Since she first took on the role of co-executive producer of "American Woman," Kyle Richards has maintained that the series is only loosely based on her real-life upbringing -- but the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star let TooFab know which moment from the pilot happened IRL.
In the first episode of the new Paramount Network comedy series, Bonnie Nolan -- who's inspired by Kyle's mother, Kathleen Richards -- is driving through the night when she realizes a car is following her. With her daughters in the backseat, Bonnie pulls over, gets out of the car, tells the men who are following her to get lost, and gets back into the car. She turns to her daughters in the backseat and says, "Let that be a lesson to you girls: Never let a man intimidate you under any circumstances. You always have to stand up for yourself."
"That actually happened," Kyle revealed to TooFab on Thursday. "It was a variation of that, but those were her exact words to me when she came back to the car. That was exactly what my mom said, and those words have stuck with me my entire life."
"American Woman" is a new, half-hour series that follows the rollercoaster life of Bonnie (Alicia Silverstone), a mother who adapts to raising her two daughters on her own in 1975 Beverly Hills after leaving her husband for having an affair.
So was the case for Kathleen and Ken Richards, Kyle's dad, who she says was "a wonderful man and an incredible father" despite how you may feel about his TV counterpart.
At the time, it wasn't the norm for women to leave their husbands, talk back or pursue careers of their own. But Bonnie is far from timid in the series, pushing boundaries whenever and wherever possible. And Kyle says Kathleen did the same.
"My mom was very strong and very outspoken at a time where women were really not supposed to be," she said. "I get now that so much of who she was and what she did was to be a role model to her daughters, who she wanted to grow up to be strong, independent and not be afraid."
Although Kyle's longtime psychic told her that her mother preferred Kyle cast a redhead to play Bonnie (Kathleen was a natural-born redhead), Kyle thinks her mom would love the series if she were alive today to see it. "That is so my mom! Trying to control everything from the other side still," Kyle recalled telling her psychic. "But everyone always tells me, 'Your mom is so proud of you.'"
"'American Woman' really is a love letter to my mom, keeping her memory alive," Kyle added. "I have nothing but the upmost respect for her. She was the biggest influence in my life. Even in those times where she made some questionable choices, I think she was an incredible mom. I'm inspired by her as a mother every day."
The premiere of "American Woman" debuted last week to 1 million viewers. The show was also the top social comedy series in primetime Thursday night.
"I'm so, so happy. It's a [huge relief]!" Kyle said regarding the positive reaction to the show. "The support has been unbelievable. My 'Housewives' fans and followers on Instagram and Twitter have just been unbelievably supportive. The comments are literally 100 percent positive, which is just so mind-blowing to me. People are stopping me walking down the street from all walks of life and all ages saying, 'Oh, my God -- I love the show. Thank you so much. I can so relate.' I'm so overwhelmed by the support."
"American Woman" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Paramount Network.