In the universe of Real Housewives, LeeAnn Locken is one of the “OG’s” that helped put her franchise on the map. Whether she was battling her co-stars, cheering on the LGBT community, or even getting married on camera, Locken consistently proved why she was one of the most prominent and popular Housewives across the entire franchise. As she departed the series after a tumultuous Season Four, I caught up with Locken as the quarantine continued to talk about married life with husband Rich Emberlin, what a post-Housewives life is going to look like, and her thoughts on how her final season played out.
Michael Cook: Happy Anniversary! You and Rich just celebrated a year, which People magazine paid tribute to. Looks like you are having a little fun at least during quarantine.
LeeAnne Locken: Oh Rich and I are having a blast. Well, I am having a blast, I don’t know how much fun he is having; I am making him do all of these remodeling jobs. If I say one more time “you know what I was thinking “…(laughs). We have two yards, and one of the back patios we never really used. I had a construction crew here for almost a month and a half, we ripped the patio out, put in out swing French doors, a whole new fence, everything!
MC: You announced that you were leaving the The Real Housewives of Dallas and many fans were shocked, as you were thought of as an anchor on the show, and were original cast member. What are your thoughts?
LL: The girls know that what I said (to Cary) was not what was truly in my heart. They have watched me at my LGBT events and watched me with women only positive HIV + events. They have seen me and been with me while I hugged and spent close time with people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
MC: The reunion definitely left you on somewhat of an island; how does it feel looking back and how does it feel to leave the show you helped create?
LL: I think people thought that I was sad over the issue with Cary, but that was not entirely it. What had really broken my heart at the reunion was that it is always the same; it’s always everyone against LeeAnn. This was just a gangup and it’s just not fun to always be the one. It’s lazy and it bothers me; don’t have a storyline- fight with LeeAnn, you’ll get on camera. Put LeeAnn’s shit down, irritate LeeAnn-you’ll get on camera.
MC: When did you decide it was time to step away from the show?
LL: I took December and January to myself. At the end of January, I met with Cary. I talked with Brandi on the phone. They both told me that in Mexico, production was telling them “fight with LeeAnne”. That is lazy producing and it’s not fair to constantly rely on me for the drama and then bury me. When they asked me “what do you think” about returning, the little voice inside me was saying “no don’t do it”, I did not want it and deserved to be treated better. I told them I was taking a break and they said “okay, are you sure”? I said that I just needed a break. The thought of going back and working with some of that cast that is fake, manipulative, mean, and nothing like they are on camera, I just could not do it. It made my heart sad to even think about it. My friends were thrilled that they “had their Leeann back”. I was happy, funny, & quick witted. I’ve never proclaimed to be politically correct, I am just me. I don’t ever mean any ill will with anything that I say; unless I am telling someone to their face to screw off, that I do mean (laughs).
MC: Andy Cohen has said publicly that he wishes the reunion did not go the way it did; was that of some comfort to you?
LL: He did. And that was very kind of him to say, because he did not have to say that. There was a point during the reunion at the end, he was handing out the elephants and he said “you look like you have a headache”, I said “I do”. He knew at that point that I was gone I think.
MC: It might be be hard to shuffle the cast with LeeAnn Locken gone. Do you feel that you will be missed?
LL: I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it. I sent my note to the fans which was basically thank you for the love, thank you for the encouragement. If it was not for our audience and those people who I don’t consider fans, but friends, if it was not for them, I would not have been there as long as I was. I did that show for those people, that is who I did the show for. To be real, honest, and genuine and funny if I could be. To be entertaining and I hoped to be educational also. Once I said goodbye and “stay tuned”, then no, I have not thought about being missed. It’s nice, I get up and don’t think about who is going to attack me today or what lie I am going to have to work with today.
MC: Some of the girls, particularly cast member D’Andra Simmons, are people that you had considered to be very close friends. Is it difficult when an off screen friendship implodes on screen like that?
LL: It was sad to me to see the realization of what the lack thereof of our relationship really was. I had seen it with her and other people, but I guess I was like my grandmother, and just an optimist. I kept believing that I would prove to her that she was worthy of good and real friends and that I could be one and show her how to be a real friend. I then started hearing all of the stuff she would say about me; she would go out in Dallas and it’s a very small town. She may think she knows everyone, but not everyone likes her. I don’t buy tables to impress people, I volunteer my time, my money, and my talents and that is why people actually like me. For example , she told me dear friend Kim Gatlin that she would not do a television show with me. Kim was putting together a “GCB” reality show and she told Kim that I was “not a real Christian and that I wanted to attack Christians”. We taped it for the show and they did not air it.
MC: One thing people are going to miss about you is that you are an avid and extremely vocal ally to the LGBT community and you made sure it was featured in your storyline year after year. For a show based in a conservative state, that support is going to be missed.
LL: I will tell you something that really bothers me is that I was hanging out and doing karaoke at the Round Up for the past twenty years. We suddenly get on the show and not a single one of those cast members had been at the Round Up and now suddenly they go to the Round Up! That is why I left; they would not air me correcting someone for something like that.
MC: To be clear; you did make the remarks about Cary Brittigham and you have apologized.
LL: Absolutely-I said it. The darkness though, did get blamed on me completely. I don’t know why it is acceptable for Brandi to be triggered by the the word trash and Stephanie triggered by the word suicide, but I am taken down to a red light district and cannot be triggered regarding childhood rape. It is that kind of double standard that I am happy that I will not be around for a while. It is like what I told the Daily Mail. You look at these women’s Instagram pages, and they are all preaching kindness and compassion; where was all that for me? Are you really kind and compassionate? Or are you fake and preaching on Instagram?
MC: Do you see a world where you would return to RHOD?
LL: I am taking a year off because I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am. I learned how to make a margarita at home. Taking the time to love on my home like I never have before. I needed time for me. As long as I stayed on that show, all I would have thought about and worked for and planned for would be the show. To be honest, it is not how I want to live. I think the show should follow us, we should not live for the show. I hear what the other ladies are trying to plan, and everything that they are buying, doing, or arranging they are trying to do for when the cameras are in town. That is not real. You should be living your life and when the cameras get here, you can say “okay this its what we’re doing:” That is what always has made such a difference for me; I did not want to do things for the show. I did not want to be that way.
MC: In a post Housewives world what are you doing?
LL: I am writing a book, my husband is writing one also actually. I am talking to others shows that could be for the fall or early next year. I am doing Zoom happy hours with my friends every Friday right now. I have also been doing a lot of lunch deliveries to police departments, fire departments, and the hospitals, and working with restaurants in the area to help deliver. I recently took a bunch of gift cards to Kroger for everyone that worked there. They each got fifty dollar gift cards just to say thank you, they are the front line .We need the grocery stores to stay open and we wanted them to know how much they are appreciated.
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Sometimes… you just have to pull a @lisarinna 😂 .. .. A HUGE THANK YOU to @bravoandy ❤️ @bravotv & @outnbcuniversal for including me in your #worldpride2019 float! 🏳️🌈 .. The streets of New York FLOWED WITH LOVE ❤️ and I felt BLESSED & GRATEFUL to be there 🥰😘 #lgbtq #lovewins #rhod #nbcout #lgbt #loveislove #leeannelocken #loveyourself #lgbta #ally4life
MC: With the world as it is right now, what do you want to say to the LGBT community right now?
MC: Hang on. I know we are having to postpone pride and my heart is broken. I am working with Stoli on the cocktail competitions. I will be out and around the country with Stoli doing cocktail events for the LGBT community and at bars everywhere. I will be at as many makeup pride events that I can be at. I am always here for you; don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of who you are. You are loved, not just by God, but by me. And dammit, I will not let anyone die in shame ever again.
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