“Real Housewives of New York City” (“RHONY”) is coming back for Season 12 and returning this season are “RHONY” originals Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer, along with Sonja Morgan, Dorinda Medley and Tinsley Mortimer.
Newbie Leah McSweeney is joining the crew as the youngest in the group of women. She is not afraid to speak her mind, which at times causes friction, especially with Ramona and Sonja.
One noticeable difference this season is the absence of Bethenny Frankel.
“You get to see more of us, because I feel like Bethenny took up a lot of oxygen in the room,” Luann told Global News.
Life is still a cabaret, but now it’s called “Marry, F–k, Marry” as Luann workshops the latest iteration of her notorious stage show this season.
Luann was previously charged with battery, trespass in an occupied structure and disorderly intoxication in Palm Beach, Fla., in December 2017. She pleaded guilty to all three charges as part of a plea deal and was put on probation.
She was taken into custody in April 2019 after she tested positive for the presence of alcohol, and failed to provide documentation showing that she attended her required two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week as of April 23, 2019. Luann’s probation was reinstated but it expired on Aug. 28, 2019.
With her probation over, Luann tries to reclaim her old life, but realizes old habits die hard this season.
Global News spoke to Luann about Season 12, filming without Bethenny, how she’s staying entertained during self-isolation and much more.
Global News: What can viewers expect to see during Season 12 of “Real Housewives of New York”?
Luann de Lesseps: You can expect to see all the OGs back in their glory (laughing). We have a lot of fun this season and a lot of drama. And, as always, because, you know, when you have that many women together there’s always drama. You’ll see a new housewife and how she steps into a not so easy group to step into. She does hold her own. She’s a mother, a businesswoman, she’s a New Yorker and she’s tough. But at the same time, she’s vulnerable and I think people will be able to relate to that.
That is very exciting! Does it feel freeing to be filming your life post-probation?
Oh, yeah, and it feels like a ton of bricks have been taken off my head. It was very hard and it was a very difficult time for me. I got through it and I rose to the cabaret stage so I hope people will be inspired by that.
How have your friendships with cast members changed since last season?
I think you’ll see the relationship between Dorinda [Medley] and I get better, which it needed to. Sonja [Morgan] and I have always been very tight. She’s very much there for me, which is nice. I feel like we can all show our personalities a lot more because there’s more room to breathe since Bethenny [Frankel] is gone.
That leads me to my next question (laughing). One major difference about the upcoming season is that Bethenny is gone. Was it a different feeling filming this season without her?
I just feel like you get to see more of us, because I feel like Bethenny took up a lot of oxygen in the room. I feel like you’ll get to know us as a cast better and you’ll get to know the newest housewife. It’s great because I feel like it’s going to be the best season ever.
That is awesome! I can’t wait to see it now, but that adds a lot of pressure to you now (laughing).
Oh my God, it’s so good! Just wait, I’m telling you.
Bethenny left in Season 3 and came back in Season 7. Do you think she will do that again or do you believe she’s done for good?
I don’t know (laughing). We’ll just have to see that unfold as we have to see what’s happening in the world right now. It’s very hard to say.
If you could trade lives with any housewife from any season for one day, who would it be and why?
I would pick Lisa Vanderpump. I would love to be in her closet and just surprise them and show up.
Why do you think New York stands out more to a lot of people than any other version of housewives?
There’s no place like New York. I always call it our extra housewife because either you’ve lived in New York and you miss it or you’ve never lived in New York and you aspire to. I think our show is also very fast-paced. I think that what happens in one season in another franchise will happen to us in a week. I also feel like people love the energy. I think there’s no place like New York for that kind of energy. People just love to see the city and they love to see us living large in the city. Our friendships are deep and they have been for many years so I think that’s highly relatable to all. I think people can feel that.
How are you keeping yourself entertained during self-isolation?
I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and a lot of cleaning. I was in the basement with my daughter and she’s an artist so we’re making room for her to store more art in the house. We’ve been doing yoga at home, catching up on television that we haven’t watched. I’ve been busy with filming and with my cabaret tour and I haven’t had much time at home. It’s kind of a moment to reconnect.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)