The new season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” will be missing a fan favorite cast member. Denise Richards starred on RHOBH on season 9 and 10, but she won’t be returning for season 11. The actress made the decision in early September 2020.
“She was looking to replace RHOBH with time loving her amazing husband, children and who knows, maybe even friends now,” a source told People at the time.
Executive producer and face of Bravo Andy Cohen broke his silence shortly after the decision was made and gave his side of the story. “I’m just sad we couldn’t reach an agreement for next season,” he told People in September 2020. “I’m kind of living in that sadness…We were negotiating a deal with her and we couldn’t reach an agreement on the deal,” he explained.
Richards herself told her former cast member and close friend Garcelle Beauvais on “The Real” that it was a, “really tough decision” to leave the show, but ultimately, it seemed like the right choice for her.
“I’ve been a fan of the show and had a lot of fun doing my first season. Obviously my second season was very challenging,” Richards said. “You know, I went back and forth with it and at the end of the day, I decided it was time for me to move on and focus on other projects that I have. I’m glad that I did it though.”
During the episode, Richards also praised Beauvais for being such a good friend to her throughout the season. “Garcelle, it almost makes me want to cry,” Richards told her friend. “I truly could not have gotten through the season without you, honestly. She is a girl’s girl, a good friend. Your loyalty is beyond and I really could not have gotten through this season without you.”
Richards Ultimately Left Due to Negotiations
Unlike many other first time Housewives, Richards immediately earned a lot of money on her first go-around. When Richards first signed on for the 2019 season, a source told RadarOnline that she would earn $1 million for her first season. “She was guaranteed to appear on the show for four seasons,” the source claimed at the time.
Richards nor Bravo shared how much money she made, but with her successful career and life in the public eye, it was probably more than an everyday Housewife.
Whatever the initial amount was, Richards apparently wanted more for a third season. A source told Page Six at the time that Richards asked for an, “excessive” amount of money to return.
“People think that she didn’t want to come back and that it’s because she got ‘mean-girled’ [by other cast members],” a source told the outlet. “The truth is she did want to come back. But [Bravo] didn’t want to pay her what she asked for. It was way out of her pay grade.”
Richards Left After a Tough Second Season
When Richards first joined the franchise, fans immediately gravitated towards her carefree, fun, tequila-loving personality. But her attitude towards the show changed when former cast member Brandi Glandville claimed that she had an affair with the married Richards.
Richards consistently denied the affair, but many of her cast members, including long-time friend Rinna, ended up believing Glanville after sharing alleged text messages between Richards and Glanville. The alleged affair tore the friend group apart, and Richards began spending less time with the women.
Many of Richards’ cast members weren’t totally shattered that she was leaving, but “Team Denise” stan Garcelle Beauvais sure was.
“I’m sad about it,” Beauvais told Entertainment Tonight in October 2020. “I really wish she wouldn’t leave the franchise. I think she’s great. I think she brings a lot. I think the fans obviously love her and root for her, so I’m really sad about it. I wish there was something that could have been done. I’m going to miss her, obviously. I’m going to miss her on the platform, but we always talk.”
Some other cast members – including Erika Jayne and Glanville – publicly shared their lack of sadness.
“I was actually shocked,” Beauvais said of her cast member’s reactions. “I was really shocked by the memes, I thought that they were really mean. I mean it’s one thing to be on the show and have your feelings, but for her to say, I’m leaving the franchise, at that point you gotta level up and you gotta say, ‘Good luck, Denise, we wish you were…’ I mean, just something kind.”