Fans may have seen the last of Kim Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Kim’s sister and longtime co-star, Kyle Richards, tells ET that her sister will not appear on any episodes of season eight of the Bravo hit. This marks the first time in eight years of the show that Kim won’t appear as a cast member. The 53-year-old hasn’t been a full-time “Housewife” since season five, but appeared in a “guest” capacity during seasons six and seven. She arguably delivered season seven’s most intense moment, dramatically returning a gift Lisa Rinna bought for Kim’s grandson at the season seven reunion.
“You know, she's got a lot of stuff going on in her personal life,” Kyle shares. “She, I think, didn't want to do that … maybe it's a little too intense, so she's happy doing what she's doing right now.”
Kim is, of course, focused on her continued sobriety -- and her absence will be addressed this season. Still, her void is felt across the group.
“I think [it’s] a shame, really,” Lisa Vanderpump tells ET. “Because, always the relationship, when it's a family member, it really raises the stakes, because you're so invested in that. And I like Kim ... she stepped out at certain times, she's needed to step out, and it was a shame she didn't come back this year, because apparently, she's doing, you know, quite well.”
“It is weird,” Kyle says of filming without Kim. “You know, we started it together and even though we fought, we're sisters and I love her. There's nothing like having your sister there with you, even if you're fighting -- that's your blood, so it's like, it was kind of weird at first.”
“There were times I really wanted her to be there this season, but she opted not to,” she adds.
Still, there is a silver lining for the sisters: no more fighting in front of reality TV cameras. Kyle admits she considered walking away from the show because of the strain it put on her and Kim’s relationship.
“That created so much anxiety for me,” she says. “Just a very difficult, emotional time and I just thought, 'This is not what I thought the show was going to be.' I thought it was gonna be all fun and games, I don't want to do this, but you know, you find the good outweighs the bad, and a lot of good has come from doing the Housewives. I'm doing things that I would've never been given the opportunity if it wasn't for the Housewives.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills returns for season eight on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.