Candiace Dillard Bassett Sounds Off on 'RHUGT' and Why 'Thailand Did Not End Well' for Her and Gizelle Bryant
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Candiace Dillard Bassett sums up her experience filming The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip in a phrase: "shenanigan s**t show."
"Can I curse?" she cracks to ET. "OK, bleep that out, 'cause that's what I'm saying."
The third installment of Peacock's Real Housewives mash-up series finds the Real Housewives of Potomac star in Thailand, alongside fellow DMV resident Gizelle Bryant, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Heather Gay and Whitney Rose, The Real Housewives of Miami's Alexia Nepola and Marysol Patton, The Real Housewives of New York City alumna Leah McSweeney and, a last-minute addition to the cast, Porsha Williams, formerly of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Leah's one-time RHONY buddy, Tinsley Mortimer, was originally set to join the crew, but dropped out just before filming.
"I was so sad, 'cause I was excited to actually, like, hang out with her, and then her and Leah were good friends, but Tinsley, you know, had to go off and live her best life and they ushered Porsha in," Candiace recalls, "and immediately it was like, 'Oh gosh, Porsha and Candiace are gonna have beef...' and I was like, 'I don't want to have any beef with Porsha!' We had our moment years prior."
When season 5 of RHOP aired back in 2020, Porsha was co-hosting Bravo's Chat Room, and didn't hold back her opinions on Candiace's headline-making altercation with then-castmate Monique Samuels. Candiace, once dubbed "a disaster on Twitter" by Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen, was quick to clap back online, creating an unexpected, cross-show feud.
"She said what she said, I said what I said, and we all went to bed, and it was over," Candiace promises. "So that was all going to like be re-drudged up, and I knew that would be a point of contention. So, that was kind of scary, but I was excited that Porsha was coming because she is great television."
Sneak peeks at the season show Candiace pushing Porsha's buttons a bit, bringing up questions floating around about how she got together with her now-husband, Simon Guobadia, who was previously married to a Real Housewives of Atlanta guest star, Falynn Pina. While it's a dramatic, trailer-making moment, it might not lead to the dust-up fans are expecting.
"I really enjoy Porsha," Candiace proclaims. "I think that before we had our issues in the press ... I always said, if I met Porsha, I think I would like her. She seems like my kind of girl. Like, a girly girl, like a fun girl. And then that stuff happened in season 5, and it kind of soured things, but we got to a decent place in Thailand."
"I got to know her," she shares. "Vibes always tell the truth. You can always vibe off of someone in-person than you can through the internet, so being around her and her energy, I like Pors-- I went to her wedding! I mean, she invited me to her wedding. That sort of says it all, and I'm happy that we were able to figure it out."
Porsha does have one strike against her in Candiace's eyes, though: her friendship with Gizelle, her Chat Room co-host. Candiace and Gizelle were not on great terms while filming RHUGT, having just come off of shooting season 7 of RHOP, which largely centered on Gizelle discussing how Candiace's husband, Chris Bassett, made her feel "uncomfortable."
"We had literally wrapped the season, two weeks later, we're on the way to Thailand," she establishes. "I had not seen any season 7 of Potomac, there was no-- we had not shot the reunion, I had known nothing. All I knew was what I saw, that Gizelle and I had talked about in scenes and moments on the show. So, I didn't know she was concocting these whole stories about Chris being all these different things, and telling different versions of the story, I didn't know any of that."
"I was still, I was really hurt, but I was still in a place where, maybe we could try to get past this?" she continues. "Maybe we could not subject these new girls, that we don't know, to our domestic drama and try to like move on in a foreign country, and have a good time... and it didn't quite go that way."
"Thailand did not end well for Gizelle and I, at all," she laments. "It really just cemented what I would learn later when I would watch Potomac, and when we did get to the reunion. I just I figured it out on my own. I didn't even really to see what she said on Potomac because she proved herself to be exactly who she is by the end of Girls Trip. So, I was over her -- obviously -- by the time we got to reunion."
That reunion featured some heated conversations between Candiace, Chris and Gizelle, as well as a tacked-on interview segment with Robyn Dixon, after she and Gizelle revealed on their Reasonably Shady podcast that Robyn's husband, Juan, had engaged in some inappropriate behavior with a woman online. That hit a nerve for Candiace, who unloaded her thoughts on Twitter, frustrated that Robyn would hide a truth of her life, while twisted truths about Candiace's husband served as the main storyline on the show.
"I don't know what what is left to say to Robyn," Candiace admits. "I have reached out to her, I do have a lot of feelings."
"I can be disappointed in her and also empathize with where she is, and that's where I am," she says, "but she's slowly showing me where we are in our friendship, and I know how to take a hint -- and once I take the hint, I'm quiet."
Robyn's life took another hit this month, as Juan reportedly lost his job as head basketball coach at Coppin State University amid an ongoing lawsuit, which alleges he did not handle sexual misconduct claims properly.
"I was really sad for her and her family," Candiace confesses. "I was really disappointed, but that was the way things went for her. ... Maybe she knew it was going to go that way, and he was ultimately going to lose his job, but she presented it to us in a much different way. So, for me, I was very stunned, and for her children, very hurt, and I do still wish them well and I pray this is does not have long-lasting effects on his career and on their reputation, because it's intense."
According to Candiace, Robyn hasn't replied to any of her attempts to talk. Meanwhile, Gizelle's been speaking on Robyn's behalf a bit in her own interviews promoting Ultimate Girls Trip, telling reporters she didn't bring up Juan's supposed Instagram infidelity on the show because she simply "forgot" it happened.
"It's just, as an audience member, I would be insulted," Candiace fires back. "Son't tap dance on my intelligence, OK? Don't spit on me and tell me it's raining, because that's what you're doing."
Candiace jokes (or, maybe not) that the Potomac cast needs "therapy together" before they jump back into filming. She hopes to find "sisterhood" again with the group, much like she did with the women of Ultimate Girls Trip. She shouts-out Heather, Whitney and Leah as her girls; and she gave the latter two a warning not to trust Gizelle.
"You know why?" she asks. "Because I think that for some people, Gizelle appears to be this shiny object that is, like, a crystal ball that you can rub and get all these toys and like fabulous things -- but all you get from her is ash. You don't want to be ashy; you want this part of our hand [pointing to the inner corner between her thumb and pointer finger] to be moisturized, and Gizelle's going to be ashy."
It's no surprise Candiace crowns Gizelle her biggest "disappointment" of the experience -- partially because there's a to-be-revealed plot line on the show in which Gizelle apparently accuses Candiace and other women on the cast of thievery ("I am not a thief unless I'm snatching edges," she notes). As for her MVP of the trip, that title goes to Leah.
"I'm going to give it to Leah, because homegirl-- for me, my worst nightmare is having to go and be admitted to a hospital," she explains, referencing what appears to be the medical emergency seen in the trailer for the season. "Like, if I had to go to Chicago and be in the hospital, I'm freaking out because I'm not at home, at home-base. But to be 12,000 hours from home and be admitted to the hospital and still want to leave and come back and be a part of the trip? Leah, she won."
Not everyone on the cast feels the same way about the RHONY star, though. Marysol, Alexia and Gizelle have all declared they have no interest in traveling with her again.
"How horrible!" Candiace tells them. "Y'all are some haters! That is so nasty. Leah is a fun girl. They were just-- so, Gizelle was bullying her the whole time, Porsha was helping. Alexia and Marysol, like, y'all shut up. They're just hating. They don't mean it, ask them again."
If it's not clear yet, there was plenty of tension on this trip -- so much so, that the ladies' Thai host, Pepsi, called them out on their fighting!
"Shame, embarrassment," Candiace recalls feeling in the moment. "Like, I wanted to hide my face, because here is a kind, sweet man, we are running him up in his house and he is reading us for filth! Yeah... we were all really embarrassed. Yeah, we were losing it, we were-- it was nice that someone called it out and could see it for what it was and was affected by it. He was really emotional, and it made us sit back and go, 'Wow, we should maybe shut up...'"
The trip was an emotional roller coaster for Candiace, who admits she went through "a pack of cry-angles," aka tissues she folds into origami-like designs to catch her tears without smudging her makeup.
"I had a lot of private anxiety about just being far from home and not knowing anyone," she says. Compounding her unease was thae fact that her marriage was not in its strongest place at the time she left for Thailand -- but it had nothing to do with the events of RHOP season 7. Instead, it was the fact that Chris' work schedule provided little time together.
"In hindsight, I feel like that was probably 75 percent of my anxiety, is leaving home and going across the world and not being in a good place with my best friend," she says. "Like, I've never gotten into a fight with my husband and then got on a plane to go on the other side of the world-- like, that's never happened before, so I was losing it a little bit."
"Ten days in Thailand, I wouldn't do that again if I could help it," she adds. "I'd have him come with me."
Candiace says she and Chris are in a much better place now, and that absence did make the heart grow fonder. They're preparing for their next chapter, after freezing embryos as an "insurance policy" for whenever they're ready to expand their family. Fans thought Candiace might have some news to share after tweeting out, "How should I announce when I’m pregnant?"
"I am not pregnant, that's my announcement," she clarifies. "So, where that came from, Lindsay Lohan -- congratulations to her -- she announced recently that she was pregnant, and I feel like Lindsay ... we grew up together. We grew up with Lindsay, so for me it's like, almost an inspiration to see someone her age, close to me, having her first child and it just made me think about, well, how would I announce if I were to get pregnant? And I want it to be something grandiose, obviously, and fabulous, so let me ask the people and, you know, of course, Twitter took it and ran with it."
Candiace admits she got some "good ideas" from her followers, but for now, she's focused on her business babies. She recently dropped the deluxe edition of her album, Deep Space, and is headed out on the second leg of a tour promoting the record.
"I am not saying that I wouldn't get pregnant and go on tour, or get pregnant and keep working -- I am going to always work," she declares. "We are now at the phase where we are discussing when would be the best time to implant, and what that would look like, what that means for my body, but then, once the bun is in there and he or she is firmly attached? I am going to continue to drop it like it's hot."
"I may fuss a little bit here and there," she says. "I am still going to be out here in these streets."
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Thailand streams Thursdays on Peacock starting March 23, with the debut of the first three episodes. Deep Space Deluxe is available wherever you listen to music, and tickets are on sale now for Candiace's upcoming performances.
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