Luann de Lesseps did not intend to offend anybody with her Halloween costume.
The Real Housewives of New York City star, 52, appeared at fellow Housewife Dorinda Medley‘s Halloween bash back in October dressed as Diana Ross — complete with a ’70s-inspired white halter-top jumpsuit and oversized black afro.
But viewers of Wednesday’s season 10 premiere, which featured de Lesseps in the costume, were quick to criticize what appeared to be her darkened skin tone. “Luann’s costume is so disrespectful,” noted costar Carole Radziwill in the episode. “I think she’s tone-deaf when it comes to cultural stereotypes.”
De Lesseps addressed their concerns later that night during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
“I’m horrified!” the former Countess said. “I never meant to hurt anybody’s feelings. I love Diana Ross and I totally respect Diana Ross. It was really kind of a tribute to her, and it was Halloween.”
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She also denied that she had done anything to change the color of her skin tone for the look, telling Cohen: “I didn’t. I had bronzer on that I wear normally like the rest of my skin. I’m tan, like right now. So I didn’t add anything to or would ever, ever dream of doing a blackface. Ever.”
“I’m very sorry to everyone out there if I offended anyone,” she added.
It’s been a tough few months for de Lesseps.
After divorcing her ex-husband Tom D’Agostino seven months after their Palm Beach wedding last New Year’s Eve, the “Money Can’t Buy You Class” singer wound up getting arrested in the Florida city on Christmas Eve. She was charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on an officer/firefighter/EMT, resisting arrest with violence and threatening a public servant — all to which she’s pleaded not guilty.
- Watch the full episode of People Features: Luann de Lesseps: My Battle With Addiction, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.
“It was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” de Lesseps told PEOPLE in this week’s issue. The “embarrassing” and “shameful” incident was also the wake-up call she needed to face some past traumas and change her life for the better.
Later that month, she checked herself into an alcohol treatment facility. “I couldn’t continue living the way that I was living,” she said. “The only place where I felt like I was going to be okay was rehab.”
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“Unless I was humiliated publicly, I don’t think I would have done anything,” she continued, adding that sh’es lost 8 lbs. since getting sober. “This was a warning. It was meant to happen so that I could take a step back and look at myself in a different way. I’m grateful to the universe for making me change my life.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.