'Selling Sunset's Emma Hernan on the Christine Quinn Bribery Plot and Not Accepting Her Apology (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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Christine Quinn's friendship offer to Emma Hernan has seemingly fallen out of escrow. Actually, Emma never accepted the offer in the first place.
"I'm super real, I'm super genuine. I'm a girl's girl. I would do anything for anybody, and [Christine] is the complete opposite," Emma explains to ET over video chat. "At the end of the day, I've seen too many people get hurt, including myself."
And it all plays out on Netflix's Selling Sunset, with the just-released season 5 ending on a sour note for the Oppenheim Group realtors, Emma alleging Christine (through an "associate") presented a longtime client of Emma's a $5,000 bribe to not work with the Boston native. Christine, however, denies the accusation.
"It's a hundred percent facts, just like the engagement was a hundred percent false," Emma retorts. "I don't understand the lies and everything else. I don't resonate with that. That's not who I am. That's not how I was raised."
That engagement Emma references is Christine's claim that she was one betrothed to Emma's ex-fiancé. Their conflicting relationship timelines played out on season 4 of Selling Sunset, with almost no one on the cast believing Christine's story that she was previously engaged to the man, whom gossip blogs have pegged as fellow O Group agent Peter Cornell. Emma maintains that Christine and their mutual ex were never engaged, even sharing with ET that he denies the story.
"I'm super close with him," she notes. "He is basically close with every single person on the show. So, he knew what was transpiring and what was going on. And of course, when the fake 'engagement' was mentioned, it was mind-blowing to him, to everyone, that that was even thrown out there. You know?"
"He was like, 'Something is not right in the head to make up an engagement,'" she continues. "That's not normal behavior, so I don't understand it at all. I would never do that, but people sometimes get a little crazy."
Emma seems to believe Christine's alleged bribe is retaliation for the drama over their ex, which Emma says predates the show. In season 4, both Christine and Emma shared variations of a years-old story about a parking lot confrontation over the man. Christine recalls being cool, calm and collected, while Emma remembers feeling frightened by the way her now-co-worker handled things, claiming she banged on Emma's car window and trapped her in the lot.
"Even before coming onto the show, I had to deal with her harassing me and doing things to me for years -- years! -- and that was a huge reason why I was hesitant to jump on the show because clearly, I knew it was not going to go over well," Emma explains of her dynamic with Christine. "I've taken the high road since day one. Since I found out about her, I've taken the high road. I've not engaged, and I continue to do that. But at some point, it gets to a point where this is not OK behavior, and there's right, and there's wrong. And she's gotten to a point where it's so bad."
In season 5, viewers see Christine offer an apology to the wider group at a tea party, along with an olive branch to Emma in particular.
"I want everyone to know that I am genuinely doing everything I can to mend relationships with everyone. I know I’ve f**ked up," Christine tells her co-stars. "Emma, I would love for you to just, you know, be open to me a little bit. Just be open. ... I just would love if you would get the chance to know me and I would love to get to know more about you, I really would."
In the moment, Emma tells Christine she needs to see action that backs up her words; then, in a confessional interview, Emma admits she's not interested in entertaining any relationship with Christine. In fact, she says the only way that might happen is if Christine died and reincarnated as an entirely different human.
"This is actually something that I want to clarify, because when she sees me and the other girls, it's always, 'Hi, babe, how are you? You look beautiful!' But at the end of the day, I do know all of the negative things that are being done," Emma shares. "Calling [tabloids], giving them my home address, trying to put out stories that me and my ex are together. Seeing me and my ex out in a group setting, taking pictures of us, and giving it to the press. I don't agree with that. And then, definitely don't come at me with, 'Hey, I want to be friends...' because you're doing really awful things behind closed doors."
When season 4 hit Netflix in the fall, posts popped up on gossip sites reporting on Emma hanging out with Peter. She believes Christine to be the source of those stories.
"We ran into her at a restaurant -- she was there, we obviously didn't go up to each other, but she was there -- all of a sudden, from that day, there's a picture that comes out of me, my ex," Emma says. "It was a group setting; I wasn't even sitting next to him! [But] that comes on some media outlet? There's something not right about the situation."
For the record, Emma says she and her ex have never rekindled their romance since splitting up, but remain close friends. As for Christine, Emma finds it cowardly that the How to Be a Boss B***h author ghosted her meeting with bosses Jason Oppenheim and Mary Fitzgerald to discuss the supposed bribe.
"I think that that says a lot," Emma admits. "If you have nothing to hide, show up and say your piece and say what happened. But when you have a guilty conscience, and you can't-- that's what the problem is, is that the truth never changes. But when you're lying, you're doing these awful things, it's hard to keep up with the story. So, it was easier not to show up."
Season 5 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger when it comes to Christine's future at the O Group, and Emma confesses to still not knowing Christine's current employment status.
"Obviously, I'm not the boss, but it's come to a point where she's hurt each and every single one of the girls on the show, on the cast, in the O Group," Emma rattles off. "So, Jason's going to have to make that decision, but she's also saying things about Jason. But he's the boss, so TBD. I don't think anyone knows at this point. Jason's got to make that decision."
It seems clear that the majority of the women at the O Group want nothing to do with Christine (save for newcomer Chelsea Lazkani, who remains ride or die for her controversial castmate). They all say about as much during a broker's open midseason, confronting Christine for her behavior. Christine cries during the conversation, with Chelsea calling out the cast for "bullying" Christine. Emma realizes some viewers will see everything from Christine's POV, but stands firm in her belief that the group isn't full of mean girls; there's only one "mean girl," and that's Christine.
"If you look at facts and you look at the way that these girls-- these girls welcomed me with open arms, and they welcome everybody with open arms," Emma explains, calling back to her introduction to the group in season 4. "I know when I walk out of the room, they're not saying negative things about me or any of the other girls. I have to say -- and I've experienced a lot of negativity from girls, even in high school, and bullies and things like that -- these girls are so supportive. The epitome of women empowerment are these girls, besides Christine who has hurt each and every single one of the girls."
"If you really look at the big picture, there's only one person that's trying to hurt everybody," she reiterates. "And these girls are not only my friends, my family, but they're really good people."
Christine has never denied the fact that she's out to make good TV, and sometimes leans into the "villain" role to stir up drama for the sake of entertainment. Emma isn't into that.
"I think that's a cop out," Emma says of "playing" a role on the show. "I think that she tries to blame the show, and sometimes blame production, but at the end of the day, nobody is making her do these crazy things. If anything, she doesn't want half of the things to come out. So, that's my take on that."
"I obviously don't think she's a good person at all," she continues. "If there [were] two people more opposite in the entire world, it would be her and I. So, I take the high road."
Emma understands that the all vs. one dynamic may come off as cruel to some viewers, but points out that many of the group's issues with Christine break the fourth wall. It's often her comments in interviews or to paparazzi that create controversy, but to discuss that on camera forces the group to face their fame. The wall comes down a bit in season 5, but it's not demolished yet. She hopes the cast is fully able to cross that line at the soon-to-tape reunion, a first for the Selling Sunset crew.
"A lot of the things that people are upset about involve press," she repeats. "I think that the reunion will be a really good place to address a lot of the issues, and hopefully, we have some positive things to talk about, too. But maybe it will mend friendships and make things better. You never know."
"It's one of those things where I'm definitely not excited about it," Emma goes on to admit. "I hate drama and anything like that ... but I think it will be good for everyone to get their stories out and address things that have been brewing for a while. So, I think it will be good for not only the cast and the girls at the O Group, and Jason and Brett [Oppenheim], but also too, the audience, to see what's going on behind scenes. And maybe you'll get an opening to what's actually going on, you know? Obviously, with the show, there's only a certain amount of time to show everything. So, I think it'll be really good to hear different perspectives and things that maybe we can't talk about on the show and things like that."
The reunion will likely dive into romantic territory, as well, especially with a large chunk of season 5 focusing on the office romance between Jason and Chrishell Stause. The two called it quits before cameras went down, with Chrishell revealing the breakup to Emma at a girls' night in the finale.
"I think with any relationship, when it ends, it takes time to get back to a place where you can be friends again and stuff like that," Emma offers as an update. "They've managed to do it better than any single person that I've known, and at the end of the day, it's not my relationship to speak on."
"I love them both," she adds. "Obviously just want the best for both of them, and probably in season 6, you'll see things transpire and things like that. But that's just part of life."
There's a chance season 6 will also delve deeper into Emma's personal life; she left season 5 in a flirt-mance of sorts with her client, Micah.
"Me and Micah definitely have something special," she ekes out, blushing. "We're definitely still enjoying each other's company."
Emma says she and Micah have not defined their relationship, and are taking things slow. Neither one lives in Los Angeles full time -- Emma splits her time in Boston, where she runs her frozen food business, Emma Leigh & Co, while Micah's home base is in Texas.
"I've done the long-distance thing for so long that it would be nice to have a relationship where they're in the same, at least, state," she says. "Obviously, it's progressed a little bit [from where season 5 ends]. We've become closer. But it's right about there. So, we'll see. Maybe season 6, there will be a label, a ring. Who knows?"
For now, Emma is focused on her career. She just landed a Costco contract for her Emma Leigh & Co. empanadas, and secured the listing on Zedd's $23 million Los Angeles estate. In season 6, she'd like to show off more of her entrepreneurial endeavors, including expanding her own real estate portfolio. She's yet to find a home fit for her family in L.A.
"I would love to see a little bit more of my family on [the show], because they're so important to me," she says of her season 6 hopes. "They're what drives me, what makes me. Different deals. Hopefully, you'd get to see Zedd's property on there. I'm going to continue to go above and beyond. That's just me, by nature."
"I would love to get a $50 million listing, a $100 million listing," she continues. "I know that I'm capable of doing anything when it comes to business. So obviously, the houses, the bigger, the better."