Sunday, April 8, 2018

Luann de Lesseps on Jail, Blackface and Getting Groped by Russell Simmons
She may be facing possible jail time, but a Real Housewife can still stay defiantly on brand. And so it was that Luann de Lesseps – aka “the Countess,” New York branch – greeted a reporter at 10.30 on Thursday morning in her Upper West Side penthouse wearing a stunning red dress by Paris Gordon, hair and make-up glossily camera-ready, as if it was really 8pm and time to hit the town with Bethenny, Dorinda, Sonja, Carole, and Tinsley. 

She was bemoaning the temporary loss of a pair dusty pink jeans, “which would be perfect for spring,” while solicitously offering coffee, and getting ready for a meeting and a flight to Los Angeles. On the kitchen table was a battery of “Calm” products, including for the bath – necessary accoutrements because the life of a Bravo Housewife is a perpetually dramatic one. You don’t have to choose between fight or flight. You do both.

The penthouse has a north west facing terrace, the Hudson glinting between high rises. The apartment's bookshelves hold a diverse selection of titles, including a biography of Abbie Hoffman and Julia Phillips’ You’ll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again. 

De Lesseps, 52, will soon vacate the property – rented so she could film scenes for The Real Housewives of New York City – and return to her full-time home in Sag Harbor. A personalized ‘Luann’ Real Housewives director’s chair stood in front of a window.

During an intense conversation about her all-too-brief second marriage, out-of-control drinking, rehab, a life-altering car accident, and facing a clutch of charges which may lead to her incarceration, de Lesseps revealed she had endured sexually inappropriate behavior by men “throughout my life,” including allegedly having her ass grabbed by music mogul Russell Simmons, who is currently facing multiple rape allegations.

“He grabbed my ass in an elevator, he was just a pig,” de Lesseps said. “I haven’t told anybody about that before. I was grossed out. I was like ‘How dare you.’ He invaded me, he took advantage of me, being who he is, thinking he is all ‘it,’ all everything. He thought he could just do that. I looked at him and said, ‘Don't ever do that again.’”

The incident took place, de Lesseps said, “around three summers ago, at Soho Beach House, Miami.”
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