"My manager reached out and she said that they specifically wanted myself, Kenya and Candiace, and they were not going to take no for an answer," Brandi, who self-admittedly is not an actress, recalls of getting the gig. "And I was nervous because of Kenya."
Brandi and Kenya have some reality TV history of their own, feuding for multiple episodes of The Celebrity Apprentice's seventh season. The ladies tossed personal digs back and forth until they were ultimately fired simultaneously back in 2015.
"I was like, it's been a long time, maybe we can do it and work together and be fine," Brandi says. "It was fun. I mean, in the beginning, when I walked in the morning, I was on time, but everyone was already there -- and I had gone to the wrong stage, but I was still on time -- and she said, ‘Nice of you to make it.’ And I was like, oh no, we're starting like this? But it was fine."
"She lived up to her diva-ness a little bit, with, like, asking everyone to get her tea constantly, even like the producer," she adds. "I'm like, 'I think that's your boss. I don't think he's going to get you tea,' but it was great. She did a great job and we all worked together to do the best that we could. And you know, it was a really good time and I loved everyone on the set was so lovely, like really, really amazing."
"I thought it was kind of ironic and funny," Brandi says of hitting Netflix at the same time, with a lot of Housewives connections. "We were at dinner last night for my son's birthday, all of us, but then I congratulated him on his show and I was waiting for congratulations back -- obviously I was in one episode for five minutes, but it's nice. It's nice to have nice things being said about my ex and even myself, ‘cause we get a lot of negative things."
It’s been more than a decade since Brandi and Eddie split up in the wake of his affair with singer LeAnn Rimes. Eddie and LeAnn will soon celebrate 10 years of marriage, and Brandi says the big, blended family is finally in a great place.
"This took time and 10 years," Brandi notes. "And I think that LeAnn grew up a lot, and I know that I've grown a lot. We just we've grown up. We're not little brats anymore."
Brandi says she and LeAnn have bonded over co-parenting the sons she shares with Eddie -- Jake, 14, and Mason, 17.
"We're, like, girly girls, we talk about everything and it's all fine and great," she says. "Honestly, there's no weirdness, there's no awkwardness. The kids are super happy when we're all together and it's finally good."
"She went through some stuff and with anxiety and went to some rehab, and she's just a totally different person than the person I met at the beginning that was poking me a lot and then getting me to be super b**chy," she adds. "She's not that way anymore. I'm not really that way anymore either. I really don't like to fight. I don't, but I will. I'm not a wallflower. And if someone makes me mad, they're going to know."
RHOBH fans are well aware of that fact after watching Brandi on and off the show since she joined in 2011. Brandi last appeared on the series at the tail end of season 10 in 2020, bringing with her the story that drove the season: Did she and Denise Richards hook up or not? Brandi offered up so-called proof, while Denise denied, denied, denied, and the rest of the women were caught in between. The drama was never resolved, and Brandi fully expected to be asked back for season 11 to clear the air, especially after Denise announced she was done with the show as the reunion episodes aired.
"I was disappointed, honestly, because I felt like I really gave them their season," Brandi admits. "They used the few times that I shot, like in the trailer and every commercial. I didn't make very much money. I really thought maybe they're going to ask me to come back, because I did so much for that season, and it's just been crickets. No one's reached out to me. Not anyone to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I would've thought I would've gotten a phone call and been like, ‘Listen, we're going to go another route, but thanks…’ from anyone."
"I just felt like it was kind of crappy," she continues. "I had had conversations in the past about coming back, [Andy Cohen] and I had. He's like, ‘Maybe after [Lisa Vanderpump] leaves, and we'll look into that.’ And then Lisa left and then really, unfortunately, her mom and brother passed, and they were like, 'Listen, we don't want to pour salt in her wounds.' And I'm like, I don't either, but I want a job."
Brandi says she thinks her "Housewives days are done" after not getting a call for season 11, and that the writing was a little bit on the wall when production canceled her appearance at the season 10 virtual reunion the morning of filming. Brandi suspects Denise threatened to pull out of the taping if Brandi showed up on screen.
"Which makes me like, why?" Brandi asks. "You can walk away from the camera the second you see me. There's no point. Like, in the same room I would be like, ‘I don't want to be around Brandi.’ But if I come on screen, she could walk away. You know?"
"There was no closure for me," she adds. "There was no closure for the audience or the other women, and I felt like it was selfish of her to not be honest, because that's what you sign up to do on a reality show. And if you have skeletons or something, they will come out, as we all know."
Brandi is adamant that she didn’t come on the season with the intent to expose this supposed secret between her and Denise.
"It had happened the season before with Denise, where I wasn't shooting," she says. "And if I wanted to, I could have just said, ‘Hey, put me on the show. I have something to say.’ But I really thought that Denise and I had a connection. I thought we were friends. I was wrong."
Brandi says Denise "ghosted" her after their alleged encounter, and Brandi claims she felt "extorted" by the situation because Denise allegedly warned her that if her husband, Aaron Phypers, ever found out about the incident, "he’ll kill you."
"I felt like a cheater, and I hate cheaters," she declares. "So [production] asked me to come back and film -- they did not know anything about what happened with Denise, and I wasn't even sure I was going to talk about it. But all of a sudden, Denise is, like, calling me, texting me. She's my best friend again, talking s**t about all the other ladies. And I'm like, you're just as bad. Like, I was thinking to myself, you're fake. You're all of a sudden my friend, because you know I'm filming? But when I wasn't filming, you just let me hang out to dry with this secret that I had to keep, that was killing me because I don't like secrets."
Brandi says she confessed the secret to Kim Richards the night of her first scene back, which was after a charity event hosted by Kim’s sister, Kyle Richards.
"I was very inebriated, and I told her what happened and she's like, ‘You have to say something,’" Brandi recollects. "I'm like, ‘I don't think I'm going to.’ I go, ‘Let me sober up and think about this.’ And Kim was egging me on to talk about it, and I'm like, ‘If I want to talk about it, it comes up naturally, I'll do that. But I haven't made a decision yet.’ So then I go to Kyle's, and Kim's like, ‘Well, Brandi has something to say…’ I'm like, ‘No!’ I looked at her, like death in my eyes. I was like, I wish I had laser beams. And I was like, that's just not the way I would have wanted to -- I would have wanted to talk to Denise, on camera."
The moment Brandi brought up her Denise story has been heavily dissected by Bravo watchers, with many believing the scene to have been faked to fill in the gaps, as if Kyle and co-star Teddi Mellencamp learned about the alleged hook-up off camera and production needed it on camera to make the show make sense. But Brandi says, the moment was completely authentic.
"Why would it be fake?" Brandi asks. "If it was after, I would just say it. I don't owe anyone anything."
Kyle and Teddi took the information Brandi gave them and confronted Denise about it on the all-cast trip to Rome. When the women returned to Los Angeles, Denise stopped filming with the group.
"Since that night at Kyle's house and Teddi was there, I have not seen Denise," Brandi says. "I had a couple of times that I filmed after. She did not show up, because she knew I was going to be there."
While she's still wanting closure, Brandi has no regrets about sharing her side of the story on TV.
"It felt freeing, when I said it," she admits. "I'm like, OK, now people can think whatever they want of me, but I don't have to keep the secret anymore, and it was nice. I want to have a conversation with her. I do. I've reached out through her agent. I've reached out to her. I'm sure I'm blocked in her phone. But, who cares if two chicks hook up? I just don't think it's that big of a deal."
"And by the way, she's known for being a sexpot," she adds. "She's talked about it on Howard Stern. Yeah, she's kissed girls. I don't think it's that big of a deal. I actually think that people would have been like, ‘She's awesome. She's rad…’ for just saying, ‘Yeah, that's me.’ She just talked about happy endings and hookers, why not just say, ‘Yeah, we had a night?’"
The confession did have some unexpected fallout for Brandi, though. She and Kim stopped talking in the wake of the Denise saga airing on TV, after a joke about threesomes rubbed Kim the wrong way. Brandi says she and Kim briefly reconciled before losing touch again.
"We fight, it's just because we do," Brandi says. "I last talked to her New Year's Eve and I saw the promo for Housewives where [Kathy Hilton] said she changed her number. I don't know if that's the case. I texted her, I emailed her. Nothing happened to have us not be talking, and we have the Blonde and Blonder thing coming up [at] The Improv, we kept pushing it back, and so I don't know where any of that stands now, because we're not talking."
"It's depressing," she continues, "and I talked to Kyle about it and, you know, Kyle is not that close to her either. So she's like, ‘I don't know what to tell you. You’ve been such a great friend to her. I don't know what's going on with her…’ So it's sad because I do love her."
"I'm hoping that she found a boyfriend because when she gets a boyfriend, she disappears," Brandi says. "And that would be the best possible scenario, so she's happy having a lot of sex with a new man. ... I’m just hoping it has nothing to do with her being mad at me, because I just love her."
Brandi is still in touch with Kyle, a welcome surprise after years of not getting along. She says she’ll be tuning into the new season of Housewives, comparing it to "checking your ex-boyfriend’s Instagram." She just can’t help herself.
"That's my family," she says. "Of course, I'm going to watch it. You know? I watch it with a different perspective, and I want to know what's going on with that. You see all the headlines, but you want to hear it from the horse's mouth. I have questions, but I think we all have questions, and I want to see how it unfolds."
"I think it's going to be difficult for her because she's already lived it, and then to go back and watch it? Because she seemed real pissed, really pissed in those trailer spots," Brandi points out. "She does not have a good poker face. She was pissed."
"I lived a divorce, and then I had to watch it back on Housewives, and it sucked," she adds. "So, I do, I have some sympathy for her, for sure."
Brandi will also be tuning in to see Kathy make her Housewives debut. While Kyle and Kim’s older sister has popped up in guest spots over the series’ run, season 11 marks her first time as an official cast member.
"Kathy is hilarious," Brandi declares. "I was at a Christmas party at our house one year and everyone had kind of left and we moved into the office. She started prank-calling people and then it was so funny, and she's always laughing. She's always happy. She's the sweetest person, and if she has a little cocktail, it's real fun. So I think she's going to be great. And I think it'll be great. I like the family dynamic on these shows."
"Mark is my best friend," Brandi explains. "He was starting his transition from a male into a female. I mean, he was on hormones. That was the idea. We were going to do this journey together and he wasn't feeling well. He went into the emergency room and basically never left. He has pancreatic cancer. He had a Whipple surgery, which removed half of his [pancreas]. He's going to start really aggressive chemo. And during the pandemic, he lost his medical insurance because he wasn't working. I wanted to do something to help … so, I started a GoFundMe and I said I'm going to try to raise $50,000."
"His bills are already at $350,000," she shares. "I know it's a hard time to ask people for help, but it's not for me. It's for Mark, hopefully one day Mia -- like, that's what kills me is he hasn't been able to live his true, authentic self as a woman. And now he has this cancer that does not have a good prognosis. It breaks my heart. So, I not only want to help him with his medical bills, I want him to be able to then go and … live his true, authentic self as Mia."