Exclusive Interview: Real Housewife, Countess LuAnn deLesseps
On divorce, chewing gum in public and her search for the “simple life”
Countess LuAnn deLesseps stars on the Real Housewives of New York on Bravo, wrote a new book and is now in the process of a high-profile divorce from her French husband, Count Alexandre deLesseps. Her book, released last week, Class with the Countess, is sure to be a best-seller. She sat down with me to talk about the split, etiquette, and of course, those famous catfights!
Tell me about the divorce and how you are handling it all.
Alex and I were separated a couple of months ago; still it was a shock to find out the way I did. [He was caught cheating with another woman.] I’m trying to be very optimistic, but it’s been very difficult.
I wrote about breaking up in my book, and now I’m taking my own advice. Life is about change. I say, ‘Sometimes breaking up is a blessing in disguise.’ Sometimes is just the thing you need to push forward, so that is exactly how I’m trying to view it.
Your 44th birthday is coming up in the middle of May. What are your plans?
Age is a number and mine is always listed. I can’t hide it anymore. I’ll be promoting my book so I’ll just be with family and have them with me wherever I go. My son is dying to go to California so I will take him with me on that leg of the promotions.
What can we look forward to tonight on The Real Housewives of New York?
The catfight is not over between Kelly (Bensimon) and Bethenny (Frankel). Their fight only blows up bigger at the Halloween party. It’s a dramatic episode tonight, but there’s always plenty of drama left, darling.
For the most part you steer clear of the drama on Housewives–is that a conscious decision?
I don’t like to get caught up in these high school situations. What you see is how I try to live and I am doing my best to stay true to my character. I’m a real girl and I’m on the girls team, but I try to stay out of the arguments.
I have to ask your opinion on the ridiculous vision of Kelly Bensimon running in front of a cab in New York on last week’s episode.
It reminded me of Rocky. I heard the theme playing in my head and thought she should have boxing gloves on her hands. I’ll say, it was a very cinematic running moment in New York.
How do you stay in such great shape?
I have a Mediterranean style of eating. I shop the periphery of supermarket. I avoid buying things in boxes and pre-packaged bags so I’m eating fresh and healthy, lots of fruits and vegetables, and I avoid fast food. I walk a lot in the city, so if I have a nice lunch, I’ll walk home. I do yoga and meditation to keep me centered, and I love Pilates. I have a great Pilates teacher in the Hamptons and I take class out there every Saturday.
What is your most important rule of etiquette?
No, chewing gum obnoxiously in public! That habit gets on my nerves the most. We all know people who did it. Celebrities even do it during interviews. Ick!
Any etiquette slips you occasionally have?
Just because I’m a Countess doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Even on the show, I’ve been caught slipping. The charity episode in the Hamptons was embarrassing because I asked the entire room to quiet down and then I went back to the table and was talking. I was guilty too.
What are some great tips for parents when teaching their children proper etiquette?
Here are my basic rules for children–both of mine learned early! Look at people in the eye when you greet someone. Always answer a question when asked. Say yes, not yep or yah. Please and thank you will always get you far. Help clean up when you are visiting with friends. Be thoughtful hosts with your friends, because you should always take care of people in your house.
What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
My father gave me the best advice growing up, and I still believe it and pass it on to everyone. “The simple life is the best life.”
More Gossip Betty:
Snoop Dogg performed for over 2 hours at Microsoft’s Our World Live event in Hollywood to fill in for Eminem who was a no show.
Rachel McAdams and new boyfriend Josh Lucas strolling hand in hand in NYC as they house-hunted in SoHo.
Ben Stiller at a screening of his 1997 flick, Permanent Midnight, at the REEL Recovery Film series sponsored by TeaZazz in Los Angeles.
Gossip Betty is penned by New York City celebrity columnist Kelly Will. This 29-year-old magazine and newspaper reporter has written columns for the New York Times, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Kelly’s weekly column will appear every Tuesday.