'RHOP': Karen Huger and Monique Samuels Sound Off on 'Messy' Season of Darby Drama (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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This season of The Real Housewives of Potomac is, apparently, all about butts, and there ain’t no but about it.
"Yeah, big butts," Karen Huger tells ET. "Men’s butts. Women’s butts. You know, all the above."
While Karen and her co-stars can joke about it now, some pretty serious allegations of sexual assault were lobbied against Ashley Darby’s husband, Michael, while production on season four was underway. A cameraman on the show accused Michael of “grabbing and groping” his backside while filming the show, going so far as to file charges against the real estate investor. The charges have since been dropped, and Michael has always maintained his innocence. But, as Housewives fans know, you’re often guilty until proven innocent on these shows.
"It's definitely hard not to jump to conclusions, especially given the history," Monique Samuels offers, seemingly referencing rumors that Michael had cheated on Ashley with men in the past, accusations the couple has also denied.
"I had to realize that, you know, they're human," she continues. "We're going through it together. I've been in a position before where people are trying to judge or pass judgment. We've all been there. So it's like everybody gets a turn."
"I know I can only speak for myself, I was being fair," Karen jumps in. "I always said, I need Michael to be totally vindicated. So I'm looking forward to that."
While the end result is known, season four will help to fill in some gaps in the story.
"When you see it in the news, it's, like, actual charges being brought up, it was very surreal," Monique recalls. "And then to know that it's gonna play out both ways on camera? I'm really interested in seeing how this unfolds for myself, because, being in the midst of it all, it was like a reality check within the reality show."
Monique says the situation made the whole cast take stock of their lives as reality TV personalities, as the "fourth wall" -- talking about the crew who puts the series together -- was, essentially, broken.
"When you're looking at the cameras and the people who are in your home, and then it kind of lets you realize that, wow, I really don't know the people that are in my home who I'm working with," she shares. "And then the other side it's like… like, it was just pretty, like, unbelievable. You know like, what is going on?"
Karen, whose own marriage and finances were under her co-stars’ microscope on season three, admits she feels for Ashley as she navigates this tricky situation in the public eye, which might surprise some fans.
"I have to say, even though Ashley and I have not always seen eye to eye, she's trying to walk in her truth and understands that some of the things that she did in her past are unacceptable," Karen shares. "She's making -- attempting to make -- amends for that."
"For three seasons, Ashley has been vindictive, malicious and a liar," Karen alleges. "The growth I see in her caused me to pause before I become judgmental with her."
"I have every reason to lynch her, and could do it well," she adds. "But I pause. I pause because I see a genuine effort in that direction to change what is wrong about her and she's making that conscious decision to change that. So, I hope [the viewers] see that. I haven't seen the season, but I saw it. And while I'm not totally convinced, I am open to the growth."
Even so, Karen sums up the season with one word: messy.
"All of the lies come out, OK?" she teases. "All is revealed. I’m like, yes! Vindication! Hello!"
"You're gonna see a lot of ups and downs," Monique shares. "Back and forth, mixed emotions. It's kinda like a roller coaster, it’s all over the place."
"A lot of forgiveness," Karen adds. "A lot of forgiveness."
"You're gonna see us actually, like, going through the motions, like, while it's actually happening," Monique says. "It's not like we look back and reflect and we're, we got our thoughts and ideas together. Like, you're literally witnessing, one day we felt this way, the next day, we felt that way. So, you're gonna literally see how we processed the information we were receiving."
"And I think the audience will find that relatable, because it shows personal growth in all of us," Karen tacks on. “Except for Gizelle [Bryant]."