8 Things We Learned From Yolanda Hadid’s ‘Believe Me’: ‘RHOBH’ Secrets and New David Foster Divorce Details!
By Brice Sander
St. Martin's Press
Yolanda Hadid is ready to tell all, just not in the way you think.
The former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star’s memoir, Believe Me: My Battle With the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease, is out today -- and while she does share new revelations about her life, it isn’t a tell-all. The book is focused around her health journey, so don’t expect details on daughters Gigi and Bella’s love lives, or scandalous tales from her own modeling days.
Here are eight things we did learn from the incredibly candid book, which will have you walking away believing Yolanda’s difficult battle with Lyme disease.
1. She signed on for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as a financial decision.
Even though Yolanda’s then-husband, David Foster, is one of the wealthiest men in music, the pair kept their finances separate. Yolanda says the music producer liked it that way after some battles over money in his three previous marriages.
“I married David for love and not to be taken care of,” she shares. “I understand he’s sensitive around finances. Of course, he doesn’t want to provide for my children. That’s Mohamed’s job and my job and exactly the reason why I am very driven to keep working.”
Yolanda signed a four-year contract with Bravo, making a six-figure salary for each season on the show. She had big plans to launch a “romance product line,” featuring candles, greeting cards and a flower service. The company never came to fruition, though, because her focus turned 100 percent to her Lyme battle.
2. She credits Housewives with being the major wake-up call for her health issues.
When she first started filming the show back in 2012, Yolanda didn’t yet know she was battling Lyme disease -- in fact, she still doesn’t know how or when she got it, as it could have lied dormant in her system since childhood. (It’s later revealed in the book that multiple members of her family, including her kids, Bella and Anwar, and her mother, struggle with the disease, too.) As filming went on, Yolanda began to notice issues with thinking clearly and finding words to accurately get her message across. It all came to a head at a party they shot for season three, when she got in a major fight with co-star Taylor Armstrong.
“Out of desperation, I blurt out, ‘You are such an a**hole,’” she recalls. “I stun myself. Because my first language isn’t English, I’m extremely conscious of the words I choose … It’s the moment that shakes and wakes me up. Something is really wrong with me.”
3. But she walked away from the show for her health.
Yolanda reveals that Bravo asked her back for a fifth season of Housewives, but she turned the network down. She comes to the realization that “money can’t buy the health and happiness I deserve,” noting that the show no longer resonates with who she is, citing the constant fighting as “toxic.”
“I also struggle with the way the show exposes my children’s lives,” she writes. “Gigi’s and Bella’s careers have taken off with the speed of lightning and they’ve lost a lot of their freedom as a result. Our home should be a private, safe place to anchor and recharge their batteries.”
Yolanda recalls the heartache she felt though all the Munchausen talk, even sharing the dramatic email she fired off to Kyle Richards, calling out the women for talking behind her back. Yolanda admits that she never considered any of her co-stars to be her “real friends.”
She viewed filming the show as a job, with the “best-case” for a sick person: four months on, eight months off, and she negotiated with producers to film when she felt up for it -- there was no exact time commitment she had to meet.
Within the first few pages, Yolanda reveals she was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus at just 13, which was followed by bouts with hepatitis. As she met with more doctors over the course of her Lyme treatments, she discovered a laundry list of other diagnoses, from metal poisoning, bacterial infections and loose silicone in her lymph nodes. Yolanda calls her breast implants, the source of the leaked silicone, her “No. 1 screw-up,” health-wise.
Yolanda also discovers, rather comically, that her intestines were riddled with parasites. She made the discovery during a colonic, a routine part of her Lyme treatments.
“We see a huge creature, about sixteen inches long and so wide that it fills the entire circumference of the [irrigation] tube moving through in perfect slow motion,” Yolanda writes. “I can’t believe that big fat monster that just came out of my a**!”
5. She’s tried pretty much anything to help with her Lyme disease.
Yolanda kept a detailed health diary, documenting the years of medical tests, procedures and medications she has tried while battling Lyme. She started a chemotherapy-like pill regimen, which required her to down 150 different tablets a day, took up smoking raw tobacco, tried magic mushrooms and medicinal marijuana -- and even a combination of ayahuasca and frog venom.
“This is definitely an intense experience,” she writes of that last bit. “But I am always enchanted by the thought of a cure.”
6. While she never contemplated suicide, she did routinely ask God to take her away.
Yolanda recalls at least three instances where she wished for death in the book, but she never actually attempted to take her own life. She just wanted freedom from suffering, praying to God each time. Her lowest moment came on a trip to Miami, a trip she did not feel well enough to make, but that she claims David forced her into.
Yolanda walked to the beach, stripped naked and entered the ocean waters. “God, please just take me in a way,” she says to herself. “Please carry my body away. I just want to disappear.”
Other instances were in private, mostly lying in her bathroom, seeking pain relief on the cold tile floor and repeating this sad mantra: “I feel like I want to die. I can’t possibly get through another day.”
7. She felt “trapped” in her marriage to David Foster -- but he’s the one who ended things.
Yolanda says there was a strain in her and David’s relationship as soon as her Lyme symptoms started, but he stood by her for the most part. That is, until she says he didn’t. In 2014 -- three years into the marriage -- cracks began to form. Yolanda claims David refused to join her on a trip to Bali, where she wound up reflecting on the state of their life together in her journal.
“How do I all of a sudden feel trapped by the most quality human being in my life?” she shares. “I feel empty and lost all drive to try to fix all the issues that have broken our bond.”
Still, Yolanda says she was committed to David, through sickness and health, and wanted to make things work. A little over a year later, in November of 2015, Yolanda claims David told her, “I can’t do this anymore,” that her “sick card is up” and that the marriage is over. It ends on the same day it began, Nov. 11.
The news didn’t break for a few more weeks, with Yolanda deciding to release a joint statement to the press after learning that various magazines had caught wind of the split. She and David did not talk for a year, but later reconnected over dinner ahead of a friend’s wedding they were both set to attend.
8. She sold her beloved Malibu home -- complete with the famous fridge -- because of her Lyme disease.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fans were shocked when Yolanda announced she was putting her Malibu home, complete with lemon trees and the walk-in fridge that nearly became a character of its own on the show, on the market. It turns out, Yolanda didn’t want to leave the impressive compound, but rather felt she had to.
“Its magnitude and the overwhelming responsibilities that come with running it are more than I can handle,” she admits. “We have help, but I’m still in charge of it all. The beautiful lemon orchard and rose gardens that I used to love tending to are not monsters of pressure. Not only do I feel trapped in my brain, I also feel trapped in this big, beautiful house.”
Yolanda wound up selling the home completely furnished, parting ways with all of her worldly possessions up to that point. She says she no longer cares about material things -- just about getting better and finding a cure for Lyme, which she dubs the greatest global epidemic of our time.
So, don’t ever expect a RHOBH return for Yolanda. In fact, it would be nearly impossible, seeing as she’s moved to New York City to start over and be closer to her kids. Believe Me is available at bookstores everywhere today, and tune into Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday for our exclusive sit-down with Yolanda for more.