Leah McSweeney is an open book.
In her new memoir Chaos Theory: Finding Meaning in the Madness, One Bad Decision at a Time (out everywhere today, April 5), The Real Housewives of New York City star opens up about everything from her teenage years battling drug and alcohol addiction, to getting sober, starting her clothing company Married to the Mob and starring on Bravo's super successful reality series.
Now, the mother of one is getting brutally honest about the process of telling her story (plus, dishing on her friendships with Rihanna and Julia Fox).
Read on for E! News' exclusive interview with Leah McSweeney.
E! NEWS: Was writing the book harder or scarier than you expected?
LM: All of that, yes. It was definitely harder than I thought and also what surprised me is the journey that writing the book actually took me on with myself. I learned more about myself by recounting my life and retelling my life and it brought me to a really better place than I was in when I started writing the book.
E!: What were some of the things you learned about yourself?
LM: After recounting some of the stories with my teenage years and my parents, I realized just how much pain they must have been in, because now that I'm a parent I can't imagine my daughter being a drug addict and not coming home for a week. I would be in a grave for sure, like I would literally have a heart attack. I think that I just took for granted my parents back then and I didn't realize the impact that I had on them. I was also carrying around a lot of that shame still from my teenage years, from my early 20s, from all my drinking and drugging, so I think it was just a really healing experience.
E!: When did your battle with addiction start?
LM: I think my addiction started probably at age 13 with smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, but then it's crazy because I really went from drinking 40s and smoking cigarettes, relatively harmless all things considered, to doing pretty hard-core drugs just a year later at age 14. It was like living in hell.
E!: Can you pinpoint your rock bottom?
LM: There were a few rock bottoms. The main one, which was in 2009, I had a death premonition and it was like a message from the universe. I felt deep within me that I wasn't going to live past my birthday that year and that's when I went into recovery.
E!: How is your sobriety going?
LM: I just went two years without alcohol on March 31, but I'm 90 days off of everything, because I was smoking weed too, which I realized I don't wanna do. So I started my day count over again and I'm kind of recommitting to sobriety and recommitting to my recovery. So my 90 days is tomorrow.
E!: How's your dating life?
LM: I'm not dating. If I was dating I would have no problem being open about it. I feel like I've been so busy with the book, but look, maybe that's what's next for me. Maybe there will be some dates on the horizon.
E!: I read that you actually knew Julia Fox in recovery.
LM: Everyone loves this story so much. Yes, that's how we originally met.
E!: What's it like seeing her...
LM: Blow the f--k up? It's not surprising because Julia was always meant to be famous and in the spotlight. She's honestly just exactly the same. She's eccentric and funny and it's good for her. I'm happy for her…It's pretty fascinating.
E!: Is there any update on your friendship with Rihanna, who is a fan of your clothes?
LM: Me and RiRi, we chat, we text. She's just a good human being, I'm so happy for her. I mean look at her, she has changed pregnancy, she has changed it and I love it. Some of these celebrities, they hide when they're pregnant. God forbid we see them put on some weight, they all hide. It's like the weirdest thing. She is out there with her stomach showing in every single outfit so proud of it and I am like, ‘F--k yes, RiRi!' She is the ultimate symbol of divine femininity. Icon!
E!: What would be your one piece of advice to a new mother like Rihanna?
LM: Don't listen to anyone because everyone has everything to say and at the end of the day women have been giving birth since the beginning of time and we've been able to handle it with no extra gadgets or whatever. You'll be fine no matter what, you'll handle it.
Chaos Theory is available anywhere books are sold.
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