On a gorgeous August day, Brandi Glanville appeared perfectly calm and confident as she posed in various skin-baring swimsuits at Rafi Lounge, a zen oasis in Malibu, Calif.
The peaceful vibes and ocean views were a stark contrast to what the 50-year-old “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum has endured this year.
In January, Caroline Manzo, her co-star on the forthcoming second season of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club,” alleged Glanville gave her unwanted kisses and touched her in intimate areas without her consent while they were off-camera in a locked bathroom in Marrakech, Morocco.
“It was a really tough beginning of a year,” Glanville said, reflecting on the impact of her headline-making interactions with Manzo, 62.
“I feel like the narrative that’s out there is very unfair,” said the longtime model, who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and hasn’t publicly addressed the ordeal in detail — until now. “I’m ready to clear things up.”
Sources have told Page Six that both women’s mics were on and that audio of the alleged incident exists.
Glanville’s attorneys demanded that Shed Media — a Warner-owned production company that makes “RHUGT” for NBCUniversal streamer Peacock, along with more Bravo reality shows — release the recordings to rebut the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” alum’s account.
But audio was never issued and a Shed Media investigation wrapped up quietly with no evidence emerging to support either party, we’re told.
“If anything like that actually transpired,” Glanville asserted, “I would’ve thought that production would’ve stepped in.”
Reps for Shed and Peacock previously issued a joint statement to Page Six saying, “The safety and security of cast and crew while shooting is extremely important and we take all reports seriously.”
Viewers will be able to draw their own conclusions when the Peacock Original airs in 2024.
The season premiere was originally slated for this year, but NBCUniversal decided to air yet another “Housewives” spin-off — “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: RHONY Legacy” — first.
That program will launch in December.
“The longer they push [my season] back, the more speculation there is,” Glanville sighed. “I just want it to air and be done, so everyone can have their takeaways.”
She’s been Bravo’s consummate wild child since she first entered the fray — clad in her signature skimpy bikinis — on Season 2 of “RHOBH,” which aired in 2011.
For years, Glanville said she and other reality TV stars have been rewarded — not maligned — for outrageous behavior.
“I’m hired to be the drunk, fun one,” said the white wine enthusiast.
These days, she suspects unscripted drama is losing its edge.
“Honestly, the old days of reality TV will never be again because we are such a sensitive society now,” she said, claiming that “new rules” have been implemented “all of a sudden.”
But Glanville mused that producers are sending mixed messages.
“If they’re going to have rules for us, we can’t be shooting 15 hours a day, drinking all day long,” she said, “and [producers] telling us to ‘bring the party [because] we don’t have a show.’”
A source close to production, however, told Page Six that Glanville was “never forced to drink and, like all cast members, was only encouraged to be her authentic self” while filming.
It should be noted that NBCUniversal’s reality programming, including Shed Media-produced shows, has featured plenty of people — including new “RHONY” stars Ubah Hassan and Jenna Lyons — who don’t drink from the start.
There have also been key players — Lala Kent, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and Gina Kirschenheiter, among others — who’ve shared their respective sobriety journeys with audiences.
A second production source told Page Six that “the show does not require any cast member to consume alcohol.
In fact, the show works very closely with all cast members to make sure boundaries are respected with respect to alcohol.”
Still, Glanville’s boozy behavior has earned her lots of screentime.
After an initial “friend of” role, she was a full-fledged cast member on “RHOBH” for three consecutive seasons and then guest-starred on the show for several years after.
In 2021, she was offered a spot on “RHUGT: Ex-Wives Club” Season 1, which was filmed at Dorinda Medley’s Bluestone Manor estate in Massachusetts’ Berkshires region.
“Housewives” impresario Andy Cohen referred to the cast — which included Glanville, Medley, 58; Jill Zarin, 59; Phaedra Parks, 49; Eva Marcille, 38; Vicki Gunvalson, 61; Tamra Judge, 56; and Taylor Armstrong; 52 — as his “twisted fantasy,” rhapsodizing over the fiery and potentially messy combination of personalities.
“I’ve always been an a–hole. I’ve always been very outspoken and sassy,” Glanville said, owning her reputation. “I think the secret sauce is just not holding back and being yourself.”
Her first season of “Girls Trip” saw a portion of the cast drinking, smoking marijuana, and engaging in same-sex flirtations.
“We got drunk and high and I made out with Taylor and gave people lap dances,” Glanville said. When she came back for another season, she thought the “assignment” remained the same.
With reflection, she feels as though she was “punished” for acting like she always has.
Shortly after Manzo’s allegations were made public in January, Glanville was barred from participating in the Season 1 reunion for Peacock’s now-Emmy-nominated competition reality show, “The Traitors,” on which she’d been a fan favorite.
Without her, she said, the reunion “was super boring.”
The willowy blonde — who shares sons Mason, 20, and Jake, 16, with ex-husband Eddie Cibrian — claims that Manzo was the opposite of boring while shooting “RHUGT” in Morocco.
“She was fun! She was definitely engaging in talking about threesomes and telling us to feel her boobs because they were … perfect,” Glanville alleged.
“And the girls were touching her boobs,” she further claimed. “We kind of thought she was going to be uptight. And she was honestly cool — until you crossed her.”
Glanville is puzzled by the accusations. In a legal letter obtained by Page Six in March, her lawyer contended that all exchanges were mutual and even encouraged by Manzo.
After the alleged incident in the bathroom, “Not only did the eyewitnesses ask Ms. Manzo if she was OK, to which she responded with a smile and thumbs up, but … Ms. Manzo made a lighthearted comment to the eyewitnesses about having been kissed by a girl before but never … ‘kissed back’ until now,” attorney Duncan Levin wrote.
Glanville — who said she currently holds “no ill feelings” toward Manzo — made an attempt to discuss the matter privately with her castmate after they each returned home from filming in North Africa, but got no reply.
“I just want to make sure she’s fine. Caroline didn’t want to talk, but she seems to be doing great,” she said of the grandmother and mom-of-three, who shares children Albie, 37, Lauren, 35, and Chris, 34, with husband Albert Manzo III.
“I think it just comes down to she hasn’t been on [‘Housewives’] TV in [nearly] 10 years and she wasn’t ready for what a ‘Girls Trip’ really is. She’s a grandma, it’s different.”
In response to Glanville’s claims, Manzo’s attorney Derek Smith told Page Six in a statement, “Sexual assault is something we take very seriously. We are not interested in engaging in a shameless tabloid war.”
Glanville claims that “Housewives” honcho Cohen, 55 — who did not bear witness to the melee — has been a sounding board amidst the turmoil.
“Andy and I have had a ton of conversations because this is the first time I’ve ever dealt with anything like this,” she alleged to Page Six. “This is new for me and this is scary for me. He’s been very helpful, honestly.
“He’s like, ‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Some people are going to probably see it and just say, “That’s Brandi being Brandi,”’” she claimed he told her. “‘Don’t be too hard on yourself.’”
Glanville clarified that Cohen has not taken sides in her conflict with Manzo. “He knows me as a human, he knows Caroline as a human,” she said. “He likes us both.”
Notably, numerous “Housewives” who participated in Glanville and Manzo’s “RHUGT” season have risen to the former’s defense.
“Brandi is one of my most trusted confidantes,” said “Real Housewives of Atlanta” alum Parks, a fellow divorced, single mother of two boys. “She is extremely sensitive and often misunderstood.”
Gretchen Rossi, who once starred in “Orange County,” told Page Six she has seen a softer side of the bombshell, too.
“I think Brandi has been a little pigeonholed into a certain type of character on these shows,” the 44-year-old said. “She really is multi-layered and has a lot of depth to her soul.”
Manzo has said another franchise return is off the table after Morocco. Meanwhile, Glanville — who is exploring opportunities beyond Bravo — is not ready to wave goodbye to reality TV just yet.
“I’m definitely not taking a break,” she said, emphasizing that she is in no way associated with Bethenny Frankel’s “reality reckoning,” though she does think the genre’s stars should unionize.
“For a while, this whole narrative had me all shook up but then I just realized life goes on,” she said. “I’m in control of my happiness and I’m in control of how I move forward.”
Eventually, she’d like to produce reality shows — not appear in them.
“I’m pitching ideas. Ultimately, I don’t want to be in front of the camera forever. I don’t want to be throwing wine at 60,” Glanville said. “I want to be drinking it.”
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