On July 3, 2023, People Magazine published an exclusive that claimed Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” had separated after 27 years of marriage.
A source “close to the pair” was quoted saying that “Kyle and Mauricio have been separated for a while now but are still living under the same roof. They remain amicable as they figure out what’s next for them and their family.”
In response, the couple published a pretty vague joint statement on Instagram the following day that stated “any claims regarding us divorcing are untrue. However, yes, we have had a rough year.” They went on to say: “There has been no wrongdoing on anyone’s part.”
When one of my three sisters broke the news of their marital troubles on our WhatsApp group chat, I was devastated. I’ve never met them and yet Kyle and Mauricio are among a small group of couples who’ve taught me what a healthy, loving, Jewish marriage can look like.
I’ve been watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” since it first started airing in 2010, and Richards has been there from the start, with Mauricio by her side, cheering her on with his signature stoner smile. Most Housewives husbands are at best clueless and creepy at worst, but Mauricio always felt like part of the group, making easy conversation with the other Housewives and occasionally spinning them around the dancefloor.
I’ve watched their lives unfold for 13 years; I’ve “known” them longer than I’ve known my husband.
And I do feel like I know them. Editing and manufactured drama aside, the sheer amount of time the cast spend in front of the camera makes it difficult to hide who they really are. Any true Housewives fan learns how to spot a bad egg a mile off.
Sure, Richards and Umansky, in their sprawling Beverley Hills mansion, feel out of touch and ridiculous at times. Kyle’s Birkin bag collection is outrageous and I still giggle about the time she sobbed after seeing her mother-in-law’s facelift for the first time. It’s part of what makes watching RHOBH so entertaining. Despite all that, they’ve always been the most relatable couple on the show, mainly because it’s very clear that family is the most important thing to them.
I’ve watched them raise six dogs and four daughters. The oldest, Farrah, Kyle’s daughter from a short-lived previous marriage, told the Daily Dish: “I always say I have two dads; they both raised me.” Richards told The Knot that when Mauricio proposed, “he also gave Farrah a little ‘engagement ring’ that was a heart with two hands holding it.” That’s the kind of dad he is.
Kyle is the kind of mother who leaves her annual, celebrity-studded White Party to lie next to her 2-year-old in her crib because that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep. As a mom of two young kids, watching Kyle model how to balance a social life with parental responsibilities gave me confidence to do it myself. I thought of her as I rocked my 4-month-old daughter to sleep during a friend’s chuppah, and later held her in my arms on the dance floor: I wasn’t as free as the childless guests, but I wasn’t removed from them, either.
The couple have always made a point of sharing their Judaism on the show. Mauricio, a Jew with Russian, Lithuanian and Greek heritage who was born in Mexico, asked Kyle to convert before they were married.
“It was really a no-brainer for me,” Kyle told The Knot. “I used to look at the Jewish families and think, ‘Aw, they’re all married and they have these great family dinners together.’ I loved that whole life.”
Whether it’s watching those family dinners or them light the Hanukkah menorah, or even a flash of a mezuzah on their doorway, witnessing a loving family seamlessly incorporate Judaism into their lives makes me proud.
Sara, my Bravo-loving colleague (everyone needs one!) said it best: “It’s heartwarming to see our traditions play out on TV when they are not typically represented in much of what we watch. Yes, their daughter Portia’s bat mitzvah was lavish and over the top, but as I’m planning my daughter’s bat mitzvah, it’s fun to think back on it and see how proud of their daughter they were.”
As filming wrapped on season 13 of RHOBH in May, months before their possible separation came to light, it’s unlikely we will know anything more for a while. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done my own (very thorough) detective work into those Morgan Wade rumors, but it has brought me little joy.
My world will feel a little less stable, a little less safe if Kyle and Mauricio split. But I’ll always be thankful to them for showing me how to create a loving home, how to laugh your way through life and that — eventually — your children will sleep in their own beds. Perhaps some couples simply aren’t meant to stay together forever; and 27 years of happy marriage is something to be proud of wherever you live in the world. However this story plays out, I’m sure that they will handle it with grace for the sake of their family.