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Who Is Kathy Hilton Really? It’s Time to Talk About her Off-Camera Personality

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Season 12, Kathy Hilton
Photo by: Tommy Garcia/Bravo

When Kathy Hilton first joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as a friend of the housewives in Season 11, we were smitten. We couldn’t get enough of her personality, fun sayings and interactions with her sister, Kyle Richards. So when we heard Hilton was returning as a friend in Season 12, we were downright delighted.

But then that first official trailer hit, and we saw a whole new side of Hilton: one in which she and Lisa Rinna went head-to-head in that stomach-dropping kind of way.

Now that we’re on the other side of the season and the Aspen trip from heck is behind us, it seems like there is still a lot of strife between Rinna and Hilton — strife that’s carried over onto social media. Now, viewers everywhere are taking sides… to the point where Rinna recently asked her followers to stop with the “hate speech.”

Related: Fans think Lisa Rinna could be ready to leave ‘RHOBH’ — here are the clues.

Is Rinna, like Kyle said on the show, a dog with a bone? Was she trying to help her good friend Erika Jayne out of the hot seat ahead of the reunion? Is she just stirring the pot with everyone, including the Cancer Institute, given how she’s handled everything? Is she just trying to stay on as a diamond holder next season?

Lisa Rinna, Kathy Hilton, and Sutton Stracke taking a selfie
NBC Universal

You be the judge. Whatever Rinna’s motivations, it’s clear Kathy wasn’t her best self in Aspen. She has since apologized to Rinna, Kyle and the rest of the housewives, but now we can’t help but wonder what Hilton is really like when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Our best guess is that things aren’t always hunky dory, but we can’t bring ourselves to believe Hilton is a total villain either. Let’s have a look, shall we?


Tequila gate

One of the most talked about moments of Season 12 was when Hilton stormed out of Kyle’s hat party after Rinna ordered her “friend” Kendall Jenner’s tequila right in front of Kathy. For several episodes before that, Kathy had been trying to talk about Casa Del Sol Tequila, the alcohol brand she and her daughter, Nicky, are investors in (Eva Longoria actually launched it back in 2021).

Related: The richest celebrities who own tequila brands — ranked by net worth.

While it may seem at the outset like Hilton was just bitter over Rinna’s order, let’s remember that in the episodes leading up to that moment, the other housewives refused to really give Kathy the time of day. They spoke over her and made fun of her for trying to share something she’s invested in, while others like Rinna got an entire episode dedicated to Rinna Rose.

A lot of Kathy’s anger seemed to be at Kyle for not sticking up for her or pushing others to try the booze, but let’s also remember that these two sisters have a long history. Plus, most sisters would expect their siblings to stick up for them in that kind of a situation — especially when they’re the host of the party and trip.

Paris in Love - Season 1
Photo by: Shed Media/Peacock

The alleged blow-up

According to the rest of the housewives, Kathy was in a pretty stormy mood by the time they went to the club. Notably, she was upset when the DJ refused to put on “Billie Jean.” While Crystal Kung Minkoff later explained to the cameras how hesitant people are to play Michael Jackson’s music these days, let’s not forget that Kathy and Michael were dear friends in real life.

Related: This Real Housewife is not attending the ‘RHOBH’ reunion in person — here’s why.


So, according to Kathy’s report, she requested her deceased friend’s song. Could she have handled it differently? Probably, according to those who were there. But at least she left. And Rinna went with her, which is when the real blowup reportedly happened.

According to Rinna, Kathy said unkind things about all of the housewives, flaunted her relationship with Bravo and NBC and acted entitled. Do we believe that happened? Maybe. She was in a bad mood. Did she do it in front of someone she trusted to be her friend? She sure did. Whatever Kathy said, it’s important to remember that people don’t always say nice things when they’re raging. Some people need to vent to let things go, and they also need to know they can do it in a safe space where those words won’t be used against them later on.

Paris in Love - Season 1
Photo by: Shed Media/Peacock

Threatening text messages

Rinna repeatedly said that Kathy tried to silence her, and then she went on to leak the text messages following that night. Let’s break down what Kathy texted, according to Rinna:

Message 1: “Please please do not say anything we discussed. Otherwise it will make a huge scene that everyone gets dragged into. No bueno.”

Message 2: “Please it goes further than you would want to know. Silence is golden. I am staying silent.”

Are those threatening messages or notes from someone who maybe had a terrible day and now regrets what she said? It sounds like Kathy wanted to quell what was quickly becoming a bad situation and salvage things with Kyle after years of fighting. But, we guess only Kathy knows what those texts meant.

Related: Quiz: Which ‘RHOBH’ housewife is your style inspiration?


Paris in Love - Season 1
Photo by: Shed Media/Peacock

Other stories of bad behaviour

At the end of the day, this isn’t the first time Kathy has been accused of bad behaviour. There’s an entire book dedicated to it, House of Hilton, which seems to take particular issue with how Kathy parented her children. But we’d also like to think we’ve moved on from just blaming the mothers, since the book was published in 2006.

And then there is the criticism Kathy faced after Paris Hilton released her documentary, This Is Paris. In the doc, Paris opened up about traumatic experiences at her boarding school, which Kathy didn’t even know about until she saw the footage. As a mother, does she regret sending her kid to that school? Obviously. Kathy opened up about having depression after the truth came out.

Paris in Love - Season 1
Getty Images

What does seem important about that story is how Paris asked Kathy to watch the doc and how they held hands the entire time Kathy screened it. Or how the pair still have a relationship that they’ve needed to navigate in the public eye for Paris’ entire life. That… can’t be easy, right?

The bottom line is that no one is perfect, and sometimes those in the spotlight are held to a higher standard than your regular Joe Schmoes. What Kathy is really like when the cameras aren’t rolling is something only she, her family, her friends and her co-stars know. But from what we’ve seen, we don’t think her Real Housewives behaviour is anything to have a gorilla over.

You may also like: Everything you need to know about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Kathy Hilton.


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