The reality star opens up about his relationship with his estranged wife and joining 'Dancing With the Stars.'
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Mauricio Umansky is making history as he laces up his dancing shoes. On Wednesday, the reality star was announced as a cast member of Dancing With the Stars season 32 and is the first husband of a Bravo Housewife to join the show!
Umansky was pleasantly surprised to hear how he's breaking the glass ceiling for Housewives' husbands. "Isn't that great? I didn't realize I was the first House[wives] husband until recently, and I think it's awesome," he tells ET's Rachel Smith. "I feel honored and I'm glad I could be the one to pave the path for other House[wives] husbands."
The real estate broker is paired with dancing pro Emma Slater and will compete for the coveted mirrorball trophy alongside celebs such as Ariana Madix of Vanderpump Rules and Scandoval fame, former Bachelorette Charity Lawson, who was announced as a contestant shortly after her engagement to Dotun Olubeko, Jamie Lynn Spears, who plans to donate her salary from the show to SAG-AFTRA and the WGA amid the ongoing strikes, singer Jason Mraz and actress Mira Sorvino.
The competition is a different playing field than Umansky is used to, which he readily admits when asked if he's prepared for the challenge. "This is something completely different than I've ever done -- it's completely outside of my comfort zone," he tells ET. "There [are] certain moves... I mean, dancing [is] never something I'd do on national television. It's something I've always wanted to learn, you know, I'm a Latino and I've got that blood in me already."
Slater advocates for her partner, telling ET that the reality star certainly has the moves to match his passion.
"I was just telling somebody earlier; for me, it's about putting the technique and almost the finishing tone and touches on movement that he already has," she explains. "So I really like the potential, you know? You can't teach that kind of joy and zest for the dance, and he has it."
Umansky admits that he had a moment of panic the night before rehearsal, even joking that he wanted to retract signing up. "And then I got to rehearsal and my feet could not have been heavier," he says to Slater's protests. "But we have rehearsed four times, and it just feels so good. I'm literally at home dancing all the time. In the shower, I'm dancing, my kids are like, 'You're dancing all the [time].' I come home, I'm dancing, I'm dancing in the office... It's just been so much fun."
The father of three shares that his daughters have been "super supportive," and fans can look forward to seeing his girls in the audience when the show begins airing.
Umansky shares three daughters, Alexia, 27, Sophia, 23, and Portia, 15, with estranged wife Kyle Richards, including her 34-year-old daughter, Farrah Brittany, whom she shares with her first husband, Guraish Aldjufrie. The couple recently made headlines for their marital woes, although the real estate broker says that won't affect Richards' presence during the competition series.
The Bravoverse was shocked when news broke on July 3 that Richards and Umansky decided to separate after 27 years of marriage.
A source close to the pair told People that the Buying Beverly Hills real estate agent and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star "have been separated for a while now but are still living under the same roof. They remain amicable as they figure out what’s next for them and their family."
The couple addressed the situation shortly thereafter, denying they were getting divorced, but admitting they'd had a "rough year" in their marriage.
Despite the difficulty of their situation, the couple has emphasized the amicable nature of their separation. Umansky tells ET that fans will "100 percent" see the entire family during the season to support his journey.
"You know, we're hanging in there, we're working through all of our things, which everybody knows about, and we're just taking it day by day," Umansky says of his relationship with Richards. "We're trying not to let the press influence us and all of the social media and all of the stuff that's going on. So we're trying to just ignore that and figure that ourselves."
"I can tell you we are both happy," he adds.
As for the upcoming Dancing With the Stars season, Umansky says that he hopes audiences will enjoy what he and the rest of the cast bring to the competition. "I hope that they get invested in my journey and in our journey together, and the way we will approach the season and all of the dances, I'm very excited about it."
"I've been talking to Emma a lot about it, and she's got some really great creative ideas," he adds. "We're just very excited about it."
Season 32 of Dancing With the Stars will air its extended, live premiere Sept. 26 on ABC.