Kyle Richards on the Reality of Separation From Mauricio Umansky and 'Not Hiding' It on 'RHOBH' (Exclusive)

Kyle Richards explains her current home life, hitting back at speculation she attempted to hide her reality from 'Housewives' cameras.

Kyle Richards promises The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills viewers she's being "open and honest" about her life on season 13, despite all the chatter online... and from her castmates. 

"I'm not hiding anything from anybody," Kyle, 55, tells ET. "I'm working through things myself, and I'm going through something, and I want to be able to be as open as I possibly can, and I will be -- when I figure it all out." 

"Open and honest" are words Kyle's pulled out often over the course of her 13-season run on the Bravo hit, but almost always directed at others. This year, she's heeding her own advice as she navigates an unexpected separation from her husband of 28 years, real estate boss Mauricio Umanksy, 53. The two confirmed their marital troubles last summer, after reports of a divorce surfaced online. As of today, they've yet to decide whether the d-word is where their love story ends. 

"[Divorce] would be when we can no longer do what we're doing right now," Kyle offers, explaining the estranged couple's current situation. They live under the same roof still, at their Encino, California, estate, alongside their daughters Alexia, 27, Sophia, 24, and Portia, 15. Kyle is also mom to Farrah Brittany, 35, whom she shares with ex-husband Guraish Aldjufrie. Three of the four (Farrah, Alexia and Sophia) work with Mauricio at his firm, The Agency, and star together on Netflix's Buying Beverly Hills; the whole crew's taken a handful of family trips in the months since the news broke. 

"We were never fighters, we're not a toxic couple, so we've been able to manage that so far," Kyle says. "It's gonna go one way or the other, you know? We're either going to wake up and be like, 'Oh my gosh! We could actually fix this,' or it's going to be divorce. I mean, I just don't know how sustainable living under same roof as friends and as a family can last. I don't know how that can last."

After projecting a fairy-tale romance onto TV screens for more than a decade, viewers were caught off guard when the separation hit last year. Kyle maintains she and Maurico had a great marriage; it was only this last year when things took a turn. As far as Kyle's shared, there wasn't some big incident that pushed her and Mauricio to separate, but she does reference a "turning point where the straw broke the camel's back." That undisclosed event drove her "to call it" and ask for a separation. 

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"I was always very proud of the fact that we were able to grow together in all the years of our marriage," she reflects, "and I think it got to a point where he was so busy, and I'm working and we weren't necessarily growing together, and I think that's when the problems that we had sort of put on the back-burner started to bubble up again."

A catalyst for what's proven to be a season of change for Kyle -- she's been sober for more than a year and put a real focus on her health and fitness -- was the death of her childhood friend, Lorene Shea, who died by suicide in 2022. 

"I hate to say it like this, 'cause it sounds so almost selfish, but really just working on myself," she says of what's bringing her happiness these days. "Working on myself is taking care of myself physically, emotionally and really digging very deep and learning a lot about myself, and with that means where I go, where I spend my time, who I spend it with and in that, I'm finding joy -- and it doesn't look like it used to." 

"Sounds like such a cliché when you lose someone to say, 'Oh, it really put things into perspective...' but Lorene was the person that was most like me," she says, "and I think in losing her and seeing her go through this, I really did think, well, we're only here so long and what is important to you? And who do you want to spend time with? And you want to feel valued, and each day is precious."

Kyle hosted an event in partnership with the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) in honor of Lorene this season on Housewivesduring which she opened up about needing to feel valued by the people in her life. Viewers interpreted that as a shot at Mauricio, who missed the charity night due to work obligations. Kyle's since defended his absence as simply a scheduling issue, but the sentiment remains. 

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"Yes, I did go through phases where I thought, why is our relationship not as important as work? -- which I'm sure many women feel that -- and I know he has a very important job, and not just with his work, but he has a big family to take care of and support, so it's not like it's all on him or all on me, you know?" she says. "I'm just careful about how I word it and what I say, because I do care about him so much and have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what we built, and I don't want to damage that by talking about it negatively." 

That's part of the reason why Kyle was not ready to shout her personal struggles from the rooftops, or rather, into the mic pack she wears for filming. 

"You know, we had not shared with our daughters yet what was really going on, so it felt strange to put that on television before sharing that with them," she notes, "but I didn't have a say in when the season started."

As cameras went up, producers seemed to catch on to there being more to the story than Kyle was initially letting on. 

"There were a couple of scenes where the producers said to me after, 'Um... wow. OK....' and, I don't have a good poker face, so I later said to Mau, 'I feel like that scene was uncomfortable...' and he was kinda like, 'What do you mean?'" 

It was those producer debriefs that resulted in Kyle ultimately opting to let cameras follow what was happening at home, including picking filming back up after the season wrapped to document the separation going public. While she wasn't necessarily hiding it -- she did inform the women during a retreat featured in the premiere that she and Mauricio were going through something -- she wasn't sure she wanted to expose all this to the world just yet. 


"I'm very open about myself, so it was difficult -- and Mau was not on the same page about wanting to be open about that, which is understandable," she says. 

The personal stress aside, Kyle says the most difficult part of sharing this all so publicly has been the outcry from strangers who send her DMs like, "Love is dead." It's a conversation viewers will see her have on-camera with Erika Jayne, who's gone through her own highly publicized and criticized split, before season's end.

"I'm learning that now, that we are a success story," she says. "We're married 28 years now, and 27 of them were great and I feel like I'm very proud of the family that we've built and we really helped each other grow, you know? We've been with each other since we were in our 20s, and we are very different people now than we were then, but we were exactly where we were supposed to be."

Under their current agreement, the two are "free to do what we want," which includes dating outside the marriage. Kyle doesn't go into specifics on who may have done what so far, but she makes it clear she is not dating 29-year-old country singer Morgan Wade, amid continued speculation. 

"She plays a very important role in my life, as do a lot of my friends," Kyle says of their relationship. "Everyone is so focused on Morgan. I've seen my other friends getting edited out of photos, they're just snipped right out, tossed to the side, you know? There's been very much people wanting to create this narrative, and I saw one story once that said we were walking on the beach and I was like, what? I've never been on the beach with her. It was a photo of me alone and another photo of her by a car, but that was the clickbait."

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In the early days of all the questions surrounding them, Morgan and Kyle played into the gossip fodder by playing love interests in a music video for Morgan's single, "Fall in Love With Me." It only sparked more stories about the two, which Kyle says she's become "desensitized to," as most of the time, there's no real story there. For instance, Morgan's choice to clear her Instagram of any photos of Kyle (also removing them from Kyle's page, as they were "collaborators" on most of their shared pics) was simply to usher in her next music era, not some subtle hint at a split. 

"There was a little bit of time where it did change our friendship, because this is not something that Morgan had ever been exposed to, this sort of scrutiny and being under a microscope," Kyle reveals. "It's just too much for her, so I felt bad about that, because as a friend you're like, oh my gosh. I feel responsible that this is affecting you this way, because this is not something she wants in her life at all."

Part of the reason why Kyle and Morgan have spent so much time together over the last year is because Kyle is producing a documentary about Morgan, centered around her decision to undergo a double mastectomy in the fall after genetic testing found her susceptible to breast cancer. It's why they were in Paris together, which spawned a series of "City of Love" headlines. 

"When you look at Morgan and me on the outside, we look like you know couldn't be more different, but we are very much alike, our personalities and bonding over common interest and all of that," Kyle shares. Morgan is also sober and a fitness lover. 

"When she found out that she carried this gene, and, you know, I lost my mom to breast cancer, we started talking more about that," she continues, "and I really thought, I really want to follow a story like this, of someone who is this age, going through something like this while she's touring on the road, living on a bus with her band members and a lot about the personal stuff they would see in the documentary."

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As they filmed, though, Kyle says the story evolved, with Morgan becoming a tabloid fixture thanks to her proximity to Kyle. What was going to be a feature film now appears set to release as a series, though Kyle can't share where yet. In the meantime, there's more of Kyle's story to unfold as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills wraps up season 13. 

"I think the biggest misconception, something I read out there is that 'she's done this stuff for ratings,'" Kyle says. "I mean, you think I could get my husband and children to sign on for this story? I mean, that's just crazy to me, and even the stuff with Morgan-- you know, I'm a real person and my life happens to be in front of the cameras, and it's been a very difficult time, so this is not something that I would like to have attention about at all. I would like to be able to deal with all of this privately while I figure things out for myself but I'm, you know, I don't have that luxury because of what I've signed up to do and being in the public eye."

The season likely won't wrap things up in a bow for Kyle and Mau, though she says she's "definitely seen growth" in her husband as he's been able to watch back their scenes on TV. 

"Also, being in therapy together and separate has been very important for both of us," she adds, but says explaining what she still needs to see from Mauricio in order to decide to stay together "is a very big question ... I don't know if I can answer..."

"I just hope that no matter what, that we always have love and respect for each other," she says.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Episodes stream next day on Peacock. 



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