, but you gotta be hanging around people who are supporting your sobriety.”
“She’s never drank in front of me unless we’re at work, and all the girls are drinking,” Richards responded.
5. She Refused Dr. Phil’s Rehab Offer
Richards said she wants to seek help but needed a center close to her home and a program no longer than 30 days. McGraw arranged for her to stay at Malibu Beach Sober Living, but she became anxious, walking out of the interview.
A day later, McGraw said, he got a call from her accepting his offer, but then she “went back and forth again with demands.”
On Sunday, PEOPLE confirmed that Richards has checked herself into rehab.
“We certainly hope that’s true,” McGraw told viewers, “and we wish her the best.”