Luann de Lesseps on 'RHONY' Season 12 and Keeping Her Relationship a Secret for More Than a Year (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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Luann de Lesseps is, arguably, living her best life right now.
The Real Housewives of New York City star recently confirmed that she's dating her touring agent, Rich Super. But now, she tells ET they've actually been an item for nearly two years -- around the time she started taking her cabaret show, #CountessandFriends, out on the road, with his help.
"I just wasn't sure where it was going, so I didn't really talk about it," she confesses. "He’s very supportive and he’s just a great touring agent. He’s got really great clients, [internet personality] Randy Rainbow being one of them and [Long Island Medium star] Theresa Caputo, who does her live shows. So he’s a great guy and I’m lucky."
The pair's romance is long distance, as Luann is based on the East Coast and Rich works from the West Coast, but the reality star admits it hasn't been too hard to balance.
"It's a bit of a back and forth, but we're dating and it's really nice," she shares. "I'm traveling a lot, with the cabaret shows, so it's not always easy, but I think, at least, your agent gets it because he's the one who booked it."
Luann says Rich pursued her for about five months before she ultimately said yes to a date.
"Believe me, it wasn't easy," she says of winning her over. "I was like, 'No, that's not happening,' and then, he just wore me out … and then it just turned into a really great working relationship, as well as a romantic one."
As for where the relationship is headed, Luann says she's not pushing for anything. She split from her husband of seven months, Tom D'Agostino, in 2017.
"Listen, I never say never," she says of getting married again. "I'm a hopeless romantic, I was married twice already and they say, three times' a charm, so you know, who knows? I’m not in a big hurry to do anything right now, I'm just enjoying the moment … I’m enjoying the relationship."
Luann says Rich has her now-adult kids, Victoria and Noel’s, stamp of approval, but RHONY fans will have to wait to meet him. He won’t appear on the show’s upcoming 12th season. What views will see, though, is Luann celebrating the end of her year-long probation sentence, stemming from her 2017 arrest in Palm Beach, Florida.
"That was weighing really heavily on me," she admits. "It's finally behind me and I'm writing a book about the journey because, let me tell you, it wasn't an easy one and, and I think a lot of the reason why people are so into [my cabaret] show is, I talk about it, I joke about it, in my show. I self-deprecate about it because it was such a tragedy for me and so, now I try to make light of it, because it happened, it’s behind me and I think there are lessons to be learned from it. And, you know, I'm still learning those lessons and plugging them into my life."
When Luann and her RHONY co-stars appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen at BravoCon in November, Tinsley Mortimer announced to the crowd that Luann could drink again now that her probation was done. But Luann says, Tinsley is misinformed. She says, for now, she's staying sober, but it's a day-by-day decision.
"My focus is on my cabaret," she declares. "Obviously I couldn't have this career if I was a hot mess."
Luann is selling out theaters coast to coast on the current leg of her #CountessandFriends tour, with a string of Christmas-themed shows. Come 2020, she'll debut a new show called Marry, F, Kill, which she promises will be "more about sex, relationships and men, of course." There will also be plenty of new stories about RHONY, which will soon wrap up production on season 12, the first season in years to not feature OG Housewife Bethenny Frankel, who abruptly announced her departure from the Bravo hit back in August. In her place, so to speak, will be new Housewife Leah McSweeney.
"You know, Bethenny has been replaced," Luann quips. "Bethenny has been a huge character on the show, she's come and gone herself from the show. So, you know, wishing her the best, as well. You know, everybody has got their life and she chose to leave, so we were all just surprised by it. We found out just like you did. So, we were kind of surprised and shocked by it. And, like I said, she's doing her thing and wish her the best."
Luann says she hasn’t spoken to or heard from Bethenny since her exit from the show, but has taken a "liking to" the newbie, Leah.
"What's great about Leah is, it's not an easy group of women to walk into and I think that she can hold her own," Luann remarks. "I think that people will like her, she's different. She's downtown, she's younger. She's a young mom."
"She's also vulnerable, and I think that’s very important because you feel like you get to know her, and we can all relate to her, which is really important for being a Housewife," she adds.
Luann says Tinsley serves as Leah's entry point to the group, which is interesting as it’s been widely speculated that Tinsley has stepped back from filming the series, and hanging with the women, in the last couple of months as she’s spending more time in Chicago with her now-fiance, Scott Kluth.
"Well, we'll see where that goes, you know?" Luann teases. "She, obviously, you know, one makes a choice in life, and I don't know where she's gonna land. I wish her the best and hope that she has a long, romantic, wedded blissful life."
As for her other co-stars, Luann says she's excited for viewers to see them all take up a little more space on the show with Bethenny out of the way.
"Bethenny took a lot of the air in the room," she says. "[Now], there's more room for them to express themselves."
"I'm excited that [fans] will see the relationships and how they've changed," she continues. "Dorinda [Medley] and I are very tight, you know, we have a crazy trip, always, to the Ber-serk-shires, and of course go on our cast trip ... There's a lot of drama, there's a lot of fun and we have deep relationships. We've known each other for a long time. So, it’s always interesting to watch, because it’s like family, you fight and, at the end of the day, you have to sit down at the Thanksgiving table and eat together! So, it’s a great season."
The season, however, will not include Luann's one-time pal, Barbara Kavovit, who joined as a "friend of" in season 11. The two had a widely publicized falling out in the press, but Luann says she's focusing on the positive right now: her relationship and expanding her brand as an entertainer. She's working on a dance track inspired by "divas" and toying with the idea of a Christmas record.
"I've gotten to my dream," she gushes. "I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. I mean, I want to do cabaret until I get 80 -- if I make it to 80!"