In a profile with The Daily Beast, published Monday, Hamlin, 68, admitted that he was initially hesitant about doing the reality show, on which his wife of 22 years has now starred for five seasons.
“I have my divorce lawyer on speed dial, and I do,” Hamlin said of what he told Rinna, 56, when she first approached him about possibly doing the show.
“I have had three opportunities to use him; once with Ursula, and two of my ex-wives,” said Hamlin, noting exes Ursula Andress, Nicollette Sheridan and Laura Johnson. “It’s the same guy every time. We send Christmas cards to each other every year.”
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“I said to Lisa, ‘You can’t do this. Everybody who does that show gets divorced. It’s a horrible, horrible thing, to do that show,’ ” said the Mad Men actor.
So what changed his outlook? A conversation with Rinna’s friend, former Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel.
“Bethenny convinced me from a branding point of view it would be a good thing to do. Then I was open to doing it on my own terms,” said Hamlin, who has a clothing brand with Rinna, of speaking with the Skinnygirl mogul.
But while the famous family has opened up their lives to the world, Hamlin says he only appears as much as he wants to for cameras and never signed a contract.
“I don’t have to do any of it. Sometimes Lisa will say to me, ‘They’re begging me to have a scene with you. If we give them that I get brownie points,’ ” said Hamlim.
And while Hamlin has easy access to his divorce attorney, he has no intention of ever using him again.
“I have seen her over the last 26 or 27 years get involved in any number of projects — soap operas, TV movies, clothing stores, clothing lines. Whatever it is, she figures out how to do it perfectly, rises to the top, and makes the best of every situation,” Hamlin said of Rinna.
“We listen to each other. Really listen to each other. The thing about listening is that it’s not something that comes innately to human beings. Normally we have a tape playing in our heads all the time. It can be hard to allow what other people are saying actually in. That’s what Lisa and I do — we listen,” he said of the RHOBH star. “And she’s smart, she’s the smartest person I have ever met. She’s smart as a whip. Our favorite thing is to hang out.”
In March, Hamlin and Rinna celebrated 22 years of marriage. And Hamlin has said there were “sparks right away” between the couple.
Last week, during a sit-down interview with SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle and Julia Cunningham on The Jess Cagle Show, Hamlin opened up about his adorable meet-cute with Rinna more than 20 years ago, when she was working at a store selling sunglasses.
“We met in a restaurant. She was working at an eyeglass store doing the night shift selling sunglasses. And I happened to know the owner of the store, I was having dinner with him and she came in to deliver the keys when she closed the store at 10. That’s how I met her,” Hamlin explained.
While Rinna has become widely recognized in the time since, Hamlin noted that their introduction came “before she was acting a lot and before she had sort of broken out.”
The L.A. Law actor was immediately smitten.
“It was sparks right away,” he admitted, before recalling the humorous conversation the pair shared upon meeting.
“She had just been to the circus the day before and she said, ‘Oh my God, I went to the circus last night and it was so sexy!’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘Wait a minute, here’s this girl. She’s sitting there and the elephants, right, and the clowns and all that.’ Because the only circus I’d ever been to was Ringling Brothers. But she was talking about Cirque du Soleil, which is very sexy, but I didn’t know that. I had not seen Cirque du Soleil at that point, so I thought, ‘If this girl can be turned on by elephant dung and whatever, I’m good with her.’”
Added Hamlin, “I was enchanted right away.”