The 'Real Housewives' star explains why she doesn’t buy Denise Richards' affair denial. Plus, she teases the season 10 reunion!
Try as she might, Teddi Mellencamp just can't help but keep her The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills co-stars accountable; but, she may have met her match in Denise Richards.
The two women find themselves at odds on the cast's trip to Rome, where Teddi opts to do as the Romans do and drop a drama bomb on Denise at dinner, which all plays out on Wednesday night's episode. That bomb comes courtesy of Brandi Glanville, the former Housewife who claims to have had an affair with Denise, which Denise denies. Teddi says it was necessary to bring up Brandi's allegation at that dinner.
"I'm not wanting to do that," she admits to ET via video chat. "It's a struggle for me, but once you watch the entire episode, you will understand why it gets to that point. But I also need to be clear: once something is already filmed, it is out there."
On top of the alleged affair, Brandi also accused Denise of speaking poorly about her RHOBH co-stars behind their backs. Brandi made both confessions to Teddi and Kyle Richards in what appeared to be an unexpected get-together shot at Kyle's house just before the Housewives flew to Italy. That timing had some viewers suspicious, with Instagram detectives claiming that the scene was faked and filmed after the women returned from Italy, citing a photo Brandi posted to her main feed in the same hair, makeup and outfit weeks after the women returned home to Los Angeles.
"Oh no," Teddi says, shutting down the theory. "No, definitely not. Here's the thing I can say about the show: they don't make up things. They're not going to have us go film pickups, that's not who they are. … They're showing it in real time."
For what it’s worth, people -- Brandi included -- regularly post photos on days they were not taken, and rewear outfits.
Another theory that floated on Twitter after last week's episode was that the whole thing was pre-planned by Kyle and Teddi and to take down Denise, with comparisons drawn to season 9's "puppygate" story. Last year, Teddi admitted to going along with what she thought was a plan orchestrated by Lisa Vanderpump to film a scene at Lisa's Vanderpump Dogs center to set up drama with Dorit Kemsley, whose adopted dog wound up back at the center through a series of events. Lisa has denied any involvement in that plot.
"I mean, if i knew ... that was the situation that was going to happen, I probably would have brushed my hair, put on a little makeup, made an effort," Teddi quips, referencing her "ragamuffin" appearance during Brandi's big reveal. "I was going over there to pack and plan for my baby shower. I was like, 'This is going to be one of those things that they never use. I'm a million months pregnant, I'm going through the motions…' and I think if you actually watch while Brandi's saying it, her hands are shaking. She's a nervous wreck."
Teddi does own up to that fact that the scene was set up in the sense that she agreed to arrive at Kyle's house at a certain time to pack and chat about her baby shower, but she says she had no idea that Brandi and Kyle’s sister, Kim Richards, would show up. Kim popped into the house first, before running downstairs to get Brandi, who was waiting in Kim's car.
As for if Brandi was wearing a microphone while waiting in the car -- which would add fuel to the fire that this was more than a random confession -- Teddi says she doesn’t know. Production easily could have tossed one on her before shooting her entrance to the house.
"I do know that it wasn't a quick thing," Teddi says. "She didn't, like, sprint up the stairs right after."
As Brandi's confession continued, Teddi says she couldn't help but to believe her, because the Brandi sitting before her was unlike the Brandi she had encountered before, at social events and as a guest on her Teddi's Tea Pod podcast.
"I was there in the moment going, holy crap! One, this woman is telling me the truth, and two, she's hurt," Teddi recalls. "That's what sat with me. ... This was a completely different side of her and I was like, I don't think she's bullsh**ting right now. I think she's being honest."
"I started thinking, oh my gosh, this is on camera right now," she adds. "Like, everything that she is saying is out there. So, no matter how this information is going to continue -- whatever it is -- it is now out there."
Because of that, Teddi says she knew Brandi's allegations would come to light whether she was the messenger or not. And regardless, at this point, Teddi and Kyle were now aware that Brandi and Denise had some sort of intimate relationship, affair or not.
"They're sharing information with one another and now we have to hear about it," Teddi says. "People are like, 'Well, Teddi, are you stirring the pot?' Or whatever it may be, once it's out there and it's going to be on the show, it's there. So, that was the first thing -- and the feeling anxious about that and feeling worried for Denise and all of those types of things -- but also having to come to terms with my own feelings of having my feelings hurt."
Brandi accused Denise of saying Teddi is "obnoxious" and that she'll "do anything to be in this group" because she's lived in her dad, musician John Mellencamp's, shadow her whole life. Those comments put salt in the wound that was Teddi and Denise's already tense relationship, after Denise labeled Teddi a "s**t f**king s**t-stirrer" when Teddi attempted to call out what she found to be a moment of hypocrisy: Denise using curse words around children after Denise was upset with the women for talking about adult topics around her own kids. Teddi thought she and Denise had hashed out the issue with a one-on-one chat at Kyle's last party.
"I had asked Denise to tell me how she was feeling about me and she was like, 'Oh, I already did. We're cool, we're fine…' We had a much longer conversation than was shown," she says. "It was pretty much like, 'We're good.' So then to hear all those other things, I was just like, this sucks. It really puts me in a bad situation, because I’m gonna have to talk to her about what she said about me, because I can't just pretend. I'm not like her. I can't just pretend everything is just OK all the time."
That appears to be a greater problem when it comes to Denise and the women; her co-stars seem to think she sweeps issues under the rug rather than tackle everything head-on. From the sex talk issue to the women's concerns about Denise's husband, Aaron Phypers, injecting himself in their drama and now the Brandi allegations, the ladies don't get the answers they want from Denise. The all vs. one dynamic that creates, though, has put the audience on Denise's side for most of the season.
"I think people see what they wanna see," Teddi says of the audience being #TeamDenise. "I can't base my life on what the audience is going to think because that’s not real life."
Since press for the season began, Teddi and her co-stars have claimed that Denise came into season 10, her second season on the show, with a want to control her image after being too open in season 9. Teddi uses that argument to explain Denise's behavior when it comes to confrontation, citing how she either walks away from conversations (and once told her husband not to say anything because cameras were around) or excuses away the women's concerns by saying she's "over" the situation, even if they're not.
"I think that if you can’t have real conversations, you can't move on," she says. "If we can't move on from the Aaron thing, if we can't move on from this because you only will let a conversation be controlled in a certain way, that’s a problem."
When Erika Jayne tried to bring up the group's problem with how Aaron speaks to them, Denise said they would "get to that in a minute," but never actually circled back to it. Instead, she pivoted to her original issue with the "Pretty Mess" singer, which was Erika having brought up threesomes within earshot of Denise's daughters at a barbecue weeks before. Erika had already apologized for crossing that line multiple times.
"She wants to control every conversation and talk about what she wants to talk about, but she only wants to keep bringing it back to the kids because she knows in that instance the audience is always going to agree with her on that," Teddi explains. "Of course! Nobody wants their kids to hear [about threesomes]."
"This is where it always backfires on the show," she adds. "If you're not being 100 percent authentic to who you are and you're trying to get the audience to see a certain portion of who you are, it always backfires in the group because we can feel it."
At the end of the day, Teddi says the group really doesn't care about the alleged affair; they just want straight answers from Denise, which she has claimed to give. The group just doesn’t accept where she leaves things, and that's seemingly why Teddi and many of her co-stars are willing to believe Brandi over Denise.
"There are some things that become completely evident," she promises. "Even in that moment if I was on the fence, now knowing what I know, it would be impossible for me to be on the fence."
In the weeks leading up to her RHOBH return -- and in the days after the episode aired -- Brandi has shared pictures and screenshots of alleged text exchanges between her and Denise that back up the logistics of Brandi's story about their alleged entanglement, to borrow a phrase from Jada Pinkett Smith. But the screenshots don't do much in the way of swaying viewers to one side or the other. At this point, there's just as much reason to believe Brandi as there is Denise. Teddi says Denise's recent behavior online, though, is more proof that Brandi is telling the truth.
"Denise posted something like, 'I can't believe Teddi would do this, say salacious things about me…' Why are you so mad at me?" Teddi asks. "I'm actually not the one that said them. I repeated them after they had already been said on camera that's going to air on television. So, why are we so upset at me? You can pretend that I'm a big s**t-stirrer all we want, but once it's out there, it’s out there."
"Here's the thing: If Brandi had a private conversation with me about this and then I chose to bring it into the group, yes! Call me a s**t-stirrer, because that's what it would have been," she continues. "But it was not a private conversation. It was filmed."
Denise's post came after Teddi shared a text exchange with her dad, in which he made a joke about Denise's alleged "father's shadow" comment. Denise has denied making that remark, but Teddi claims viewers will see the actress own up to saying "much worse" about Teddi behind her back in the coming weeks.
"My dad always texts me after every episode. He thinks it's hilarious, he teases me," Teddi says. "He's trying to make his daughter feel better, that's just been made fun of on national television about something that she has no control over. I always post our funny back-and-forths about the show. There's nothing mean or salacious or anything about that post. It is a joke."
"I wasn't coming at her, I wasn't talking about the Brandi affair, I wasn't talking about anything like that -- I simply was making a joke with my father and for her to take it upon herself to then post it as a main post on her Instagram truly shows me who she is," Teddi adds.
She believes the Drop Dead Gorgeous actress shared the screenshot so that Denise’s supporters would attack Teddi online. Teddi found it especially upsetting because she says Denise is aware that Teddi and her family are currently going through a tough time, gearing up for her 5-month-old daughter to undergo neurosurgery.
"My joke between my dad and I that posted had nothing to do with her relationship with Brandi," Teddi reiterates. "So the fact that she wants to post that, especially [when] she knows what I'm going through right now and she's like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna double down and I'm gonna really get her. I hope everyone attacks her today.’ Like… you do you, Denise. If that makes you feel better, you let that big narcissism show. You're 'Denise F**kin’ Richards!'" (For the record, Denise's original quote was that she's "f**king Denise Richards.")
Denise reposted Teddi's screenshot with the caption, "Grown a** woman stooping to that level … I was hurt you felt the need to share a salacious, untrue rumor about my marriage, especially given you are the daughter of a famous father and know what the potential impact could’ve been with my kids and family." She’s since taken down the post.
"It brings me back to the question, why so mad at me?" Teddi asks. "Why so upset with me? This didn't happen with me. I didn't bring this back into the group. I didn't become close friends with Brandi and share all of these things. I didn't. You did. So, why are we once again becoming the victim here when this was a choice that you made?"
These are questions that may or may not be answered at the season 10 reunion, which the cast shot virtually, from home, last week. Lisa Rinna labeled the day "bulls**t" on Instagram, implying that the cease-and-desist letter Denise reportedly sent to Brandi amid filming the season stopped the group from getting any answers they wanted to hear. Brandi was not present for the taping, but will film a separate conversation with Real Housewives executive producer and reunion host Andy Cohen.
"For Brandi's sake, I think it's hard if things are talked about you, and you're not able to be there to defend yourself and say your point of view," Teddi laments. "The person that's involved in the drama should probably be there so they can have their day in court, but … you know, if Brandi was there, Denise is not gonna be showing up."
On her podcast, Brandi revealed that she was originally scheduled to appear at the reunion, but the morning of, producers called and they came to a "mutual decision" that she should sit out the taping. Teddi says she has "no idea" if that was the result of Denise threatening to not show up if Brandi was present.
Ultimately, Teddi says she was left with unanswered questions when it came to Denise, though she says, "I kind of already feel in my heart what the answers are."
"It's a crazy reunion," she admits. "It's a completely different kind of reunion that I've ever been a part of. … I mean, tears from different people. Highs, lows, the whole thing -- viewers are in for a real treat. It was a hot mess for us."
That "hot mess" was on full display after the reunion, as some of the women -- Teddi, Kyle, Erika, Lisa and Dorit -- got together and posed for a picture captioned "Fox Force Five," a reference to the fictional TV series about a group of assassins that Uma Thurman's character starred on in Pulp Fiction.
Teddi says that in-person "reunion" was actually for all the women to get tested for COVID-19, as TV production in California starts to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic. The ladies seemingly still have confessionals to film for the remaining episodes of season 10. They got rough edits of what’s still to come this season, which should include Denise's much-hyped "Bravo, Bravo, f**king Bravo!" fourth-wall-breaking moment at some point.
"You're gonna have to keep watching," Teddi teases, also noting that Brandi will return before season's end to share her stories with the larger group.
As for where the group goes from here, Teddi admits she's "not surprised" to learn Denise unfollowed her and a slew of other cast members on social media after the reunion taping. But an unfollow doesn't mean Denise is done for good.
"You never really know, because things shift so much," Teddi offers. "My first season, Erika and I butted heads, like we couldn't see eye to eye. I love Erika now. We are close, I trust her. If I was arrested tomorrow, Erika would be the person I called. So, your relationships really do shift."
"If you both [parties] are really honest and you both say, 'All right, we're moving on,' it's possible," she adds. "So, I never say never when it comes to this group, because we're a group of, yes, strong, loudmouthed, opinionated women. But we also have big hearts. We also want the best for each other and I do think that you can change."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.