It's been 123 days since Luann de Lesseps last had a drink, and the Real Housewives of New York City star tell PEOPLE she's feeling stronger than ever
“I feel amazing,” de Lesseps, 53, told PEOPLE on Thursday night at the launch of her statement necklace collection with SuperJeweler. “I’ve gotten so more accomplished in the last six months than I have in the past couple of years! I mean, really — I’m just more on my game, more present, and more clear-headed. It’s crazy what not waking up with a hangover will do to you!”
De Lesseps has brought her new attitude to RHONY, with the Bravo show currently filming its eleventh season. She says it’s helped her handle conflicts between her and other cast members. “When you’re sober, you can deal with everything a lot better,” she says. “Things that used to rock my boat don’t rock my boat as much.”
That doesn’t mean fans will lose sight of the Countess they’ve come to know and love.
“I’m still having a good time,” she says. “I’m cool and I have a good time with the women just like before. And the women don’t feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me, which is nice. I don’t make a big deal about it. They were like, ‘Can I have a glass of wine [around you]?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, go ahead!’ ” So they kind of forgot about it.”
“It’s miraculous to me because it used to be hard for me to go out without having wine and now I’ve kind of gotten used to it,” she adds. “I’m cool with it. And I’m able to enjoy myself and be myself.”
Hearing de Lesseps is doing well is a welcomed relief for RHONY fans, who have stood by her on her road to sobriety.
She first checked into rehab in December 2017 after she was arrested on Christmas Eve in Palm Beach, Florida, and charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on an officer, resisting arrest with violence and threatening a public servant. (She later struck a plea deal in the case and will avoid jail time.)
Afterwards, de Lesseps was committed to not drinking, but she’s said a lawsuit filed against her over an $8 million house sale by her first husband Alexandre de Lesseps and their children Victoria and Noel contributed to a relapse in July. She returned to rehab and checked out after staying at the facility for a little under three weeks.
So what’s changed? “I’m taking it really seriously this time,” she says. “I take it day by day. Ever other day I don’t have a drink is a good one.”
Meanwhile there’s been a lot to keep de Lesseps busy. In addition to RHONY and her hit Cabaret show #CountessAndFriends, the mother of two has also been hard at work at her SuperJeweler collaboration, dubbed the Countess Collection.
“It’s a big collection, and I’m in love with all of them!” de Lesseps says of the 32 unique and bold jewelry items that make up the line, which range in price from $49 to $199. “There’s a lot of different pieces in the collection for every day. I love the colors of the stones, I love the crystals. I love the mixed metals. I love the wood pieces on these big chokers, they almost look African. I also did a couple of pieces that have a Native American vibe to them — it’s kind of Native American gone bling. They’re all so great.”
“I love a good statement necklace,” she adds. “It’s cabaret for every day!”
De Lesseps was “very involved” in creating the necklaces. “I picked chains and colors and lengths and weights,” she says. “I like a statement necklace but I don’t like a necklace to weigh you down. I want it to look important without being importantly priced. I wanted to make it the right price and the right quality.”
Her creations are a hit with her costars, too. “The women have been very supportive, they love the collection,” she says. “They specifically love the single diamond crystal strand ($99), which I happen to be wearing. That’s their favorite.”