Reality Star Brandi Glanville
So it turns out that you can go home again. On the fourth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which premieres in November, cast member Brandi Glanville does just that and returns for a visit to the capital city, where she was raised and where her family still lives. The outspoken reality star opens up with typical candor and humor about her colorful childhood in South Sacramento, the ex-factor (former husband Eddie Cibrian and his wife LeAnn Rimes), and sex and dating at 40.
The fourth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is about to start. What can you tell us about it?
The only thing I can really say is that it is probably the most emotional season for all of us, and the most tumultuous. A lot of things have changed. So it’s going to be interesting for everyone to see the dynamics. Everything you thought you knew, you didn’t. Everything is going to be changing. You’ll see.
For one thing, Adrienne Maloof, who was an original cast member, won’t be back this season.
She was fired. [Maloof has indicated that it was her choice to leave the show.] You live in Sacramento. You tell me how much you like Adrienne, as far as the Kings and everything. My family is very pro [Sacramento]. They’re 916ers all the way, so they had serious issues with her from the get-go.
Talk about changes—when you first appeared on the show during season two, you were actually introduced as Adrienne’s friend. How did you know her?
I met her at a charity event through a friend of mine. We had mutual friends for a long time. She just said, “You know what? I’m on this show and they’re asking all of us to submit girls for casting. Would you be interested?” And I said, “Sure.” It was a really big step in our “friendship,” quote-unquote. We were social acquaintances, that’s all. I had never been to her home, we weren’t chatting on the phone.
Your falling out with Adrienne was one of the dominant storylines last season. There was that infamous episode during which you dropped what was perceived to be a bombshell about her and your comments were censored. Is it still a taboo subject?
I’m not talking about it because I do not need to get sued and we’re at such a point where it’s so far in the past. I’m just happy right now. I’m not going to bring up old wounds.
One thing that you can hopefully talk about is your recent visit to Sacramento. Will it be featured in the new season?
Yes. We are covering me being the [celebrity] grand marshal at the [Sacramento] gay pride parade. I was pinching myself. I could not believe that this is where I grew up and [Sacramento Pride] was honoring me. I was in a convertible. It was really special coming down that stretch where you’re looking at the Capitol. I just felt like, “This is not really happening.” I got the goose bumps. And I got to share [the experience] with Yolanda [Foster, a co-star on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills]. It was her first time in Sacramento. She loved it. She kept taking pictures of the Capitol. She was like, “It’s beautiful here.” She thought the food was amazing, she loved my parents, she loved the city.
What else did you do while up here?
I got to visit some friends that I haven’t seen in forever. Most of my friends stayed in Sacramento after high school. When I went back to my old neighborhood, I started to cry a little bit because you get this feeling in your gut like, “I’m home.” I was like, “Oh my God, I want to go say hi to my neighbors.” Sacramento will always be home. Everyone that I love and that I’m related to lives in Sacramento.
So they really did [capture] a feel for where I came from, who my crazy parents are that I love so much, and my brother and nieces. Unfortunately my sister is afraid of the cameras so she didn’t come. It’s not a normal thing—“Hey, come to dinner. Oh, by the way, there are going to be cameras and you’re going to be on TV.” I stayed at—was it the Hyatt? It was the one Arnold Schwarzenegger lived in across from the Capitol. I don’t know the hotels here because I never stay in them—I always stay with my family. We ate at the hotel and had a beautiful dinner—it was to die for. And it was my dad’s birthday, actually, June 14.
What is your family dynamic like? What are we going to see there?
Well, it builds up. This is just part of the story, but there’s some friction in the beginning with my father and I. Something had happened, which I can’t say, and then I go to Sacramento to work on it. It’s not bad. My family is my rock. I love them more than anything. We are extremely close. But we bicker like anyone else. My dad has a bad temper like myself and we fight. It’s all out of love [though]. There are no crazy childhood secrets or anything. If there were any, I spilled them in my book.
And your family was OK with that?
I checked with them beforehand. But I think once it was out there, it kind of set in and created a few waves. You’ll have to watch and see. I don’t want to give it all away.
Speaking of your book—your memoir Drinking and Tweeting—in it, you wrote, “I started out in the ghetto of South Sacramento getting beat up daily by a neighborhood thug.”
Yeah. I mean, that’s what happened. I was born in Salinas and we were there until I was 3 and then we moved to Sacramento, and I spent the rest of my years until I was 17 years old in Sacramento. I lived in South Sac. Back then it was kind of a dangerous neighborhood. When I was in high school and junior high, gang violence was really prevalent, whereas I feel like it’s tapered off quite a bit now. It’s gotten much nicer, actually.
Also in the book, this was how you described your parents: “My father was the local pot dealer and my mom was a hippie who rarely wore a bra.”
Yeah, my mom still doesn’t really wear a bra. Not that she needs one. When I was little, it was so embarrassing—she had a shirt that said “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” on it and she would wear it to school.
And [my dad] doesn’t like that word, “dealer.” He was a distributor. He grew [marijuana] in our backyard and gave it to the dealers to deal. It was a means to an end and a way to make ends meet. We had a lot of bills and there were always a lot of financial issues. [My parents] sent us to private schools—I went to Willow Rancho Baptist School and Gloria Dei Lutheran—because other schools around us were dangerous.
They were the hardest-working people I knew. My dad had three jobs. He was a janitor, he worked at the gas station and at a grocery store. My mom was a housekeeper. I used to clean houses with her in the summers during high school. I had a very humble but great upbringing.
What are some of your fondest memories of growing up in Sacramento?
I was a candy fanatic and I used to ride my bike randomly from South Sacramento all the way to Old Sacramento to get candy in Old Town. I don’t remember the name of [the candy store], but I was obsessed with it. I needed to have the popcorn balls and taffy there. My parents didn’t know. They were like, “Be back before the streetlights go on,” and I’d just head downtown. It was the good old days. No one was creeping around back then.
I grew up working in the restaurant business. I used to work for Randy [Paragary]. I was a waitress, a cocktail waitress and a hostess at Capitol Grill. Working in his restaurant was awesome.
And when you were 17, you got discovered by a modeling scout, right?
Yeah, I had graduated [from John F. Kennedy High School] and I was at Arden [Fair] mall, and a guy came up and gave me his card. He was like, “We have an open call in San Francisco.” I showed up, and that was the beginning of the end. I was more of a runway girl than a print girl. Almost every big designer you can think of, I’ve been in their show. My first big show was Valentino. I did Armani a ton, Chanel and Versace. I’ve lived in Tokyo, Hamburg and Munich—I’ve lived everywhere. I had a great experience.
Fast forward 20 years. You’re on The Real Housewives and wrote a New York Times best-selling book. And you’ve got another book on the way. It’ll be called Drinking, Dating and Medicating, right? Can you tell us about it?
We have two possible titles. I like that title, but it’s a big drama at HarperCollins. They’re not liking it, but I feel like, “It’s my book.” It’ll be out around Valentine’s Day, assuming I turn it in on time. It’s kind of a continuation of where the last book left off, minus ex-husband, minus ex-wife, or new wife, whatever she is. [Glanville was married to actor Eddie Cibrian, who had an extramarital affair with country singer and now-wife, LeAnn Rimes.]
It’s about dating life. I want to keep it funny and sarcastic, but also be very honest with people so they don’t feel bad about what they’re going through. I’m not newly single—I’ve been single for five years. I have trust issues. I’m a single woman who’s raising children at [the age of] 40 in Los Angeles. It’s a very tough city to date in. Everyone here is 22 and perfect. It’s also a little sexier than the first book because I’m getting a little down and dirty. There’s definitely a chapter on sex itself. I got all of my girlfriends together and we had some wine and recorded ourselves. We were laughing and giggling the whole time.
It’s a relationship book [too]. I’m interviewing ex-boyfriends and [finding out] what makes them run, what makes them stay, what’s a deal breaker. Even the relationship that I have with [Eddie] to a certain extent is [covered because we’re] co-parenting. People think it’s a lot more odd than it is. We don’t sit around and chitchat and like hug each other or anything, but I was at their house this morning, they’re at my house in the mornings. I go to baseball [games]. I see them at school, I see them at soccer, I see them at drop-off. It’s not like, “Ooh, they ran into each other at Nobu. It was so awkward.” People want to make a story out of something that’s not a story.
The two of them have a new show coming out on VH1 about their life, which is tentatively titled LeAnn & Eddie. What was your reaction when you first found out? Are you going to watch?
I just thought it was a super original title. It must have taken them forever to come up with that name. I’d probably be lying to you if I said that I’m not going to [watch the show] because apparently it’s a hybrid of reality and scripted. There are actors playing my children [Mason, 10, and Jake, 6] and an actress playing me. So I’m interested to see who they get to play me and my kids. Once I see that, I don’t know that I’ll need to watch it, but you never know. It’s like a car accident on a freeway. We’re all looking.
I’m sure it hasn’t been easy having your personal life put out in the public eye.
I think that everything happens for a reason. Clearly my heartache was meant to happen so that I could do the [Real Housewives] show, so that I could write a book, so that I could find myself again. It’s not like I ever dreamed of having a marriage fall apart, but it’s how you deal with it after the fact. I get through one day at a time. I’m so blessed. It’s so important to me that people know that I’m appreciative. Every day I look over my shoulders, going, “Am I getting punked? Is this really happening?” I feel like I’ve won the Lotto in a lot of ways.