Why Kyle Richards Finally Opened Up About Her Eating Disorder: " I Felt Like a Fraud"

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star on why it's important to talk about her past now

By Chris Harnick Jun 12, 2019 1:20 PMTags
Kyle Richards, The Real Housewives of Beverly HillsBravo

After nine seasons on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kyle Richards revealed a new aspect of her life: she had an eating disorder while growing up.

"It started when I was 17. I was on a TV show and they kept putting me in these big things, my boobs were big when I was young, my sisters were tiny and cute, everyone was blonde, blue-eyed and skinny. I said I don't like my wardrobe and they said, ‘Lose some weight and we'll put you in cuter wardrobe,'" Kyle told costars Lisa Rinna, Dorit Kemsley, Teddi Mellencamp and Erika Girardi while on a trip to France.

"People would compliment me and the more they complemented me, the less I would eat. I would take V8 juice and put it in a bowl, heat it up and that was my food. I was 99 pounds. It was like that for years. I mean, I can remember times where I was like, ‘I'll only have six almonds today. That's all I'm going to have,'" Kyle continued. "I was very self-conscious."

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On The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after show, Kyle opened up more about why she never talked about her eating disorder before.

"I'm not saying this is the right choice, but I have four daughters and I just was so terrified that they would ever have one, I didn't even want them to have that in their head. Sitting in that moment with Lisa Rinna and they were talking about Amelia, they were talking about all these things that I knew and experienced, I felt like a fraud sitting there listening to all this stuff, being like, ‘Oh, really? Oh, it's so—I didn't know about this,'" she said.

And because she didn't tell her daughters before she told her friends, Kyle said she was nervous. "But I thought it felt like the right thing to do," she said. "And then afterwards I was like, ‘Oh, gosh. Well, now I need to have a conversation.'"

While sitting with Teddi on the after show, Kyle admitted she's always going to be a person who is structured with her eating. She said she can always feel it in her mood when she doesn't eat well or exercise. "It'll probably always be with me. I will never go to the lengths that I did before, but it's, yeah, it's a personality type, honestly. It's a form also of control too. There was a lot of chaos when I was a kid at times, I think this was my way of having control of something," she said.

Teddi said she thought it was important for Kyle to share her story, as well as Amelia Hamlin. "I think it's a problem that so many people struggle with. There's a large group of people struggling silently," she said.

Kyle said she also shares her problems with anxiety in an effort to destigmatize and feel better about it too. Click play on the video above for more.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays, 9 p.m. on Bravo.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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