“There’s a lot of tears, there’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of hugging, there’s a lot of reconciliation,” the reality and cabaret star tells TooFab.
Luann de Lesseps agrees she’s had a rough season on "The Real Housewives of New York," but she just filled TooFab in on a little secret: Things are looking up.
We caught up with the countess and cabaret star earlier this week, where she reflected on that explosive cast trip to Miami, spilled on the upcoming reunion and dished on the music video for her latest "RHONY"-inspired song, "Feelin’ Jovani."
"[This season] is difficult to watch because I went through it once, and now it’s airing," Luann told us. "And I think what comes off as being self-centered is really me protecting myself and taking care of myself because it was really difficult to be on a trip like that and be sober, especially around all that drinking. And that gets missed, you know what I mean? I had to take that time out to go to the beach. I had to refrain from hanging out late because I was not drinking. I was taking care of me. What comes off as being maybe self-centered and so-called narcissistic is really, ‘Yeah, I gotta take care of me because that’s the most important thing.’ It’s like, ‘Put on your mask first before your children,’ right? ‘Cause you gotta be able to put on their mask."
"What came off as self-centered maybe looked insensitive to the women, and certainly, I understand that. I get it. It’s not like I’m tone-deaf," she added. "But what people don’t understand is it was a very difficult trip for me to be on."
During the trip, Sonja Morgan drunkenly went off on Luann for being a "f–king diva" on a "high horse" who didn’t think twice before marrying Tom D’Agostino, a man with whom Sonja was once involved. At the time, Luann wasn’t very reactive to the comments; she simply got up from the dinner table and stayed in her room for the remainder of the evening.
Lu told us she felt she did a "damn good job" of keeping her composure during that scene, adding, "I’m not a complainer! If I sat there and said, ‘Oh, you know how difficult it is for me,’ it would not have translated. So I’m glad I handled it the way I did because I think I was receptive when this whole shake-down went down. I was receptive. I could hear them. I could understand why they might’ve felt that way, but the bigger picture is that it was difficult for me, and I don’t think that they were very sensitive to that."
"But I survived! Don’t worry," she added. "You’ll see, it gets better [during Thursday’s new episode]."
When we asked if she had any regrets about how she handled herself on the trip, Luann said, "I think that what you see is me kind of removing myself a lot from the situation because I felt I needed to in certain situations, and that may come off like I don’t care about them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I just had to take care of myself."
Lu doesn’t regret not checking in on Sonja after Sonja drunkenly smacked her face on the dining room table, prompting Bethenny Frankel to call 9-1-1.
"Sonja said some pretty nasty things to me at dinner, where I had to leave and go to my room," Lu said. "And then she fell and almost broke her head open. There was some nasty things being said, so I just couldn’t be there. The EMS people came, thank God, to look after her. There was a lot of very difficult moments for me on that trip, and I think it gets misconstrued as me not caring and not being sensitive."
The day after the Sonja fiasco, Bethenny lost it on Luann after Lu mocked Tinsley Mortimer for slurring her words at dinner. Bethenny called Luann "insufferable" and "sick" before she accused her of never checking in on her following the overdose and death of her boyfriend, Dennis Shields.
Bethenny spearheaded Luann’s intervention last year, which only exacerbated her feelings on the matter. Frankel also felt Luann was "dining out" on her sobriety, which Lu later said was "one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard in my life."
So where do the two stand today?
"We’re in a better place," Lu told us. "We have the reunion coming up, and it’s always about talking through things. I think people will understand me better from the reunion, from what I was going through. Really, the reunion is all about — there’s a lot of tears, there’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of hugging, there’s a lot of reconciliation."
Overall, Lu felt the experience was "positive." She added, "It’s good to see after such a crazy season."
Last week, Luann debuted "Feelin’ Jovani" — her latest "RHONY"-inspired dance track. It joins "Money Can’t Buy You Class," "Chic C’est La Vie" and "Girl Code."
"I just love the song because when I come out onto the cabaret stage and the fans are going, ‘Jovani!’ it just became obvious to me that there was a call-to-action, and that’s how ‘Feelin’ Jovani’ was born," Luann told us. "It’s really about a feeling. It’s how I feel when I get out onto the stage. It’s about changing the narrative. It’s really an adjective at this point. Jovani in Italian means young, and I wanted it to be lighthearted fun. I love dance music, and so I just had the most fun coming up with the song and the lyrics and the idea for the music video."
Wearing Jovani gowns and Countess Collection by SuperJeweler jewels, Luann is joined in the over-the-top yet elegant music video by "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Lisa Rinna and "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Cynthia Bailey. Andy Cohen also makes a cameo.
"It came to me as, ‘Okay, it’s gotta be runway fabulous and bling and lots of gorgeous colors and fabrics,’" Lu explained of her vision for the video. "And so, Lisa Rinna I’ve known for years, and I thought Lisa Rinna would be great. And boy, can she dance! And she’s gorgeous. And Cynthia Bailey’s stunning. She’s a good friend of mine, too, so I called them. I said to Lisa, ‘Do you wanna be in my music video?’ And I sent her the song, and she was like, ‘I am in! I love it, girl!’"
"And then I got the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ idea," she continued. "That kind of was an afterthought. And then, of course, I had to have Andy Cohen as Charlie! It just kind of came together organically."
We asked Luann if she had received any feedback about the song from her co-stars. "Have I gotten any feedback from any of my co-stars," she repeated. "Um, not really."
"Well, Tinsley was at the [premiere party this week], and Barbara [Kavovit] was at the party," Luann said. "And Ramona [Singer] couldn’t make it at the last minute. Dorinda [Medley] didn’t come, but of course I invited her. I invited all the Housewives. Absolutely. They can’t say I didn’t invite them, that’s for sure."
Lu was then asked whether Dorinda — whose "JOVANI!" cabaret heckling will live in ‘RHONY’ infamy — had anything to say about the song.
"No. I invited Dorinda to the party as well. Like I said, I wanted to change the narrative and make it positive," Lu replied. "I did invite her, and she wasn’t able to come. But I invited her, and we’re in a better place."
"The Real Housewives of New York" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
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