The one thing you notice about talking to LeeAnne Locken is how absolutely engaged she is in your conversation; you just feel it. When you talk to The Real Housewives of Dallas dynamo, you quickly see why the show, now going in her fourth season (kicking off this Wednesday on Bravo, check local listings) is where Locken truly has found her sweet spot in terms of relationships and communicating with her fellow Housewives. I grabbed some time with LeeAnne as the new season kicked off to talk about what Season Four has to offer, being a part of the amazing Bravo float in World Pride (and her devotion to the LGBTQ community), her wedding to now-husband Rich Eberlin (featured this season on the show) and what she’s learned about relationships along the way.
Michael Cook: Right off the bat, you were part of Bravo’s World Pride float and are part of a legendary video that went viral. Tinsley Mortimer and Sonja Morgan are bickering, while Reza Farahan and Kelly Dodd are watching from the sidelines. It actually took you to referee the ladies; LeeAnne Locken was the peacemaker!
LeeAnne Locken: Hel-lo! If that video doesn’t show you how far I have come…(laughs). Honestly, World Pride was just so much fun! We had the best day; I laid down in my bed that night and I just felt so full of love, love was radiating from the buildings. It was just so amazing and I have never felt so fabulous!
MC: The Real Housewives of Dallas is back for it’s fourth season! You are one of the franchises that still has a great deal of “OG” Housewives as part of your cast. Do you enjoy having the girls that have that started on this journey still be part of the cast now?
LAL: You know what I love, I love that the Housewives cycle, it’s a cycle, You start, you think you know everything, you watch the first season and it’s like “wow-I got some stuff wrong”. Then the next season you are in, it gets better and you really do learn. It is really nice to have Stephanie (Hollman) and Brandi (Redmond) still on the show because it’s someone that you can relate to that understands exactly what you are talking about. It’s someone that that is at the same place as you are. You get to the place of being in this for four to five years into it, and it’s like, “okay can we just appreciate each other at the bare minimum”?
MC: Last year, the implosion of a friendship was a huge story arc. To see a friendship like the one you had with D’Andra Simmons completely fall apart is never an easy thing to watch for viewers. Is it as hard to go through it on screen?
LAL: I will tell you that any time I had a friend who tried so desperately to destroy me or my relationship, it was painful. I considered D’Andra and Mama Dee like family at one point in my life. There was a huge part of me that did not just love them very much, but considered myself grateful to have them in my life. To watch them make a complete 360 about-face and say these awful lies, it is very painful. Anytime anyone lies about you when you think you love them, it’s painful. For me, it’s the same as being in a relationship. When you are in a relationship and you find out that someone cheated, it hurts. It’s the same feeling that I lived through when I finally saw the first episode. Let’s be honest, the entire season she had the courage to say these things to everyone else, and did not say them to my face.
I also have a problem with people who are not brave enough to say it to the other person’s face. I have a really big issue with that; I was just having coffee with Stephanie this morning and said that. If you are going to be brave enough to lie and to stir up shit about people, then you should be brave enough to do it to their face. And if you aren’t, you just shouldn’t do it.
MC: On a happier note, you got to share your wedding to Rich Eberlin this season. It’s almost like being able to have a time capsule of the biggest day of your life forever.
LAL: Yes! And can I tell you, literally Rich low-key stole the freaking show at my wedding! (laughs). He is so precious and so wonderful. What I am so excited for people to get to see is that on our wedding day when we were exchanging vows, people are genuinely get to see how Rich and I love and communicate with each other. There is prodding , joking, crying, there is everything. We have such an amazing love for each other that is so grounded in faith and trust and loyalty and honesty. You know when you are in a great relationship and it frees you to be your best self? I am excited to share that with everyone, because during the vows, even the preacher gets into it. These vows are unlike any other Housewives vows on the planet. There will be more gifs made than about any other scene ever (laughs).
MC: There have been some changes to the cast, and you have Cary Deuber exiting as a full time cast member and Kary Brittingham joining the cast. I have gotten to speak to her and it does not seem like the two of you exactly get along like a house on fire. Would you say that is accurate?
LAL: Yeah and she’s the one who set the fire (laughs)! I am happy to tell you why we didn’t get along; she has heard a lot of shit from D’Andra and some of D’Andra’s friends about me. If I sit here and tell you that someone said something, you are going to believe what I am saying is true because you don’t realize that I am trying to manipulate you and the way that you feel. It is Housewife 101. I have no ill will or harm towards Kary Brittingham. She was played; until she becomes intelligent enough to catch up to the game, she’ll be played. And that’s not my problem.
MC: Historically you have had issues with your fellow “OG” Housewives, with you now making amends with Brandi, Stephanie and Cary Deuber. Does mending these relationships help you see the progress you have made?
LAL: It feels great to know each other; we have a certain amount of comfort with each other. Secondly, I have always wanted to be the human being that is being better. For instance, if there is a train wreck or a car crash, everyone else wants to see it happen. I want to close my eyes, and then the second it is over, I want to be on the scene saying “what do I do, how can I help?” providing tourniquets and things like that. I am a problem solver, not a problem creator. For me to be able to get to a point where I could tell them how I feel in a way that they are receptive to hear, it is a God send. It is truly oxygen and has breathed life back into me. Stephanie no longer things that I am a dragon blowing fire and that everything I do is out of malice and hatred. She and I actually will laugh about that. Deuber will actually send me videos of Mark picking out a knife at a steakhouse (laughs). I have worked and they have worked really hard to create the relationships that we have. We fought so hard to get where we are, so it is going to take a lot for someone to manipulate us to get back to where we were. I don’t think any of us are willing to go there. It’s nice; the word peace is so correct. People think that power is in manipulation and destruction and information to have over other people. the truth is, nothing is more powerful than peace. When you are at peace with yourself and with others, that is a power that no one can shake. And that is where I am.
MC: We would be remiss if we did not discuss your absolutely undying commitment in all ways to the LGBT community. Where do you think it stems from?
LAL: It’s my soul. My soul sparks and shines when I am with my LGBT community. The majority, I would say close to 100% of my friends are gay men. Rich likes to joke with me and says “can you get a heterosexual straight men to be friends with you please”? I tell him “I can’t I don’t have anything in common with them” (laughs). I got involved in LGBTQ issues when I was a teenager, I buried my best friends older brother from HIV. I have been involved in the world of HIV awareness for a very long time. You also have to remember, think about how I grew up-with such torture and un-acceptance. When I am with that community, I am there and I relate. When I see a drag queen sing “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman I am bawling my freaking eyes out; I get it. I am right there. I am not saying I could sing it, but I feel it. I allow myself to feel it.
I love and I believe that no one should be shamed for three letters, for a sexual orientation or a choice. Like I have always said, I don’t care who you go to bed with, I don’t care who you go to bed as, what I give a shit about is that you go to bed happy. Because a happy person makes a better world. That is what I give a shit about. I am never not going to be a part of the LGBTQ world; it is where I am my most joyful. Wait until you see my bachelorette party honey. I have performers, you know….
MC: If the LeeAnne of today could tell the LeeAnne that walked into her first scene as a Housewife, what do you think you could tell her?
LAL: You don’t know everything. You aren’t right about everything. Stop trying so hard to make people see you and instead, just be yourself. Quieter. Calmer. Really Really think. I think back then, I was trying too hard to get people to accept me and to like me in my group that it just came across horribly. Poor Tiffany (Hendra), just got snow mounded by it. She knew who I was but she couldn’t explain it. I am not the easiest person to understand and I am one hundred percent aware of that and I really don’t have a problem with it. When people take the time to get to know me, I have lifelong friends that have lasted thirty years. Tiffany and I have been friends for over thirty years. If you don’t want to get to know me, that’s great and I don’t need you in my life. You can continue your false impression of what you think I am or why you think I do things. Even Brandi will tell you to this day, she was so angry with me because she thought that I was trying to “mother” her; I was just trying to help you and protect you and she’s like “I never saw it that way, and now that I do, I see you differently.”. We all can make very quick assessments of people, and when we do, we end up being an ass I guess (laughs)!
The Real Housewives of Dallas airs Wednesday nights on Bravo (check local listings)
All photos courtesy of LeeAnne Locken Facebook page
Wedding photo Courtesy of People Magazine