"I'm a strong woman, but I don't have room in my life for nastiness," says the 59-year-old restaurant mogul.
It's been five months since Lisa Vanderpump abruptly quit "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and now that the dust has settled, she's ready to talk at length about her time on the show and why she chose to leave.
"I had a great time on 'Housewives,'" the 59-year-old restaurant mogul told People. "But to have negativity during a time in my life when I needed to try to be positive ... I decided it was over."
Vanderpump began filming for Season 9 just months after her only brother, Mark, committed suicide following a battle with depression. She admits she "wasn't ready" to get back on the horse.
"I shouldn't have even committed to do that season," she explained. "If I had had my choice, I would have just wallowed in grief."
So while Vanderpump was quietly grieving, there was a baffling mix-up involving a puppy named Lucy Lucy Apple Juice that co-star Dorit Kemsley had adopted from Vanderpump Dogs. The mix-up led to finger pointing and blaming, and ultimately, the cast decided that Lisa anonymously hung Dorit out to dry in the press.
It wasn't until Lisa's longtime friend and co-star, Kyle Richards, approached her with the group's suspicions that LVP removed herself from filming scenes with the other ladies. She later chose to skip out on the reunion.
"I've been in a position where the whole cast has been against me before," Vanderpump explained. "But this time, our foundation was taking a bashing from the women, and it didn't deserve it. And suddenly, to start dealing with them all screaming and shouting at me on that first trip [to the Bahamas], I thought, 'What the hell am I doing?' And that was really it."
With regard to the accusation that Vanderpump leaked an incendiary story about Kemsley to a tabloid, LVP said, "Why would I want to shine a light on the fact that one of our dogs ended up in a kill shelter? I know that nothing with Dorit was intentional. But it all just became too much quite frankly."
As for why she didn't show up for the reunion, Lisa said she "just had more things going on in my life at that time. [Grief] encourages you to take stock. I'm a strong woman, but I don't have room in my life for nastiness."
Unsurprisingly, Vanderpump doesn't speak regularly to any of her former castmates. But after her mother died unexpectedly last summer, "a couple of people reached out," she said. "That was nice."
Ultimately, though, Lisa doesn't "want to shoot arrows. And I don't want to get down in the dirt and react to every negative thing these women have said about me. That's not who I am, nor who I want to be."
And after nine years on the series she helped launch into one of the most popular in the Bravo franchise, Vanderpump said she doesn't "want to look back on my time on 'The Housewives' as a negative experience. I had wonderful moments and laughs and giggles. But I have no regrets about leaving. And I've moved on."
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 10 is currently filming, while "Vanderpump Rules" Season 8 premieres Jan. 7
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