Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Dr. Phil is a smug starfucking parasite whose eponymous daytime program is one weave-yanking away from being The Jerry Springer Show. He trades in therapy porn, relentlessly badgering celebrities who’ve fallen off a big white oak, hitting every branch on the way down—from Britney Spears to the comatose Bobbi Kristina Brown’s suicidal partner, Nick Gordon.
The latest target of his condemnatory glare and You’ve got to be shittin’ me mid-interview stares to his producers is Kim Richards, the star of the Bravo reality series Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Richards, 50, has long struggled with sobriety, checking herself into rehab in December 2011. The most recent season of RHOBH focused on Richard’s sobriety, including a restaurant melee in Amsterdam that resulted in a broken wineglass and several shattered egos, and a tear-filled reunion special where she and her younger sister Kyle addressed their rift, and the fact that they hadn’t seen one another in five months, but left things unresolved.
On April 15 at around 1:30 a.m., Richards was reportedly bothering patrons at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s restaurant when cops were called. According to police, she displayed “objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication” and, after requesting to use the bathroom while she was being escorted out by cops, locked herself in a stall to the point where police said they “had to physically pull her out of the restroom” and she exhibited “slurred speech and belligerent, insolent behavior cursing at the officers and passively resisted arrest.” She even allegedly attempted to kick a male officer in the groin at the police station, but missed and hit his leg.
Which brings us to Tuesday’s #KimRichardsExclusive on Dr. Phil.
The most eye-opening moment was—in true The Jinx fashion—thanks to a hot mic. After inviting three of her children to stage a televised intervention with Richards, Dr. Phil began describing the treatment facility he’d booked her and hoped to ship her off to following their chat.
“I have a lot of anxiety right now… I have a lot of anxiety… I’m sorry,” Richards said, before storming out of the interview.
But her mic was still on. “You can forget this whole thing. Here’s your microphone. I’m done. Fuck him. I’m leaving. He just totally put me on the spot in front of all of these people,” she was overheard saying in the hallway. Later, still sporting a mic, she’s confronted off-camera by her children—including her son, Chad.
“Honestly, the people that know me the best, that see me everyday, you guys have seen things a few times… I’m not drinking everyday,” said Richards.
“I live with you. I’m not saying you’re drinking, but you take pills. You do this every once in a while, you smoke pot,” replied Chad.“Every once in a while,” she confessed.
The admission came after about 40 minutes of grilling by Dr. Phil during the #KimRichardsExclusive, which opened with Dr. Phil announcing, “Is this evidence of a much larger issue? A stress-fueled meltdown? An ongoing relapse that Kim… has been hiding?” before cutting to a montage of salacious clips from her Bravo series, E!, and TMZ.
Then the actual interview/therapy session begins, and for a while, mostly consisted of Richards complaining about how poorly she’s been treated by bloggers and people on Twitter who call her names like “ho” and “drunk”—and she does catch a lot of crap, though her behavior on the edited show has been pretty detestable.
“I really felt like this season I was tired of being talked about. I’m taking care of my ex-husband and my son, and I’ve got little girls, and I have a situation with my sister, and my niece, and my dog,” Richards said. “I’m angry at the comments. They don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.”
But Richards maintained that, despite her erratic behavior, she never consumed booze on camera once this season: “I have not drank once this season on camera. Not one time.”
Richards then proceeded to describe what happened the night of her arrest. She said that what set the entire night off was reading a blog about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion special, which upset her. “It was the relationship between my sister and my niece that’s been destroyed. Yeah, the mean comments got to me,” said a sobbing Richards.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the blog. I got really upset, and I poured a drink of vodka—like that,” she continued, measuring out two inches of booze with her fingers. “I had not had a drink of vodka in ten years, and I... ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’ so I left. I leave. I got in the car and started to drive home, and it was about when I hit the hotel that I started to feel it, so I pulled in because I was comfortable there. I’ve been going there since I was a little girl. When I came out of treatment before, I lived there for six months.”
“I was definitely feeling it,” she said of the drink. “By the time I went in, I put my purse on the table in the corner where I always sit, then I looked over and saw some people,” she said. “I went over and we started talking, then the maître d’, who I’d never met before, said to go back to my seat, but the girl said, ‘Oh no, she’s fine.’”
Dr. Phil, in full-on glare mode, pestered her over the details of that night, but Richards claimed that her memory was “foggy” and that she didn’t really know why the cops were called.
“I don’t remember all that. I remember bits and pieces,” she said. “When I get upset… all I can tell you is from that point [the maître d'] called the police, they came, they said, ‘Let’s go.’ I went to use the ladies room and a few minutes later they all came into the bathroom like, ‘Come on out.’”
She admitted to locking herself in the stall for a few minutes. “Here’s the thing: I started to get scared. When they first banged on the door, I was scared. And I was intoxicated, so everything is magnified. I unlocked it and then they just grabbed me. They didn’t even give me an opportunity to walk. They just… picked me up.”
Richards was then asked about her behavior at the police station—namely, the allegation that she’d tried to kick a male police officer in the groin. “I was frightened, and I didn’t like the way they were treating me,” responded Richards. “When I got there, the way they were grabbing me and doing the handcuffs, yeah, I think I was flailing around, and maybe I did kick ‘em. I don’t know. At that point, I was angry, and I was frightened.”
It is, of course, hard to believe that this entire chain of events was due to one vodka drink—a point Dr. Phil kept hammering home.
“I poured one drink… but maybe it was bigger than I thought,” she said, later adding, “I did have drinks a couple of other times over the last few months. It was wine. I was ashamed to say anything at the reunion. I was embarrassed.”
“I would’ve loved to say to the girls, ‘You know what? You’re right,’ but the way they were coming at me, they didn’t make it easy for me to tell them, ‘You’re right. I screwed up,’” Richards added.
“You are drunk in a bar at 1:30 fighting with a cop. That is not good mothering. That is meltdown mothering,” proclaimed Dr. Phil.
A sobbing Richards also said that her sister Kyle texted her for the first time in five months following her arrest to ask if she was OK. “I haven’t spoken to her, but I’m sure some people are having a field day with this, and I don’t really care,” she said.
The problem, it seems, is Richards’ continued need to be on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when it’s clearly proven to be harmful to her well-being. She’s fallen into the role of the ‘substance-abusing wild card’—one that’s great for the show’s ratings but not so great for Richards’ health.
“If you can’t handle the heat from the public—the criticism, and the show—would you walk away from it?” asked Dr. Phil. “If I can’t, yes I will,” Richards replied.
That would probably be the ideal outcome here. Exploitation circus though it was, Richards did agree to check herself into a rehab facility in the wake of the Dr. Phil interview.
As for Dr. Phil, if you tune in tomorrow you get to see five women scream-fighting over a college professor/former lover. Because he cares.