'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills': 7 Secrets
Are Lisa and Cedric not talking anymore? Does Kim live in the 'burbs? Nicole LaPorte of The Daily Beast gives the down 'n' dirty truth behind "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." (And check the Daily Beast's posting of the article -- complete with videos -- here.)
1. WHO IS MOHAMED?
Two weeks ago, we saw the ladies (sans Camille Grammer, who was busy shopping for her Tony dress) wined at dined at a Bel-Air home that made Lisa VanderPump and Adrienne Maloof's super-size homes look like public housing. The house -- "Le Belvedere," which boasts a Turkish bath, a 5,000-bottle wine cellar, 19 fireplaces, and 120 chandeliers -- was owned by a mysterious Middle Eastern man who was identified simply as "Mohamed." Who is this guy, and how'd he make his gazillions??
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The answer: Mohamed Hadid is a real-estate tycoon who made a pile of money in the 1980s in the Washington, D.C. commercial real estate market. Career coup: outmaneuvering Donald Trump to build a Ritz-Carlton in Aspen. In October, Hadid reportedly sold Le Belvedere for somewhere between $50 million and $72 million, setting the record for the most expensive residence sale price in the U.S. so far in 2010. Hadid's skyscraper-tall girlfriend, the one with the backless dress who everyone acted like they knew, is 25-year-old Latvian model Julia Lescova. Go Mohamed!
2. WHY ARE LISA AND CEDRIC NOT TALKING ANYMORE?
It's true. Lisa and her gay sidekick, the ab-tastic Cedric Martinez, are no longer toning their thighs in Lisa's in-house gym or harassing hapless DMV employees. A source close to Cedric told The Daily Beast that since the show wrapped, Lisa and Cedric had a "huge falling out" and are not speaking and won't be photographed together on the red carpet. Needless to say, Cedric is no longer Lisa's "permanent house guest" and has finally gotten a place of his own. As for what happened, this person said that Lisa "got sooo big for her britches and her ego was so enormous that she was just unbearable... She was ordering him around and snapping her fingers all the time. She turned into a monster." But a source close to the show said, "Lisa is one of the most real people. She calls it like she sees it. She gets it. I have never seen the monster side of Lisa."
As for Cedric's backstory, he met Lisa and her husband Ken Todd back in the 1990s, when Ken owned several nightclubs and bars in London, one of them being the gay club The Shadow Lounge, where Cedric worked as a host. Before moving to L.A. in 2009, where he worked for Ken and Lisa as the maitre d' at Villa Blanca, Cedric flitted around Europe, working as a model and fronting two boy bands: the Definition of Color and Mankind. These days, the onetime Lance Bass beau is mostly modeling and, naturally, talking to producers about a reality TV pilot.
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3. WHERE DO THE HOUSEWIVES ACTUALLY LIVE?
None of the housewives technically live in Beverly Hills. Lisa and Adrienne come the closest-they have a 90210 ZIP code, but they actually live in Beverly Park, an ultra-exclusive gated community in the Hollywood Hills, which is located in the city of Los Angeles, not Beverly Hills. And Lisa is looking to move; she and Ken recently put their Versailles-y compound on the market for $29 million.
Both Kyle Richards and Taylor Armstrong live in Bel-Air, a stone's throw from BH, but still not the real deal. (Though Bel-Air is actually considered more posh and has bigger homes.) Like Lisa, Kyle is also reportedly looking to move. She and hubby Mauricio Umansky -- Camille and Kelsey's "real-a-tor," as Camille would call him, before the catfight -- say they want to move into a bigger place (could this mean Kyle won the baby argument!?) and have put their four-bedroom, five-bathroom home --described as "contemporary Balinese resort style" -- on the market for $2.45 million.
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Camille, as she has reminded us so many times, lives in Malibu, in the Serra Retreat gated community, which is also where the Mel Gibson compound is located. At least that's one of the places she lives. There is also the Hawaii home, the Aspen home, the Hamptons home, the Manhattan home, and probably a few more. In the divorce, Camille will be saying goodbye to a lot of those properties, but she told The Daily Beast recently that she would be keeping the 'Bu manse, which was bought in 1998 for $4.5 million and which she described as "basically, a small park."
Kim Richards is the most peripatetic of the bunch, and has moved twice since shooting "The Real Housewives." The house she's shown moving into in recent episodes is in Westlake Village, a suburban-y neighborhood in the Valley where Lisa VanderPump has most likely never set foot. In last week's episode, Kim's new neighborhood was pejoratively referred to as "a long way from Mohamed's." No, it's not Bel-Air. But it's a great place to meet odd bachelors who bring their grandchildren to strangers' houses in the middle of the night! (See Question 6.)
4. WHAT IS TAYLOR'S REAL NAME?
Back when she was a varsity cheerleader at Union High School (class of '89) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Taylor Armstrong went by the name Shana Hughes. Her yearbook photo shows a girl who was very much in touch with her era -- bleached blond perm, hairsprayed bangs -- and who was not yet indoctrinated into the Bev Hills regimen of Botox shots and starvation diets. Lest anyone wonder where Shana/Taylor got the charisma and go-get-'em attitude to put up with as drippy a husband as Russell, consider what the Union High School yearbook has to say about their defending national champion cheer squad: "To be a varsity cheerleader at Union High School is a responsibility many young women aspire to, but few attain." And as Shana/Taylor's co-cheerleader Erin Shanahan told the yearbook: "You can't be shy if you want to be on varsity. I was nervous the first time, but as the games went on, I really enjoyed it and still do."
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5. WHO IS CAMILLE'S FRIEND NICK?
Thus far, we have seen far more of Camille's boy-toy-looking BFF "Nick" than her (soon-to-be-ex-) husband, Kelsey Grammer. Like Lisa's Cedric, Nick is everywhere. (But unlike Cedric, Nick is not gay.) He comes over to play tennis with Camille. He sits and listens when she bitches about how mean Kyle is being. And when the ladies take a trip to Vegas with their significant others, Nick magically appears to keep Camille company since Kelsey is living in New York. Instantly, Camille wraps herself around him as though he were a pole back in the Club MTV days, kisses him on the lips and calls him her "rent-a-husband" as the rest of the gang exchange looks.
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"Nick" is the daytime star Nick Stabile, who was on the 1990s Aaron Spelling soap "Sunset Beach" and, more recently, "Days of Our Lives." He also had a part in "Bride of Chucky." Nick is 39 and is married to Tricia Small, with whom he has a 2-year-old daughter, Ella Grace. Small is also an actor and made a cameo on "Real Housewives" at a dinner at Camille's, where she shot suffering glances at Camille, and joked, in a non-joking way, that she was fine with Camille and her husband's canoodling. Though a source close to Nick denied that Camille and Nick have ever been romantically involved. Hmm.
6. WHO'S THE GUY LISA SET KIM UP WITH?
To try and jolt Kim out of her moping over singledom (pre-Kim's grocery-store pickup by Single Gary, the one who brought his granddaughter to her house), the girls thought it would be fun to set her up on a blind date. Miraculously, Kim, who tends to freeze up and act awkward when thrown out of her very narrow comfort zone, was a sport and agreed. So mischief-maker Lisa came up with someone: an attractive Brit with wispy white hair, named Martin. At the meeting Martin got a little prematurely agog over Taylor (whom he at first mistook for his date), but Kim's Frederick's of Hollywood-style leopard dress seemed to do the trick, and soon enough they were acting all coupley and going home together. So who is this fellow?
Conveniently, Martin -- whose full name is Martin Genis -- s also Lisa's real estate agent, who, back in the '90s, sold a home to Brad Pitt. Her inland real-estate agent, that is. According to Lisa's website, someone else is her "beach broker." Based on Facebook photos and social diary reports, Martin seems to be quite the man about town who enjoys the company of the ladies -- one of whom, curiously, is onetime Playboy model and Kelsey Grammer ex-fiancee Tammi Baliszewski, who has transformed herself into a hypnotherapist and author ("Manifesting Love From the Inside Out"). She also, apparently, cuts Martin's hair. Among Martin's Facebook "likes" : Californication, Playing Guitar, and Snow Patrol.
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7. HOW SMUTTY IS CAMILLE'S PAST?
Pretty smutty. There were the Playboy years (1993-1997). There was the soft-porn movie ("The Naked Detective"). And now it's rumored that she's about to release a sex tape of her and Kelsey that they made during more pleasant times; i.e., when he was not running around with, and proposing marriage to, another woman while still technically wed to Camille. But Camille is not all Bad Girl. In 1993, when she was interviewed by The New York Times in a piece about Tavern on the Green's new "vaudeville" show (Camille was a member of the dirty-dancing trio that gyrated to RuPaul), she said that when she wasn't dancing, "I'm reading Jack Kerouac." (At the time, she was studying English literature at Montclair State College in her native New Jersey.) Then again, the group's choreographer, Edwin Morgan, said that when the dancers were "bored at rehearsal," he would "shout, "Orgasm, orgasm,' and they get excited."
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