RHOBH: Lisa Rinna Takes Jab at Lori Loughlin's USC Scandal as Daughter Amelia Prepares to Apply
"I'm not going to put you on a rowing machine and take a picture of you," Lisa Rinna joked to daughter Amelia Gray, who hoped to attend the University of Southern California
During Wednesday night's episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa had a heart-to-heart with the 18-year-old, who had moved back home to Los Angeles after a short stint in New York City, where she was attending college. While buying juices and sitting down together in L.A., Amelia opened up about her anxiety and plans to transfer to the University of Southern California (the L.A.-based school that made headlines last year due to Full House actress Lori Loughlin's involvement in the college admissions scandal, which Lisa later poked fun at).
Amelia's decision to return home was due in part to her battle with anxiety.
"I'm going to figure out my anxiety next week," Amelia told Lisa, 56. "It's just like pretty bad, and, I don't know, I want to get evaluated."
Their conversation came more than a year after Amelia revealed she'd struggled with an eating disorder.
"Listen, a year ago, Amelia was going through body dysmorphia issues," Lisa said in a confessional as a flashback of the family's outdoor dinner from a year earlier, when Amelia wouldn't eat her father's cooking, played. A scene 0f Amelia talking with her mom about her past anorexia played next.
"Amelia's come a long way," Lisa said. "But when I was in New York after Kyle's fashion show, I was able to spend some time with Amelia, and in spending time with her, I could see she was in trouble."
While sitting with her mom, Amelia continued, "When I'm in situations that I don't want to be in or that I'm afraid of, all of my decision making tactics and my brain shut down and I just start shaking and I start freaking out. I've thrown up before."
Both agreed that Amelia's choice to come home was the best decision.
"I can't imagine if you were still in New York, to be honest with you," said the mother of two, who also shares daughter Delilah Belle Hamlin, 21, with husband Harry Hamlin.
"I really can't either," Amelia said. "I'm just so much happier here."
And according to Lisa, Amelia's return to Los Angeles was pivotal — and potentially life-saving.
When a producer asked Lisa, "What was at stake for Amelia if she stayed in New York?" the RHOBH star admitted she feared for her daughter's life.
"I think what was at stake for Amelia if she stayed in New York was her life," Lisa said in a confessional. "Would she become suicidal? Would she make a bad choice in a split second because of depression? You do not f--- around with that when you have a teenager."
Later in a confessional, Lisa said that while "Amelia not staying in New York I think is just a bump in the road," she explained that "the plan is to get her back in school, but before we do that we've got to get her anxiety under control, and that's going to take a lot of work."
Amelia moved to the Big Apple to study food, nutrition and psychology at the New School — while balancing work as a model. And from Lisa's perspective, "I don't think you were ready to be there," she told her daughter. "I don't think you were ready —"
"Look, I can do my own laundry and I can vacuum my floor and I can make my bed and all that, but to be 3,000 miles away and also do it?" Amelia said.
Lisa empathized with her younger child, as she too was once in her shoes.
"I couldn't do it, remember? I didn't even end up going to school! You lasted longer than I did," Lisa reminded Amelia.
"And to be 3,000 miles away, I couldn't just drive to you guys and be like, 'Hey, I miss you,' " Amelia explained.
"I didn't even walk on campus!" Lisa said.
Reflecting on her short-lived college days, Lisa explained in a confessional (as a 1979 throwback photo of her was displayed): "Here's what happened at Emerson. I got in and five days in I was so homesick I thought I would die."
"I came home," said Lisa. "I went to University of Oregon after that. But I couldn't make it past three months at University of Oregon. I failed. I didn't do it. Oh yeah, I was f---ed up for a while from that."
Although New York wasn't the best fit at the time for Amelia, she mapped out some next steps.
"Take me through exactly what you've done up to this point," Lisa asked Amelia.
"I have all my math requirements to transfer into USC," Amelia explained about the university, "but this is so that if I get in, then I won't have to take another math class. I'll have my math credits for college."
Lisa then made a crack about Fuller House star Loughlin, who is awaiting her trial for her involvement in the college admissions scandal. (Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to Rick Singer and Key Worldwide Foundation to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to USC’s crew team, although neither of them ever participated in the sport.)
"That was the wrong thing to say," Amelia told her mother. "I'm trying to get into USC here. I'm like, let's not," she told Lisa, who continued to laugh.
"I'm joking, I would never, ever do that," Lisa said. "I wouldn't."
Lisa's joking about the ongoing college admissions scandal comes more than a month after federal prosecutors released the rowing photos they claim Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli supplied to get their daughters into USC. In court documents filed in early April as part of the FBI’s case and obtained by PEOPLE, Olivia Jade, 20, and Isabella Rose, 21, are shown — with their faces blurred — posing on ERG machines in activewear.
“It is despicable that the government would stoop to this level and release these photos when they were never even sent to USC. The government is trying to bully Loughlin into taking a plea deal,” a source close to Loughlin said.
Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery in addition to charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. They have both pled not guilty. Their court date is set for Oct. 5.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.