Lisa Vanderpump, 60, understands the importance of putting mental health first. After realizing she was battling depression, she made the decision to walk away during production from the show that made her a household name to take care of herself. “I found it very difficult, a dark hole to walk out of,” Lisa told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY while discussing one of her latest projects, Pooch Perfect, where she’s a judge on ABC. “Grief does take awhile but you do get through it and things start to get better and even on Housewives. All of the fighting, it’s just not something I kind of look for and wanted to do with my life.”
Owner of many popular LA restaurants such as TomTom, Pump & Sur, the Vanderpump wines founder left The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after 9 seasons. Her final season centered around a dog adoption gone wrong that left the cast divided. Dorit Kemsley, 44, adopted a pup from Lisa’s Vanderpump Dogs Foundation and gave it to another family after it struggled to get along with her children. That family gave it to a shelter and Lisa was not having it. The news broke in the press and Dorit and the cast accused Lisa of leaking it, which she denied, and the drama and finger pointing ensued for the entire season. Denise Richards, 50, was the only housewife Lisa was still talking to and it all became too much, so she stopped filming with the other ladies and ditched the reunion to focus on herself.
But what viewers didn’t know is there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. While she thought she could push through filming season 9, the untimely loss of her brother Mark Vanderpump to suicide was taking a harder toll on her than she realized. “When my only sibling committed suicide, to me that was just devastating,” Lisa, who also lost her mother a year later, added. “And that radiated so many feelings because all of the survivors to suicide think, ‘Oh, maybe I could’ve spoken to them that day.’ Maybe you couldn’t have changed the path.”
Although she walked away from one Bravo show, she had another on her plate to deal with while still taking care of herself. “Mine [depression] was circumstantial grief really because of something that happened,” Lisa said. “So for me, I really needed to be proactive with it. I sat there and then I had to start doing Vanderpump Rules and I was committed to that. I was running on four cylinders. I wasn’t really where I should be.”
Finding a treatment that worked for her was important, and the reality star and Trevor Project Advocate urges anyone struggling to do whatever you need to do to get to a better place. “I took antidepressants after my brother died and I sought grief counseling just briefly, but it really helped,” Lisa shared. “I think reaching out to people. Not necessarily a grief counselor, but someone you can connect to is so important. For me, I also think that when you’re isolated, even if you can do FaceTime to connect with people, that’s really important. We’re supposed to be with people and integrate. I think exercise is one of the keys to having structure in your life. Getting out of bed, getting exercise,” she explained.
The reality star also believes COVID-19 has played on mental health in the last year. “I even look at COVID — wow. It was a lot having our businesses shut down and wondering what the hell we were going to do, but I kind of did take the bull by the horns,” she reflected. “I didn’t see anybody here for 9 months until we started doing Overserved. We have to take responsibility for our own happiness. Don’t stay in a toxic relationship. Don’t stay in something. If it’s really negative in your life, step away from it. Be proactive. Life is never easy. When things are going wrong, there’s always something around the corner that’s going to bite you in the ass.”
Pooch Perfect airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC.