Lisa Vanderpump Reveals Why She Left RHOBH: 'I Don't Have Room in My Life for Nastiness'
But after a tumultuous season that came on the heels of the tragic death of her brother Mark, Vanderpump abruptly quit the show, leaving a flurry of rumors and more drama in her wake.
“I had a great time on Housewives,” Vanderpump, 59, tells PEOPLE, opening up for the first time about leaving the series she helped launch into one of the most popular in the Bravo franchise. “But to have negativity during a time in my life when I needed to try to be positive … I decided it was over.”
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Just months after her brother Mark died by suicide following a battle with depression, Vanderpump, still reeling from the loss, began filming.
“I shouldn’t have even committed to do that season,” she says. “If I had had my choice, I would have just wallowed in grief. I wasn’t ready.”
And so, after a baffling mixup involving the puppy that Dorit Kemsley adopted from the Vanderpump Dog Foundation resulted in her fellow costars accusing Vanderpump of being a manipulator and a liar, the reality star found herself at her wit’s end.
“I’ve been in a position where the whole cast has been against me before,” says Vanderpump. “But this time, our foundation was taking a bashing from the women, and it didn’t deserve it. And suddenly, to start dealing with them all screaming and shouting at me on that first trip [to the Bahamas], I thought, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ And that was really it.”
With regards to accusations that Vanderpump leaked a story about Kemsley, 43, to a tabloid, she asks, “Why would I want to shine a light on the fact that one of our dogs ended up in a kill shelter? I know that nothing with Dorit was intentional. But it all just became too much quite frankly.”
Vanderpump continued to film, though she largely stepped away from group gatherings, and didn’t attend the season 9 reunion.
“I just had more things going on in my life at that time,” says Vanderpump, who in addition to Vanderpump Dog Foundation, supports various causes, including The Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. “[Grief] encourages you to take stock. I’m a strong woman, but I don’t have room in my life for nastiness.”
Vanderpump says she doesn’t speak regularly to any of her former castmates, including Kyle Richards, with whom her friendship exploded on the show, but after her mother unexpectedly passed away last summer, “a couple of people reached out,” Vanderpump says. “That was nice.”
Ultimately, “I don’t want to shoot arrows,” says Vanderpump. “And I don’t want to get down in the dirt and react to every negative thing these women have said about me. That’s not who I am, nor who I want to be.”
As far as the show, “I don’t want to look back on my time on The Housewives as a negative experience,” says Vanderpump. “I had wonderful moments and laughs and giggles. But I have no regrets about leaving. And I’ve moved on.”
The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s annual gala will take place Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. Click here for tickets.