Kathy Hilton kept her distance from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills until season 11, but that didn’t mean her rocky relationship with Kyle Richards wasn’t a topic of discussion on the Bravo series.
When RHOBH premiered in 2010, Kyle was joined by sister Kim Richards — and by the end of the season, the siblings were at odds after the Halloween actress outed her sister as an alcoholic. Kathy, for her part, later revealed she was in shock over their tense limo fight.
“Paris [Hilton] and I watched that. We broke down,” she recalled on SiriusXM’s “Lunch With Bruce” podcast in October 2021. “You know when you cry and you’re shaking and your lip starts to quiver and ‘my mommy’s not there and there’s no one’ — it’s like, I felt helpless and alone. Paris was crying too.”
As Kyle and Kim’s ups and downs continued to air on the show, the Little House on the Prairie alum’s relationship with Kathy hit another bump when their husbands had a business falling out.
“My husband for years worked for my brother-in-law. Then he went off on his own like people do,” Kyle explained during a 2018 episode of RHOBH, referring to Mauricio Umansky launching The Agency in 2011 after more than a decade with Rick Hilton’s Hilton & Hyland company. “That doesn’t always work well in the family dynamic, and it can complicate things. I love my sisters a lot. It’s very complicated.”
In 2015, Kyle began developing American Woman, which was loosely inspired by their late mother, Kathleen Richards. When the show aired in 2018, she revealed that one of the reasons her relationship with Kathy was in a bad place was because of the series.
“[My relationship with Kathy] is not great,” Kyle said on the season 8 reunion of RHOBH, admitting that they hadn’t spoken in six months due to American Woman. “I told her all the time, I said, ‘I’m not sharing your stories or Kim‘s — these are my own stories.’ And not only that, it’s a fictionalized version of our life, and our mom being a single mom in the ’70s is the jumping-off point.”
After a lengthy estrangement with Rick, Umansky revealed in October 2019 that the whole family was on better terms.
“We’re good. We’ve made up, we’re family,” he told Inman when asked about his relationship with Kathy’s husband. “The families have made up. We’ve been good for over a year. We were definitely in a fight for a while. And it was real. But the families have made up and it was fantastic. We’ve been good for solidly over a year.”
The following year, Kathy officially started filming RHOBH in a “friend” role, and during season 11, fans got more insight into the family dynamics.
“Kyle and I have had our ups and downs, and if my mom was still here, it never would’ve happened,” Kathy explained to Variety in 2021. “We wouldn’t have fallen out. It was frustrating because I think I could’ve had a platform if I wanted one, but I chose to keep silent. We started to put the pieces back together a couple years ago. I had a little birthday dinner for her here at the house. I started to see what I was missing out on with my nieces. Nothing should ever come between sisters. It was heartbreaking to me, and my husband could see that.”
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