Lisa Rinna Feels Like Denise Richards 'Weaponized' Their Friendship: Am I 'Being Manipulated?'
"What if she's manipulating me? What if I'm being manipulated in all of this too?" Lisa Rinna said about longtime friend Denise Richards
One week after Real Housewives of Beverly Hills audiences saw the longtime pals have a heart-to-heart during their cast trip to Rome, Italy, where they "vowed to be better friends to each other," Lisa, 57, questioned whether Denise had been "manipulating" her.
During Wednesday's episode of the Bravo reality series, the Beverly Hills Housewives gathered together to celebrate a then-pregnant Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave with a baby shower at Buca di Beppo, where Dorit Kemsley had redesigned a Capri, Italy-themed room.
Although all of the other Housewives were present at the party, Denise was not, calling Dorit before the party began to say that she was sick and couldn't make it.
But despite her absence from the baby bash, Denise, 49, and her alleged affair with Brandi Glanville — which was brought up with all of the women during their Rome vacation — was the hot topic of conversation.
Making a surprise appearance at the party was Brandi, 47, who opened up about allegedly sleeping with Denise, which Denise has adamantly denied. In Rome, Denise also denied having a close relationship with Brandi, who went on to make further claims at the baby shower about their alleged intimate encounter.
"I am not trying to hurt this person here in any way, shape or form. In April, I went to visit her on set to do my podcast. She invited me to a movie set," said Brandi, who claimed that Denise's husband Aaron Phypers was not present that weekend, though Denise previously told the Housewives he had been.
"I knew for a 100 percent fact that they had an open thing as long as it was just with girls," Brandi claimed. "We were making out and then I bit her. I left marks."
"So the next day she said to me, 'Aaron can never know this. He'll kill me,' " Brandi told the women. " 'This is from my corset.' And I said, 'Okay.' " (Brandi explained that Denise was "wearing a corset" at the time "for the movie she was doing.")
Dorit asked, "Aaron was okay as long as it was Denise and you. But then you gave bite marks, but bite marks from you, so why would Aaron mind?"
Teddi, 39, said, "That's [Brandi's] point. That's what she's saying. That's when she realized she'd been lied to, guys!"
Brandi continued, "And then I thought, oh my God, now I have to keep this secret. I'm a cheater."
In a confessional, Brandi — whose ex-husband Eddie Cibiran cheated on her with LeAnn Rimes during their marriage — said, "I hate cheaters. I was cheated on. I would never do that. And she f---ing knew it when she said, 'Aaron will kill me.' This is about shutting me up, to make sure that I never let anyone know, especially the women in our group, that this happened."
The information was "confusing" to Dorit, 44, who believed Denise's side of the story. But Brandi said that she could "back it all f---ing up."
Proceeding to bring up her text thread with Denise, Brandi had her cell phone passed around the table so that all of the women could look at the exchange of their messages.
At the time of filming, the last message on Brandi's phone from Denise, dated Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 6:19 a.m., said, "Hey pretty mama are you coming on our trip."
Though the contents of the messages didn't matter to Erika Girardi, the volume of their exchanges did.
"I'm not looking at what the text messages say. I'm scrolling through the amount of text messages — and it went pages and pages and pages," Erika claimed.
Teddi agreed: "If you're willing to hand over your phone and let everybody look at it, you're just wanting the truth to get out there. These texts clearly show there was a friendship, there was a relationship. Denise was not telling the truth."
"You guys can scroll the f--- back as far as you want to. I'm not a f---ing liar," Brandi insisted.
While Dorit was attempting to defend Denise, Brandi proceeded to unleash a graphic allegation: "I f---ing sucked on her f---ing [expletive]," said Brandi. "I have a close f---ing relationship with her, okay bitch?! Enough said."
While looking at the phone, Lisa saw a text exchange from as far back as Dec. 10, 2018. "Hey Pretty do you want to have a girls day on Wednesday? We can do lunch or dinner or just hang out. I don't have kids or anything this week," read the text from Brandi, to which Denise replied: "Yes would love."
Lisa also went on to read apparent text messages in which Denise said, "Just know that if we went a year or 5 [years] without speaking I can always pick up where we left off and my loyalty doesn't change," and later, "I still care and love you."
"I don't have that relationship texting-wise with Denise," Lisa told cameras. "I don't say, 'I love you, honey. I love you, baby.' This is a relationship. This is an intimate friendship."
"She's my good friend, really good friend," Lisa said at the table. "But that's a relationship."
"I thought she was my friend, too," Brandi said. "Until I didn't."
"I think that she is a people pleaser and a master manipulator, more than probably even LVP," said Brandi, whose statement about former RHOBH star Lisa Vanderpump was met with shocked looks from the table. "That's how I feel."
"Why would Denise even lie about having a friendship with Brandi? Unless you're really hiding something that you never want anyone to know about," Lisa said in a confessional.
The day after Teddi's shower, Lisa went over to Kyle Richards' house to process what was discussed among the women.
"I have some really confused feelings because, you know, I really believed Denise when she told me in Rome, 'Brandi's a liar. Brandi's not telling the truth,' " Lisa told Kyle. (Eleven days prior, Denise told Lisa in Rome: "I've seen [Brandi] a couple times in my life. I do not have an open marriage, and I have not cheated on my husband.")
"I don't like to be lied to," Lisa said to Kyle. "Brandi was real convincing, so my heart sunk, to be honest with you."
Reflecting on her friendship with Denise, Lisa told viewers: "I thought my friend would have told me the truth. There's sadness in that, because then I go, 'Well, what else has Denise lied to me about over the years?' "
"I want to stick up for my friend. I want to be able to say, 'You know what, Brandi, I don't believe you.' And guess what? I can't do that," Lisa said to Kyle.
"I was really upset in Rome. I thought, you know, you're right. I've not been a good friend. I haven't been there for you like I should be. And I had a full breakdown," Lisa recalled to Kyle.
But thinking back over her emotional sit-down with Denise in Italy, Lisa questioned if the Wild Things actress was being manipulative all along.
"But what if that was all part of the plan? I sound like I'm a conspiracy theorist!" said Lisa.
In a confessional, Lisa shared, "It feels like Denise has weaponized our friendship and used everything she can to make me feel guilty. 'Lisa, you know better. You know what my poor kids have been through.' "
"What if she's manipulating me? What if I'm being manipulated in all of this too?" Lisa asked herself in her conversation with Kyle. "I mean, I don't know. I feel duped. Maybe I'm a big, fat fool. I don't like that feeling."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.