The 'Vanderpump Rules' couple shares the story that sparked their rumored split. Plus, how the pandemic has changed their relationship.
Lala Kent has entered the video chat. So has Randall Emmett… separately.
The Vanderpump Rules couple might be spending a little time apart -- Lala is with her family in Utah, while Randall is back home in Los Angeles -- but they're not splitting up, despite speculation they were done. At the end of last month, internet tabloids ran wild, claiming Lala had called off her wedding to Randall after all photos of the Oscar-nominated film producer disappeared from her Instagram account. The couple admits they were going through something at the time… something very petty.
"I'm gonna be so real with you right now," Lala tells ET. "We went to the grocery store and we got so much food, and as we were checking out, I would wheel out…"
"I can't believe you’re telling this story," Randall interjects, trying to cut Lala off.
"Because it's so petty -- it's so petty -- that you're gonna die," Lala says. "So, as he's checking out, just sitting there, really, I'm wheeling the cart out and filling the car up, so that we don’t have four carts to load at once. Then, we go to the house and I unload all the groceries -- he goes MIA. Not only do I unload the groceries, I put them away. This guy was on the boat! On a boat, waterskiing! I was so pissed."
"I was like, if you wanted a housewife to cook and clean, you got the wrong girl," she continues. "You got the wrong one. So, I archived [his pictures] 'cause I was petty. I was just petty like that. It's so stupid. It's so stupid."
"First of all, we didn’t need to tell that story," Randall replies, shaking his head. "I didn’t think! I was so excited to get back on the boat and then my phone started blowing up, and she was a little perturbed, but here’s the thing: I didn’t even know you could archive somebody’s photos. So I was like, whatever. I apologized, came back and unloaded the groceries with her and we moved on. … And then I start getting texts from friends of mine around the country like, 'I hope you’re OK.' I go, 'Well, I’m great. We're in Marco Island. I’m waterskiing.' He goes, 'No, you broke up with Lala.' I go, 'What?!' So, I don't even know what they're talking about, and then I googled to see and I'm like, 'Lala, what did you do?' She's like, 'I archived all your photos.' I didn’t even know that was a thing."
"I may or may not have been PMS-ing that day," Lala adds, with a laugh. She also claims she's able to archive all the pictures she has of Randall -- of which there are dozens -- within about 60 seconds, and it’s not the first time she's done it.
A "cryptic" post in Lala's Instagram story only fueled the breakup rumor flames. At the same time she took down all the pics of her fiancé, Lala posted the quote: "Dear God, it is I who made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task." It's the fourth-step prayer in Alcoholics Anonymous, part of the 12-step program Lala is in to stay sober. She'll celebrate two years of sobriety in October.
"People didn’t realize, if you went three days before that, I started with the first step, second step, third and that just happened to fall on the fourth-step prayer, where I archived all of Randall's photos," she notes. "So, you put both of them together and it did look messy, but it was just petty."
Randall says his phone was flooded with calls, texts and alerts about his breakup, but the couple were totally fine. Lala says she was over the grocery fight in about half an hour. Yet she let the media cycle run a little longer than Randall would have liked, not addressing the speculation for more than 24 hours.
"Like, I wasn't waiting for it to, like, reach the top of its shelf life," she confesses. "We were in a place that was really amazing and I didn’t think about correcting it. It was, 'OK, I'm over the pettiness and I can go and move on.'"
For his part, Randall posted a family photo of Lala cuddled up with his daughters to his own Instagram page to send a message to his friends and family that everything was OK.
Some of the headlines surrounding the "split" claimed that Lala and Randall had unfollowed each other on Instagram, but the truth is they've never followed each other. In fact, they have each other blocked on the platform. It's a decision they made when they first got together years ago.
"We had seen so many relationships that got crazy because of social media, like they would see, like, someone liked your picture, whatever it may be, so we just blocked each other from the jump, and if it’s not broken, don’t fix it," Lala says.
The couple seems stronger than ever, having spent more time together than ever before amid the coronavirus pandemic. The global health crisis forced Lala and Randall to cancel their April wedding, which they've rescheduled for 2021 after toying with the idea of doing it this fall.
"My heart is set on something very beautiful, as far as just, like, the moment -- I don't want people to show up to my wedding and feel scared about their health," Lala shares. "I want them to only think about the love that Randall and I have and they want to share that with us. And, you know, I don’t want to look back on my wedding pictures and see everyone in masks. And I'm not saying that people that are getting married in this situation right now should look at their pictures and feel like their weddings are tainted, but Randall and I had a rocky start at the beginning of our relationship. I want the wedding to be, like, a brand-new day for us. The beginning to something amazing. So, I convinced him to switch it to next year."
Lala says she and Randall cried over the decision to postpone their big day, briefly discussing eloping before deciding they really wanted a big, blowout bash, because, as Randall puts it, "We put a lot of heart and soul into planning it."
Before the pandemic, Lala was adamant that reality TV cameras would not be at her wedding, but now, she says she's open to the idea of documenting the experience. She would just want it handled very carefully.
"I'm very protective of my relationship with Rand, and there are certain things, like, I'm really glad that cameras didn't capture our engagement, because it was perfect in my mind, and it wasn't open for anyone to judge," she says. "So, today I'm saying that I'm open to it, but then when I really think about it, I don't want people judging my wedding day."
She also doesn't want drama with co-stars overshadowing the memory.
"I wanna just have fun," she proclaims. "I don's want them to turn my music off because it's not, they can't get the rights to it. It's just a buzzkill."
The future of Vanderpump Rules is currently a little unclear. Season 8 finished airing in June on a sour note, with Bravo and the production company behind the show announcing that original cast members Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, as well as season 8 new additions Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni, had been fired from the show over past racist actions. The move came before the season had even finished airing.
"I said this the other day and people thought it was very odd, but it's almost like when someone's a part of you and -- they're not, they're not gone forever, but it's a change and you almost feel this weird loss," Lala says of processing Stassi and Kristen's departures. The cast reportedly found out about the firings at the same time as viewers.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, because it hasn't," she adds. "We haven't started filming, so I don't know what it’s going to be like, but it does feel like a little part of me is missing, because we've been… we have so much history, good and bad, and we've been through a lot together. So, you know, I-- it just still hasn’t fully hit me yet."
The network chose to terminate Kristen and Stassi after racially insensitive actions against former cast member Faith Stowers resurfaced amid the Black Lives Matter movement. Lala expects both the firings and the call for social justice to be a part of future seasons.
"Black Lives Matter, since this movement started, has always been near and dear to my heart," she says. "I like to say that I'm educated, but I don't think we could ever be educated enough. So, I-- my main thing is, when we do start filming, I don't want to speak for someone else. I don't think it's right for me to be a mouthpiece for Kristen or Stassi. I can explain how I feel about the movement and what I've tried to contribute to this movement, but as far as talking about them? I can't speak for the rest of my cast... I’m steering clear of that. I don't feel right about talking for someone else, when they’re not there to actually describe their thoughts and process."
Lala says the same for Pump Rules boss Lisa Vanderpump, who received some heavy-handed criticism for not taking action sooner when it came to her cast and racist actions. Some viewers have accused Lisa of not standing for Black Lives Matter and called her out for not casting people of color on her TV show. For what it's worth, Lisa is just one of many voices who get a say in who gets cast on Vanderpump Rules.
"I haven't seen any type of hate or ill will for any specific race, or gender or sexuality when it comes to Lisa Vanderpump," Lala says. "But again, you know, I think people have to speak for themselves. I haven't witnessed anything with her, but when something like this happens, a movement like this, which is very much needed -- just like the #MeToo movement was very much needed -- people have to speak for themselves. I don't want people speaking for me on something like this, so I'm not gonna speak for anyone else."
When Bravo announced Kristen and Stassi would not be returning to the series, fans called for Faith to be reinstated as a cast member. She exited the show in season 5, after it was revealed that Jax Taylor cheated on his then-girlfriend (now wife) Brittany Cartwright with Faith. Lala says she lost touch with Faith around that time, but the two reconnected in 2018, after the death of Lala's father, Kent Burningham.
"That was how the line of communication was opened, and then, after hearing how she left the show -- you know, there's been a lot of people who have come onto the show and then not been on the show and, for me, whatever the reason may be that you didn't return, I never want anyone to leave Vanderpump Rules with a pit in their stomach, because I know that feeling," Lala says. "I know the feeling of being scarred by an event and every time it’s mentioned, you get that heaviness. And so, I really just called to, to apologize for, for sending her off with that feeling. And you know, she was very receptive."
"No matter what anyone thinks -- people tend to have amnesia when things like this happen -- if you watch that season 4, you know all those episodes, Faith and I were thick," Lala continues. "She was my best friend. We had sleepovers every single night, like, that was my girl. And then when things went south, she’s like me. She's a runner. You know, I did that too. When things got hot for me, I ran back to Utah. She did the same type of thing, so I can understand that. But it was, when she reached out to me about my dad, that was -- when anybody, I don't care what we’ve been through, if you reached out to me about my dad, our slate was clean and we could start from square one."
In addressing the drama surrounding Kristen and Stassi, Faith admitted she would happily return to the show if the situation was right.
"She is so much fun," Lala gushes. "We've had great times together, so I’m not opposed to it at all. If they called tomorrow and said, 'Faith is coming back,' I think a lot of us would welcome her with open arms. There's a lot of things that have happened, but if you've seen Vanderpump Rules, we've done a lot of shady things to each other and we all bounce back from 'em!"
It's worth noting Bravo has yet to publicly announce whether Pump Rules has been renewed for a ninth season, and, as Lala points out, the show currently can't film.
"Our show is based on a restaurant and there's no plan to open those restaurants anytime soon," she notes. "So, we're just as in the dark as anyone else. I think we're just waiting, waiting this virus out. The main goal is to keep everybody healthy, so as long as we’re doing that, like, I’m ready whenever they’re ready and, yeah, I have no idea what the future holds -- as far as the start date."
In the meantime, Lala has made her commitment to Randall a bit more permanent: She got tattooed with his name! The "Boy" singer got inked with Megan Fox and her boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly (whose real name is Colson Baker). The trio met because Randall cast both Megan and Colson in his directorial debut, Midnight in the Switchgrass, a production that shut down amid the pandemic. The cast and crew briefly returned to Puerto Rico a few weeks ago to begin filming again, but ultimately shut down a second time after deciding to relocate the shoot to California. Randall says about 35% of the movie is complete.
"So, we're sitting there in Puerto Rico and they're like, 'We're gonna all get tattoos of our significant other,' and I'm like, 'Whoa. Whoa. I am old. I am not getting a tattoo. I am not cool like you, Colson, or Megan Fox or Lala,'" Randall recalls. "So, they all did their tattoos and, honestly, it was very, very sweet and romantic. … And I was very emotional that Lala did that, because I had no idea she was gonna do that. I thought it was Megan and, and Colson getting a tattoo. I didn’t know Lala was throwing in the 'Rand.'"
Lala says Megan and Colson actually helped her pick out the font for the tattoo, telling her that her first choice was "too generic for the person you love." Lala wound up using her own handwriting for the tattoo, which sits on her biceps.
"It's my new favorite tattoo!" she gushes. "Here's the thing: Anyone can -- any chick can walk around with a diamond on their finger and be like, 'Oooh! I’m engaged. I'm so down for him.' It takes a real one to walk out of the house with his name tattooed on you. Now that is commitment! That's love, baby!"
Lala and Randall have bonded with Megan and Colson over more than just tattoos. The couples have become close friends over the last few months, even vacationing and double-dating together.
"Let me tell you the joke I make about our double dates, and they know I say this to their face: Going on a double date with Megan and Colson, it's like an individual date and a double date," Randall reveals. "The first half is very 'double date.' Everybody is conversing, we're having fun, we're laughing. The second half, they don’t even know our name. They’re just glued to each other!"
Randall says Megan and Colson just get lost with one another, kissing nonstop.
"They're very passionate about one another and very happy, and I mean, it's really sweet to see that I had a little hand in that," he shares, going on to confess that he had no idea his actors were falling in love while they were making his movie.
"The chemistry was second to none, but I just thought, I'm a great director!" he admits. "I didn’t know there were these undertones and all that, and now, we spend a lot of time with them since they’ve been together and it’s really sweet and beautiful, and I’m really happy for both of them."
The co-stars publicly commented on their romance for the first time on Lala and Randall's podcast, Give Them Lala… With Randall, making headlines for Megan's claim that she and Colson are "twin flames" who are meant to be together.
"Something I do pride the podcast on, we want our guests to feel safe," Lala says. "If there's something that they talk about and they get a little too free, because it does feel like we’re just sitting there, hanging out as friends, I will allow them the opportunity to say, I spoke too freely. Can we cut that out? Because I know what it's like to feel a little too comfortable and start spilling a little too much tea, and then it’s everywhere!"
"I told her, 'I'm gonna send you this episode. I want you to listen to it before we put it out.' And she gave full approval and said, 'I love everything about it. Send it out,'" she adds.
It seems the foursome is now pretty much cemented in one another’s lives -- Megan has even offered to be Lala's doula whenever she gets pregnant! And who knows? Maybe a double wedding could be next.
"Oh my gosh, could you imagine?" Lala asks.
Lala and Randall release new episodes of their podcast, Give Them Lala… With Randall, every week, wherever you listen to podcasts.