Kyle Richards Says She Was Curious To Kiss Morgan Wade in “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Reunion

For Bravo Dykes everywhere, all roads of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 13 have led to this week’s “Reunion Part 3,” when Kyle Richards finally directly answers questions about her rumored relationship with Morgan Wade, which has been a storyline in-season as well as a popular topic in the trashy tabloids that love to cover these shows. I’m here with a breakdown of everything she said that will hopefully be a little more queer and less salacious than said trashy tabloids, who really are obsessed with peddling stories about Kyle/Morgan.

Kyle Richards at the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion part three addressing the rumors of dating Morgan Wade.

The segment on Kyle Richards/Morgan Wade comes at the tail end of the reunion’s final part, ending the season on a very queer note in my opinion, even if Kyle is vague in some of her answers about her friendship with Morgan. Andy Cohen spends much of the episode talking to Kyle and her sister Kathy Hilton, who makes a guest appearance despite not being a Housewife this season, about their familial squabbles and then asking Kyle about her separation from long-time husband Mauricio. It’s all very emotional!

Then we get to the million dollar Morgan question. Andy starts by asking the rest of the cast if they thought Kyle and Morgan were dating. Everyone goes silent. The light leaves Dorit’s eyes as she goes no thoughts just vibes mode, but that’s a pretty frequent mode for her to be in. Erika seems to look at Kyle as if she’s waiting for some sort of cue from her. Finally, Crystal chimes in and simply says “yes.”

Kyle asks if it’s only because the tabloids were already saying it, and Crystal says no that she had been receiving messages and photos from people about the rumors and that all signs seemed to indicate Kyle and Morgan were dating. Kathy corroborates whatever Crystal is specifically referring to, noting Crystal asked her about Kyle and Morgan in a vague way. Andy asks Dorit directly what she thought, and she says the photos Kyle and Morgan were posting on Instagram made them look like girlfriends. She is correct…the photos Kyle and Morgan were posting on Instagram made them look like girlfriends:

Morgan Wade sitting in Kyle Richards' lap

It’s worth noting this all unfolds much differently than these things tend to go on Real Housewives. This is not the first time a Housewife has been rumored to be dating a woman, but usually when these rumors come out, there’s an air of accusation to them, as if there’s something inherently salacious about a queer relationship. That’s certainly the tone the tabloids take, too. (Seriously, just Google “Kyle Richards Morgan Wade” and you’re bound to read some headlines that sound like they were written in the 90s.) Also, when Housewives have previously shut down queer rumors, they sometimes absorb that language of accusation, not displaying full on disgust but still reacting as if the rumors are a moral judgment of some sort. Even Kyle used to say people accused her and previous Beverly Hills Housewife Teddi Mellencamp of being in a relationship. I hate when people use the word “accused” about queer rumors, even if the rumors are unfounded! But here in “Reunion Part 3,” there isn’t an accusatory tone. People are speaking candidly and without judgment.

And it’s actually kind of sad to watch Kyle throughout it all! Not because the other Housewives are attacking her, because they’re not. But because there’s suddenly so much pressure on her to answer in black or white terms. There’s so much pressure on her to say yes or no. And look, I have no way of knowing how this famous wealthy white woman in Beverly Hills who I’ve watched on my television for many years actually identifies. I’m not saying she’s for sure queer or for sure involved with Morgan Wade beyond the level of friendship. I’m just saying that this all looks and feels familiar. People love to talk about sexuality being a spectrum, but then they want celebrities to declare labels definitively, lest they be accused of queerbaiting (which is a complete misuse of that term, I’ll remind you). Kyle has already said she is open to dating women earlier this season. That’s enough for me to consider her some flavor of queer, even if she is clearly unsure how she identifies right now.

But back to the episode at hand: We now move into questions about Morgan’s music video that Kyle was in. I’ve written extensively about the music video. The premise of it is that Morgan is new to the neighborhood and starts up a passionate fling with her hot older neighbor (Kyle). Morgan conceived of the project because she thought it would be a funny way to “poke fun” at the rumors already circulating about their friendship at the time. Kyle shares that she told the director of the music video that she had never kissed someone on camera before, let alone a woman. She says she was very nervous and anxious.

“But if I’m being honest with myself, I was obviously curious, in order to say yes,” Kyle says of kissing Morgan in the video. She gets a little flustered. “Don’t be embarrassed,” Kathy says, giving good ally sister. “I’m saying I was obviously curious,” Kyle said. “I said yes for a reason. I mean, and she’s, you know what? She’s hot. What can I say?”

Andy next comes right out with it and asks Kyle if there’s anything going on between the two of them. She hesitates. “In that way?” she asks, presumably meaning romantic. Another pause. “No,” she says. Andy asks if they’re a couple. She says no. He asks if Kyle has feelings for her. “I mean, I love her, and she’s my friend. And I love her.” Andy pivots to asking Kathy what she thinks of Morgan, and she has lots of nice things to say about her.

Andy has one more question for Kyle: “Kyle, could you see yourself with Morgan?” Here’s how she responds: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. By the way, I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Not a no, Andy observes.

“I’m evolving,” Kyle adds. “I’m changing. I’m clearly going through some evolution of my own. And I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds right now.

Woof. The repeated “I don’t knows.” I feel for Kyle! She’s 55; she was married to Mauricio for 28 years (they’re not officially divorced yet but are separated); if she is queer, then it makes sense that she would be struggling to process it all and struggling to say it out loud. Also, a component of this I frequently forget is that Morgan Wade hasn’t publicly declared her sexuality either. Between not wanting to out Morgan and perhaps not being ready to out herself completely, it makes sense that Kyle wouldn’t want to be too specific or direct with the ways she answers questions about them. She is direct when she says no they’re not a couple. But again, that’s a black and white distinction, and we all know queerness can look like so many things other than being in a specifically defined queer relationship.

Kyle is no stranger to the bizarre social contract reality television stars enter into. She has been on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for 13 years. A spotlight is on you and your life and your relationships, and you can set boundaries, but they’re hard to maintain in the face of viewer pressure to spill every part of your life and the gossip machine of the tabloids. Possibly beginning to explore queerness for the first time in your fifties would be hard enough as it is; to do so with cameras pointing at you adds a whole other challenge.

Again, Kyle has said this season she would be open to dating a woman. She brought it up herself. And her flustered and unsure reaction to Andy asking if she could see herself with Morgan is more telling — and ultimately more interesting to me, as a queer viewer and as a queer person who had a circuitous path toward coming out — than if she had given a simple yes or no. I remember once feeling that if I said it out loud, everything would change. In a way, that was true, but not in the big scary way I imagined.

Yes, I realize I’m projecting my own queer journey onto Kyle here, but that’s just sort of what being a frequent viewer of reality television entails. And for all the pieces out there scrutinizing Kyle’s every move and framing this all as some juicy, titillating tale to be devoured and spat up, I hope I can offer something a little deeper in my close read of these moments. The prevailing narrative coming out of this week’s episode is that Kyle confirmed she isn’t a couple with Morgan. But anyone queer who watched that episode can easily see…there’s something queer here! Which I say not to perpetuate the rUmOr MiLl but rather to call attention to the fact that conventional or straightforward coming out scripts truly don’t fit everyone. Questions about one’s sexuality aren’t always easy to answer with yeses and nos, in black and white terms. I don’t know is a perfectly valid answer and a strikingly honest one. Kyle’s responses are realer than we tend to get from reality.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 810 articles for us.

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