Vanderpump Rules' Kristen Doute Spills The Tea On How She Became Friends With Ariana Madix
With season seven of the reality show just around the corner, we sat down with the former SUR-ver and one-time queen of crazy, Kristen Doute herself.
Overlooking Sydney after a downpour that was followed by a dust storm, all in the space of 10 minutes, Kristen looked out the window and told 10 daily she was hoping to hit the beach later.
"I'm like 'just stay sunny, just stay sunny!'" she said, sipping a glass of sparkling wine.
Joking that she brought the chaos with her, she laughed. "Right?! Oh my God."
Once known for her tendency to leave a hurricane of drama wherever she went, the new Kristen is calm, collected, and in control. For anyone who's seen the early seasons of Vanderpump Rules, the transformation is remarkable.
Asked how she got here, she replied: "Therapy! Therapy, therapy, therapy, for suuure."
Kristen went on to say that watching the series back, and "hitting rock bottom and losing all of [her] friends" was also a catalyst for change.
"I lost Tom [Sandoval], I lost everyone, and I started dating James [Kennedy] out of complete insanity," she said.
Describing the realisation of "how dumb" it was to rebound with James as mind-blowing, Kristen said that after she broke up with him, the girls were able to open themselves back up to her.
"I remember Katie looking at me like ‘okay, now I can take you seriously," she recalled. "It was kind of over the course of all that time. So, I’m not craaazy Kristen, but I’m feisty Kristen. And I’m Kamikaze Kristen when I wanna take someone down."
This season, Kristen said, we'll see her try to take James down. It's unsurprising, Kristen knows.
"Shocker," she quipped, laughing at herself. "I make it my mission, I will make it my life’s mission. I needed a task! I get bored. It’s like, I’m a social justice warrior, I will take him down."
Throughout the interview, Kristen spoke with the awareness of someone who's been doing this for a while. Speaking about last season, which saw Kristen's screentime cut significantly from previous seasons, we asked whether she believed that Lisa Vanderpump's distaste for her also had an impact on her screentime.
"Probably", she mused, adding: "I don’t think Lisa has full control because I think if she did I’d probably be gone a long time ago".
She went on to explain that being in a happier headspace contributed to her being "boring", which also impacted her screentime.
"I was a lot more calm," she said. "It’s like my strong suit that my producers love about me -- probably what the fans love -- I insert myself in things that are not really my problem or my business."
She continued: "When I first started dating [Brian] Carter and I was so much happier, and I just didn’t care about everyone else’s crap anymore. I wasn’t being as vocal as I usually was."
"I was kind of just sitting back and watching and that just doesn’t work for reality TV. Not having an opinion doesn’t work. It’s not interesting."
Learning to balance the demand to create real, reality drama, with her actual real life, is something that all the cast members have gotten "a little better with" over the season.
"We do have a show to make," she explained. "It used to really bother me in interviews when people were making fun of me or saying mean things, but little stuff like that doesn’t bother me anymore."
Still, the balance of maintaining relationships and maintaining the realness of their reality show is something all the castmates have had to grapple with, and this season will be no exception, Kristen said.
"There are parts of this upcoming season that I don’t think I’m gonna wanna watch -- stuff with Carter and I -- that’s very real and very raw and very emotional," she said. "I’m really nervous because I was just very, very honest. I couldn't go in with a half truth. I feel for Carter, because he’s not a main cast member."
"It's really hard," she continued, sharing that "messed with [her] head a little bit" and reminded her of the early seasons when she was dating her now ex-boyfriend and co-star Tom.
"All I did was trash our relationship for the short time that we dated on the show," she said, adding: "You know, how do I be honest with the viewers, be honest with my friends, live my life the way I’m supposed to on camera, but not trash my relationship or hurt my boyfriend? It’s a very hard line to walk, to be really raw about things but protect it at the same time, it's a really fine line."
Of course, even bleeding out emotionally on camera doesn't guarantee that a scene or a plot will ever see the light of day.
One plot that's been left on the cutting room floor time and time again is how Kristen came to be friends with co-star and former nemesis Ariana Madix, who's been dating Kristen's ex Tom since the show's second season reunion.
Although Kristen and Ariana -- who once called Kristen a "full-on, bunny boiler psycho" -- have been friends for "a hot minute" now, the show has barely addressed how these one-time enemies buried the hatchet, leaving fans frustrated.
"It drives us crazy!!!" Kristen exclaimed, adding that we'll see a lot of their friendship this season.
"That really has been making us crazy, we see it on social media, people are like ‘wait, why are you in a photo together?!’" she said. "We are actually friends now. I would say like, maybe a year ago or less, I would always say ‘I think we’re friendly but I’m afraid to say 'friends' because then if she doesn’t like me, my heart’s gonna be broken ‘coz I like her’. I really like her! I never thought I'd say that."
So, just HOW did it happen? Kristen said that it was after she started dating Carter because while she was dating James, "no one believed that [their relationship] was going to be a thing" -- even Kristen herself.
"It was just a dumb rebound that I totally regret," she shared. "But when I started dating Carter it was obviously the real thing, and I think Sandoval saw that first and then he started noticing the change in me, and then because we were always around in a group, but I would just keep my distance from the two of them."
As time passed, Kristen said: "The way I played it was like, if they wanna play nice and say hello, then I’ll be nice and say hello, and if they don’t wanna talk to me, I’ll just stay away from them, but they both really liked Carter, and Carter really liked them, so I was like ‘well, damn it’."
She laughed. "It ended up being so great because I could’ve spoken to Tom and Ariana ‘til I was blue in the face being like ‘I’ve changed! I’m different now! I’m not the crazy Kristen I used to be!' and they never would’ve believed it," she said. "They just had to see it, and time had to pass. It was all of those things combined."
A beat passed, and Kristen added: "And Brittany. Honestly, Brittany just kind of brings all the girls together."
Seeing the girls all together is something viewers can look forward to seeing a lot of this season, as well.
"The girls have just banded together. It makes me really happy," Kristen said. "Everyone’s just so supportive of each other’s relationships and endeavours, and there’s drama -- I mean, there always is, and there’s a lot of fights -- but it’s more deep-rooted fights out of love, like if you think someone’s stepping in their own way, and helping them out."
Aside from girl power, Kristen said that the season will open on Jax and Brittany getting engaged and cover all the drama leading up to their engagement party.
"There's so much that happens in between," she teased.
Asked whether she truly believes that Jax is a changed man after multiple cheating scandals, a few arrests and more, Kristen gets visibly emotional.
"Yes, yeah," she said. "I do -- I would be the first one, I would rip that ring off Brittany’s finger and I would drag her back to Kentucky by her hair if I thought that he even had one second of a thought of hurting her again, or being unfaithful, or even being unkind or making her feel not as worthy as she is."
Kristen continued: "She’s one of the greatest people I’ve EVER known in my entire life and I think everyone who watches the show can see that -- obviously it's unfortunate that it took the passing of his father to kind of wake him up and do this 180, but it’s the only silver lining of that happening. Jax wants to be the man that his father was, so now he’s a great friend, a wonderful fiancé and I think he’s calmed down on the partying a little bit."
With so many Vanderpump marriages, engagements and long-term relationships, Kristen -- who once asked Stassi on camera whether she should wear a fake engagement ring to a party -- is in no hurry to tie the knot with Carter.
"We’re chillin’," Kristen said. "Brittany’s engaged, she’s getting married, in -- oh my God, six? Seven months? -- Lala got engaged, Stassi and Beau will probably just get married before you can even blink. But Carter and I are chilling. We’ve been together three-and-a-half years, we’ve got two dogs, we live together. I feel like we already are married. We’re hanging. I’m not like, in a rush. I mean maybe one day, I always thought I wanted all of that, but I’m just happy for all my friends right now."
Feature image: Getty Images
Vanderpump Rules Season 7 streams Tuesdays from December 4, same day as the US on Foxtel and hayu.