Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty
"I had a rough year. I never think, 'Oh wow. It's just such a rough year, and I'll never be able to handle it again.' I can always come back and handle something," Rinna, 59, told Interview magazine in an article published Friday.
Rinna — who was booed by Bravo viewers during a turbulent RHOBH panel at October's BravoCon — zoomed out from the show, noting that "something has gotten to the Housewife Universe because of what's going on in the world, and it's reflected in the way the fans react to the world of Housewives. And I just think it's unhealthy. It wasn't working for me. It wasn't right for me."
Charles Sykes/Bravo/Getty; Charles Sykes/Bravo/Getty; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Lisa Rinna, Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards
"It's always a scary thing to decide to leave something. But I always know when I need to do something," she said. "What happened was I left, really, right after the reunion. People don't know that. But I let everybody know right after the reunion that I was going to move on, that was going to be it."
Following her mother's death at age 93 in November 2021, the Days of Our Lives alum received backlash for online comments and racially insensitive remarks, including some against Real Housewives of Dubai cast members.
"I have had a really rough time of it. I think you've seen how hard this has hit me," she wrote in July in a since-deleted Instagram post. I'm sorry if I've raged on you, about you — it really has nothing to do with any of you."
She also criticized RHOBH for failing to properly memorialize Lois, instead focusing on trivial drama from the previous season that resurfaced. "I got one episode of grace. That's it," Rinna wrote. "Lois deserved and deserves much more. Shame on everyone."
Fans and even current RHOBH stars also took issue with how Rinna continued to leverage Kathy Hilton's alleged meltdown during the cast's Aspen trip, which led Hilton to dub Rinna the "the biggest bully in Hollywood" during the season 12 reunion.
From Rinna's perspective, though, "the story just didn't get told as two-sidedly as I would've liked."
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But Rinna generally took her criticism in stride, including the boos at BravoCon. "I got booed! It was fabulous," she told PEOPLE at the time. "I'm like a wrestler. The wrestlers get booed. The most famous wrestlers in the world get booed. The Rock [Dwayne Johnson] got booed for God's sake. I loved it. I've been in this business for 32 years."
Amid rumors she might not return for season 13, Rinna also shared an Instagram Story post that read: "I was Lisa F---ing Rinna before HW and I'll be Lisa F---ing Rinna After."