'The Real Housewives of Miami's Nicole Martin breaks down what went down at reunion and her ongoing drama with the OG cast.
The Real Housewives of Miami started out with a good season, followed up with a great one... and then delivered a divisive third that left the show "on pause" for nearly a decade. Now headed into a second version of a third season (season 5 of the reboot wraps up soon on Peacock), Dr. Nicole Martin fears history could repeat itself.
"I wasn't around 10 years ago when they did season 3, but I can tell you -- from what I saw and what I read -- that season 3 got really toxic, and there comes a point where people don't respect other people's boundaries," she rattles off to ET, sitting down in New York City. "When you come for peoples families, you come for their careers, you come for their children, then you start to hate your fellow castmates, right? And hate's a strong word, but when people can't get along, how do you film a group ensemble?"
"If you can't sit across a dinner table without wanting to basically poke each other's eyes out, like, how do you do a whole season?" she asks. "I'm honestly worried that we're teetering very close to that line, where it's gonna be hard to recover from some of the accusations and damages between OG and OG. ... I'm really hoping that people can be accountable for their choice of words and their actions, because people need to apologize or there's no place to move forward."
Nicole says "OG and OG" because the season is headed for a major fallout between original cast members Alexia Nepola, Marysol Patton and Adriana de Moura, with the former on one side of the to-be-revealed argument, the latter on her own. It all unravels on the cast's trip to the Bahamas, which continues to play out on this week's episode.
"I love to travel," Nicole declares. "Like, I am the first one to jump on a plane and go anywhere for any amount of time, and this is probably the one trip I regret taking. It was exhausting."
The trip started off fine enough, but Nicole says things took a turn after "the first 24 hours," aka when Marysol joined.
"The OGs have a very complicated relationship that I am not even going to attempt to understand," she admits. "Their relationship spans over a decade, and there's definitely deeper rooted issues than what happens during this season. I think there's a lot of pain and triggers from things that have happened ... 10 years ago, and I think a lot of that kind of comes up during an argument in the Bahamas."
"It's things that have been brewing for a decade," she teases. "It's hard. It's a lot to understand, and the newbies are kind of like, 'I don't know what to say...' It's a lot."
Nicole's fellow newbies are Guerdy Abraira and Julia Lemigova, whom Alexia and Marysol name-checked on a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen as the two additions to the franchise they enjoy. They purposefully excluded Nicole.
"It makes me feel like I live rent free in their heads," she quips, "and to be honest, I don't give them an ounce of thought when I am not filming. So, I don't know. Kudos to me for living rent free."
On that same episode of WWHL, Alexia and Marysol defended themselves from fan accusations that they've created an OG vs. newbie dynamic, along with fellow returning stars Adriana, Lisa Hochstein and Larsa Pippen. According to Alexia and Marysol, any tension is the invention of the newcomers.
"Yes, Guerdy, Julia and I are all delusional," Nicole deadpans. "I mean, when you have three grown women here who are independent, strong, successful women? I am sorry, but we just don't create problems in our heads, right? Like, there is a division because one has been created -- and it wasn't created by us."
"These women were the face of the show for three seasons prior, and then the show was not airing for 10 years and they continued to be the face for 10 years," she explains. "You have someone who has been the face of Miami for 13 years, and now you have three new cast members that are coming in and like contributing to the show -- because it's an ensemble show -- and they are not happy to share the spotlight with new faces. At least that's how it feels to us."
Nicole's cemented herself as the MVP of RHOM's freshman class, standing up to the veteran cast in argument after argument for two seasons straight. It's not a title she sought out when signing onto the show.
"Honestly, if they wouldn't have come for me, I would have never done the things that I did," she offers. "I'm very happy just kind of staying in my lane, and minding my own business. It's like, don't mess with me. ... Don't poke the bear. You play stupid games, you get stupid prizes."
While the bulk of Nicole's season 4 feuding went down with Marysol, she's found herself mostly at odds with Alexia and Larsa this time around. The anesthesiologist got into it with Alexia at a "lawyer luncheon," where Nicole used her turn to ask questions of an attorney (hired by Alexia) to learn about slander and defamation, two issues that have popped up in the group. Alexia found it rude that Nicole would bring up such topics, and even ruder that she'd offer her American Express Black card to the lawyer for his time if Alexia was refusing to pay for Nicole's questions.
"[Beforehand], I told her, I was like, 'I think it's a really weird concept,'" Nicole recalls, speaking to the legal-themed event in general. Alexia encouraged Nicole to use the time to learn about prenuptial agreements, seeing as she recently got engaged to her longtime love Anthony Lopez.
"I'm like, 'If I am going to plan a prenup with anyone, it's going to be with Anthony,'" she continues, "and she was like, 'Ay! Nicky, don't be like that...' She's like, 'Come ask whatever questions you feel are pertinent...' She's like, 'Knowledge is power!' I will never forget, 'Knowledge is power!' and so I went, and I was like OK, if knowledge is power, what's the one thing I feel like I need to ask to educate the group? Well, people felt like it was okay to slander, so I am going to ask him a question about slander. Don't give me a platform to ask a question and then take it away."
"Don't set this up, give everyone a platform, and then take it away from me," she reiterates, "and then, when you take it away from me, if you take it away from me on the premise that you are paying for the time, well, I will play for the time to make my point, because you clearly need to learn about slander."
The drama spilled over into what the ladies called a "gringo lunch," a gathering days after with their (mostly) white husbands. That's where Anthony and Alexia's husband, Todd Nepola, got into a sparring match over the "disrespectful" moment with the lawyer. Some of the women on the cast, along with some viewers, shared their disdain for seeing the men fight.
"If you don't want the husbands to get involved, don't invite them to [film]," Nicole says. "If you don't want Anthony to get involved, don't talk about his spouse -- and don't talk about his child. All of which they have done, right? Larsa last year insulted [our son] Greyson and tried to like question his legitimacy, and then she tried to start this [other] rumor, and so if you question a man's child and a man's partner, he is going to get involved. I think that's what any respectable partner would do. So either, don't invite them or don't talk about his people."
That other rumor would be that Nicole slept with every doctor at the hospital at which she works, a claim she immediately denied -- and which resulted in her disinviting Larsa from her engagement party via custom mirror invitation. It's since come out that Nicole had a relationship with one doctor -- and one doctor only -- prior to dating Anthony.
It's one of two rumors Larsa pulled out of her DMs this season, the other being someone spotted Julia making out with a man at a bar, despite the fact that she's married to tennis superstar Martina Navratilova. Fans have speculated that Marysol is the source of Larsa's info, seeing as she always seems to be able to back it up with claims she's heard the same things.
"That comes out later on in the season," Nicole reveals. "It [all] comes from Marysol."
And it's all discussed at the reunion, taped late last month in New York City. On the day of the filming, Housewives executive producer/reunion host Andy Cohen posted an Instagram Story announcing it wasn't on his "bingo card" to be screaming at Larsa during the sit-down special.
"It was impressive," Nicole says of Andy vs. Larsa. "I was like, 'I hope they don't edit that out!' 'Cause you have to think, we film for almost like... I don't know 10, 12 hours? We start at 8:00 in the morning, we finished at 8:00 at night, and this gets cut down to be 3 hours. So, I was like, I hope he doesn't edit out his yelling at her because, in my mind, it was well deserved."
"He was just like, 'Are you serious?'" she says. "Like, do you not see the problem with what you are saying? And no, she didn't see the problem with what he was saying, hence the yelling."
Nicole confesses she and Larsa are "nowhere" after the reunion.
"We leave reunion the same way we went into it, just not seeing eye to eye," she adds, quickly linking all her issues with Larsa and the OGs back to Marysol.
"I think it all started, really, based on these rumors that Marysol began last year in the Hamptons," she says. "I think Alexia brought me into the show her, you know she was kinda the one that introduced me to the women, and Alexia and I had a lot in common. We were growing close in the beginning of season , and I just think that Marysol being an OG, being Alexia's friend, is very controlling of Alexia and the friendships she makes. She was like, 'Yeah, you're not gonna get my best friend...' and so she just just decided to create a rift with these alleged rumors, that have yet to be substantiated, and at the end of the day she just keeps coming up with one rumor after the other after the other, and we have yet to see anything with any proof."
Nicole sums up the reunion as "intense," predicting it will air in three parts. She had "first seat," a special honor in the Housewives world.
"I definitely felt like it was a hot seat, but I feel like everybody kind of had their moment in the hot seat," she says. "It was like a rotating hot seat ... a Lazy Susan. It just seemed to come often to me."
While an emotionally exhausting day, it seemingly wasn't a very productive one when it came to resolving season 5's lingering issues.
"I want to say we left reunion and everybody was like, 'Oh, everything was hunky-dory,' you know, in the words of Kathy Hilton," she muses. "But, yeah, no. Things are left unresolved, and it's just going to be interesting to see where we go next season."
Nicole's biggest takeaway from reunion is "alliances run deeper than you think."
"I'd like an apology from so many people from the show," she admits. "I don't know, that would be nice, you know? I mean, there was some pretty s**tty things that they said, and it would be nice to be like, 'Hey, it was wrong. I should've had your back, I get you...' I don't know, [I'd like] for OGs to no longer have blind alliances. For them to be like, 'Hey, for this one time -- like, OG, you were wrong I side with the newbie.'"