"I will say that I'm very disappointed that people call me a bully, because obviously I don't feel like I'm a bully," Kary confesses to ET over video chat. "I mean, am I confrontational? Yes. Am I feisty? Yes, but that's very different than being a bully and that does hurt my feelings."
"I mean, I can't control how people feel," she adds. "People are going to be like that. And I feel like, if you take the time to go on my account and say all these things about me, I mean, isn't that bullying?"
Kary hopes the second half of season 5 turns things around for her and the viewers, especially now that she and fan-favorite newbie Tiffany Moon are in a better place… at least on the episodes. While the women worked toward a friendship as the season progressed, Kary says any bond they built fell apart as soon as the season started to air. The two got into social media battles of their own, with words like "bullying" and "snake" thrown back and forth as they each saw what the other was saying about them in confessional interviews on the series. Kary's need to make everything "fun" turned into a real point of contention for Tiffany and many viewers, as that fun was always on Kary's terms (i.e. pushing tequila shots and pushing people into pools). She says she's now learned that people have different definitions of fun and she needs to respect those boundaries -- and even admits that her birthday celebration went on a little too long (it spanned something like four episodes).
"I definitely regret a few things I did this season," she admits. "I think every season is a big learning experience. You really look at yourself and want to grow and become a better person. … [and] I'm not going to be pushing anybody into bodies of water."
Kary says she's disappointed that reliving those not-so-fun moments of "fun" undid the work she and Tiffany put into their relationship, but she's also quick to suggest that the pair was never destined for friendship.
"I just feel like she really didn't ever want it, to be my friend, and it makes me very sad," Kary laments. "I wanted to be her friend. So, that whole experience with Tiffany has really been very disappointing."
"I kept trying to be her friend and reaching out to her," she shares. "I was really trying so hard, since I found that she was going to join, to make her welcome and part of the group. So, whenever I started watching the season this year, I was really disappointed, because I did call her and apologize for throwing her to the pool. And then I asked her, ‘Hey, girl, do you think, like, I'm a bully? I'm sorry,’ she goes, ‘No, girl. I never thought that.’ So, whenever I saw her calling me a bully on TV and doing all these things behind my back, I did feel a little bit betrayed, kind of like, hey, I've given you many opportunities to talk to me and tell me."
"It seemed to me like the whole season that she was like, ‘Girl, no. I love you. Everything is great. I don't have any issues with you,’” she continues, “and then when I start seeing the show, and that she's feeling a certain way about me and talking behind my back, it hurt my feelings."
Those hurt feelings led Kary to call Tiffany a snake on social media (by suggesting she purchase a serpent-themed necklace from her own jewelry line, Kamo by Kary), which sparked a back-and-forth on Twitter that had both women unfollowing each other across social media.
"She's never made an effort with me," Kary claims. "I know she's made an effort with [Stephanie Hollman] and [Kameron Westcott] off-season a lot. She's texted them and really tried to be their friend, and she's never done that to me."
You are so brave behind a phone! You never said anything directly to me when we were filming! NEVER
Kary's also had friendship troubles with her longtime pal, D'Andra Simmons, in season 5, with disagreements over what constitutes a "good friend." D’Andra recently told ET she's cautious about getting close with Kary again after the ups and downs of the last year, and Kary feels the same. She says she’s fine having a "superficial friendship" if that's all D'Andra is willing to offer.
"I hope we can really move past that and hopefully be good friends, but two people have to want it, have to work at it," she says. "Friendships and close relationships are not easy."
D'Andra's said Kary expects too much out of a friendship with her, something that seemingly added anxiety to the Hard Night, Good Morning founder's life. She revealed she set up a recurring, weekly calendar reminder to call Kary just so Kary wouldn't get mad at her for not checking in more often.
"She's told that to me before," Kary admits. "I'm like, OK, then it makes sense. I don't want to feel like you have to call me, you should want to call me. If you have to put a reminder in your phone to call me, that means you have no interest in talking to me."
"It doesn’t matter, the phone call," she notes. "It matters the engagement and the phone call, and ... it feels like, OK, check. I called Kary. Check. I ask her, how are you doing? How's your family doing? Check. That's not it, it's not a genuine, heartfelt friendship. I don't care if you call me once -- I mean, I have friends that I talk to once a year and it felt like we just saw each other yesterday. It's the commitment to the friendship."
Fans should expect to see Kary unpack all those issues at the soon-to-film reunion, which will also be the first time viewers hear from Brandi Redmond off the show this year. The RHOD OG hasn’t done any press amid season 5, which documented the aftermath of a racist video Brandi posted online years ago. The former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader entered a mental health treatment facility to deal with the fallout over the clip, which comes up again on this week’s episode after D’Andra gets asked about the issue in an interview. In a sneak peek, Brandi reads a headline -- "D’Andra Simmons says RHOD will address Brandi Redmond’s racist video head on" -- and then confronts D’Andra over saying anything about her to the media.
"We all know that Brandi had a really, really tough time with the video," Kary reflects. "It was not her proudest moment, and that was her story to tell, and I was asked many times about it and I said, ‘I think that's Brandi's story.’ That's a moment that D'Andra took away from Brandi, and I think that was not her place to talk about it at all. I mean, D'Andra out of any one of us, she knows how the media works. She knows what she should say or not say, and what was going to make a headline. So, she used it, because I know she was trying to promote a movie that [she produced], and she used Brandi on there to be the headline, and I just don't think that it was fair to Brandi, to do that. And Brandi was really hurt."
Kary says she's excited for reunion day, and for the rest of season 5 to play out, promising lots more fun and, hopefully, more heartfelt moments that show her softer side. She's proud of the personal story she’s been able to share in season 5, from her daughter Olivia's journey with depression, to patching up her estranged relationship with her own mother. Kary credits all that growth to Real Housewives, noting the show pushes her into confronting the uncomfortable corners of her life.
"We are forced to really look into ourselves and see, OK, well, this is something's going on in my life," she reflects. "My relationship with my daughters, it forced us to have those conversations that I always think that I want to have with them, but when you're filming … it forces me to have those talks with them. So, reality TV can have negative [impact] for sure, but I feel like I've had so many positive things that have happened, like my relationship with my mom and my kids [has] been a huge part of it and for that I'm very thankful."