Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Camille Grammer gave us all something to get hot under the collar about this long, cold winter. Against the backdrop of her pampered existence—a surreal landscape populated by rotating nannies, sinister psychics, and Handsome Nicks—we watched in disbelief as she traded cougar-swats with Kyle Richards while her 13-year marriage to Kelsey Grammer disintegrated in real time. Their divorce now official, Camille is ready to gather up her meager, eight-figure settlement and move on with the rest of her life. First stop? Beaming herself up to this Thursday's season finale of CBS’s $#*! My Dad Says, where she’ll appear as a “reality star divorcee.” We sat down today with Camille for an extremely candid conversation about her stratospherically high-profile divorce, her relationships to the other housewives, and the possibility of returning for a second season.
TV.com: Hi, Camille. How are you?
Camille Grammer: Oh, fine, thanks. It’s a really crazy time in my life.
Why? What’s going on? Describe your week.
Well, you know, my divorce is finalized. There’s a lot going on.
How does that feel?
How does that feel? Bittersweet. I’m sad for what we had—we were together for 14 years—but you know, I don’t regret his happiness. He’s moved on, and I’m moving on also.
Now that the first season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has aired, and you’re interacting with a public who knows you, or has a strong impression of what they think is you, do you regret having done it?
Well, after the first few episodes, yeah, of course I did. I didn’t think that it was an accurate portrayal of myself.
Because they cut out stuff that made you look more sympathetic?
Absolutely. They didn’t show a rounded-out sense of who I am as a person.
And then once you realized what was happening in your marriage, what stopped you from just turning to the cameras and saying, “Get the f**k out of my house. I need to deal with this right now?”
I wish I could have, but I had an obligation to finish the show. I don’t know if I can say this, but I quit at one point. I did. Because it was too much. I didn’t know how much I could expose at the time. I was holding a lot back because I had known for a while that things were not right between my husband and I. So it’s very difficult filming a reality show while you’re going through this process, and hurt, and devastation.
So what did they say when you said you wanted to quit?
I quit for, you know, a couple of weeks. And actually Kelsey called me and said, “You have an obligation to do the show. You have to finish the show.” So I said, okay. He also asked me to come to the Tonys. Basically I found out [about Kelsey’s affair] through a mutual friend, and then I tried to get in touch with him. By the time we spoke, he said, “I’ve been thinking about it, and I just don’t want to be married any longer.” I asked if there was anybody else, and he said no at the time, but there obviously was. So he said to me, “You have to come to the Tonys,” and I said that I felt too uncomfortable and upset, and I don’t understand why I would have to come. And he said, “Listen, you have an obligation to finish out the show. You have to come.” He also mentioned that maybe we could talk things through and work it out. That gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe we could spark some romance that weekend. But at that point, he was already gone.
How intense was that Real Housewives reunion special? Because it was really hard to watch at points.
I was very nervous going into it. I think most of the girls felt that way. [Laughs] They filmed for eight hours. It was a grueling day. Andy [Cohen] had a lot of questions for me from the viewers.
Did you feel like he was being unfairly hard on you?
I don’t feel like that, because he gave me a warning. He called me before the reunion show, because I was very nervous about doing it. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable, and he said, “Oh, it won’t be that bad. There’s a lot of questions. People want to know about you.” So they prepared me—or not prepared, but he gave me a warning.
He didn’t have to read out a list of the nastiest things people had written about you.
I thought that was harsh. I thought when he went through the list, that was very harsh.
Or when he said something to the effect of, “They say insecure people are always the ones who react most strongly to the word ‘insecure.’” You agreed with him, but I never heard anyone say that before.
Neither did I. Look, we taped for eight hours, and they cut it down to 43 minutes in two parts. There were a lot of things said that didn’t make it into the show, and for the other girls as well. It wasn’t easy. I thought, well, at least the public is getting to see me, and who I am—the strength of who I am as a person.
What’s your real life relationship with these women now? Would you not pick up a phone to talk to them?
I spoke to Lisa yesterday. She’s been very supportive during this whole divorce process with Kelsey. Adrienne and I were friends from before, but I haven’t talked to her in a while. Taylor and I text one another. I haven’t spoken to Kim. And I called Kyle a week ago.
What did you guys talk about?
I just left a message, because I heard she was sick. She has the flu, so I wanted to make sure she was okay.
So you care enough about her to check in on her?
Absolutely. I think that’s the side of me you really don’t see in the first several episodes of Housewives. I mean it came across as boasting, but I really do care and empathize. I have a lot of empathy for people.
Had you never fought with her before the show started?
I met Kyle only once before I started the show. I only knew her husband.
So you’re appearing on the season finale of $#*! My Dad Says. Are you pursuing acting now?
Everyone keeps asking me that. I studied acting years ago, and I gave up that dream after I got married to Kelsey 13 years ago. Am I pursuing anything? No. Not actively pursuing. This came about through my publicist, who asked me if I’d like to appear on the show, and I said, “Absolutely. I’d be thrilled to.”
Was it in front of a live audience?
Yes, of course. It’s a sitcom.
How did they react to you?
I think I got a pretty good reaction. I have to say, it felt really, really good. After everything I’ve been through, I felt really welcomed and embraced by the cast and the crew and the writers, and of course by the audience. It was nice. It was kind of like a mini-mini homecoming for me, because I know a lot of people who work in sitcoms through through, of course, my ex Kelsey. So it was nice to see some people who I hadn’t seen in a while.
Did William Shatner say anything to you worth repeating?
He was fantastic. He was friendly, he welcomed me to the show, he said, “Hello, Camille,” he asked about Housewives. For the most part, we were just busy working. I love sitcom format. I have such respect for it, and performing in front of a live audience, you get such a rush with that.
Are you going to do another season of Real Housewives?
I don’t know. The producers and I have been talking about that in the last week or so.
There’s rumors that you might go to the New York version.
No! [Laughs] I can definitely say that’s not happening.
Ms. Grammer makes her S#*! My Dad Says debut this Thursday at 8:30pm on CBS.