Lisa Rinna on Returning 'Home' After the 'Housewives' and Tuning Out Negativity

Lisa Rinna

Lisa Rinna is back to doing what she feels she should be doing since leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Following her departure from the reality show after eight seasons, the Days of Our Lives alum has had more time to focus on acting and passion projects.

"It's just been so much fun," she told Parade in a new one-on-one interview. "My mom always said, 'When one door closes, another one opens,' but, you know, you can't forget I'm an actor. I started as an actor. I had a long career as an actor before I did that. And so to be able to go back, has been dreamy and exactly what I should be doing."

Rinna admitted that she feels like she's "back home." Recalling walking on to the set of American Horror Stories—on which she appeared in Season 3—for the first time, she revealed, "I had tears rolling down my face and I said out loud: 'I'm home.'"

For Rinna, roles like that didn't come her way when she was working on RHOBH. "You didn't get offered them. They didn't come about. It wasn't available," she shared, adding, "You know, in this business, when you're doing one thing, people don't necessarily reach out. They think you're busy. They think you're already working, or that just was the way that was. It was just not happening while I was doing that show."

So, to go back to doing what she loves, Rinna said, "I'm so grateful and I feel so blessed."

The actress' latest role is in Lifetime's new original movie Mommy Meanest, which also stars her older daughter Delilah Hamlin. The film, inspired by actual events, tells the story of a teenager who is cyber-bullied by her mother, played by Rinna.

"It is a true story and it was challenging," Rinna, who also executive produced the project, said. "I was certainly scared of it and I thought that means, 'I need to do it.' It was quite a challenge to find the empathy in this woman because as a mother myself, of course, I can't imagine ever doing something like that. But you have to find out what would drive somebody to go to those lengths out of the fear of losing their child and their need of controlling and such, and I think it was just a really interesting part for me to play. It certainly was. It was hard."

Continue reading for Parade's exclusive interview with Lisa Rinna about her new movie Mommy Meanest, which premieres May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime; plus, being on the receiving end of bullying, the Melrose Place reboot and roles she wants to play.

This film marked a first for you. It was your first movie with your daughter Delilah. What was that experience like for the two of you working together?

Well, unfortunately, we didn't really get to work together. Her scenes are not, as you know, with me. We have one scene, so to have her on set was really interesting and really fun. I went a little too much into mom mode when she would be on set. And I would be a little bit caretaking, I was told. But she liked it. You know, I made sure she had food. I made sure she had a chai latte in the morning. You know that kind of stuff. So I noticed myself going into mom mode, where if I was on set by myself, I wouldn't be in that mode, obviously.

<p>Courtesy of Lifetime</p>

Courtesy of Lifetime

Did she turn to you for any acting advice or tips on set? 

No. She is a natural, I will say. I think because the girls have been in front of the camera growing up, it's not such a big deal to them. If you have cameras in your house when you're younger, you don't know any different. I think that is a positive and it benefited her so that when she does have an acting role, which this was only her second, she's not as freaked out because cameras don't scare her as much.

Is acting something she's always wanted to pursue?

No. What's so funny is I think when your parents have a vocation, those girls grew up saying, "I am never acting. I don't want to act. No, no, no." So the fact that she now is acting and she likes it and she's good at it [is ironic]. And I bet Amelia will go into acting, too. It's in their blood. It's in their DNA. As models they're creating characters all the time, so I think it's a natural progression.

Did you have any hesitations or reservations about them stepping into the spotlight? I mean, given the movie is about cyber bullying, was that in the back of your mind as their mother?

I think growing up in this time and in this day and age, those girls were bullied all through school. I mean, I was bullied in school. Harry was bullied in school. It's nothing new. It's just we have a phone now and social media, and that's where I think it's very challenging for them. We could get away with things that they can't because there [were] no phones when we were growing up. I think it's extra challenging for them to just be alive in this day and age. I think what was really interesting is we sent them to an all-girls school and there was more bullying at the all-girls school than there ever was in a co-ed school. We really thought it would be a good thing. And it turned out to be not such a good thing.

It was rough. Delilah could certainly draw on this because she plays one of the bullies in the movie, and then figures out what's going on and has empathy for her friend. But I think it's a very relatable subject right now.

Related: Lisa Rinna Reveals Reason Behind Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Exit

You're a public figure. You've been on the receiving end of this. How do you tune out the negativity and the hate?

Girl, I mean, the last year on the show, I was getting death threats. If you can believe it. Death threats for me being on a reality show. So it was at a level that I really just had to tune it out. And, you know, Harry has a really great saying. He says, "What other people think about you is none of your business." And that is something that he's always talked to the girls about. "What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve." Of course, we can't help but look, but I try to adhere to that. And I know the girls have learned to get to a point where they just don't look at it or pay attention to it as much as maybe they did, and we kind of all have elephant skin at this point. Sadly, but that's the truth.

Death threats because of a reality television show. I mean that's not something you can easily be like, "Oh, I'm gonna turn off my phone, put that aside and forget about it."

It just went to a different level that last year, and I think life's too short to do anything that creates people being that angry and aggressive.

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While you star in Mommy Meanest with Delilah, you recently appeared in a Marc Jacobs campaign with Amelia. How would you describe this stage of your career and being able to share these special moments with both of your daughters? 

Surprising. I wouldn't have necessarily thought that this would be happening. I didn't plan it. It just happened and I say 'Yes' to the universe when it presents itself. It's just been absolutely wonderful, amazing. Harry's right there with us and he loves all the things that are happening and it's just been so lovely that the kids want to come home after they've been gone. They want to spend time with us, which we'll look at each other and go, "Can you believe that the girls want to go on vacation with us and they want to hang out with us and they want to go to dinner with us?" And I'm like, "No, I can't." [Laughs] Because when he was out of the house, he was like, "I never saw my parents again practically." You know what I mean? Like back in the day, you kind of went on and did your thing. So, to be able to share all of this with the girls has been so much fun.

When you became a mom, did you look forward to these days where you could one day like do a campaign or do a show with them?  

As a mother, you want your kids to be happy. You want them to be able to fulfill their dreams. I mean, you just want your kids to always be healthy and happy. Right? So this has been just a bonus on a bonus on top of a bonus. We get to travel together. We get to work together. It has just really been a dream come true with a dream I didn't even know that I had.

The movie is titled Mommy Meanest. Obviously you're not a "mean mommy"—

I love that title so much! I love it so much.

How would your girls describe you as a mom? 

Well, you'd have to ask them [laughs]. I think it's ebbed and flowed over the years...I was just doing something with Delilah, and she described me as a cool mom. I'm gonna take that and write it down and put it on my mirror that Delilah Belle said I was a cool mom.

Related: Melrose Place Is Getting a Reboot with Original Stars

There's gonna be a Melrose Place reboot... Would you be open to returning to Melrose Place?

I think everybody deserves another hit of Taylor McBride. I do. That was one of the greatest characters I've ever been able to play, and if it was written well, and I was asked to do it, I think it would be hard to turn down because I think revisiting Taylor McBride would be really fun.

Do you still keep in contact with the cast? Do you guys meet up?

I do from time to time. I've been seeing Kelly Rutherford a lot because we've been crossing paths during Paris Fashion Week and we've been going to some of the same shows. And I've always kept in contact with her, but we've actually gotten to see each other. And I've always kept in contact with Heather [Locklear] and Rob Estes. So yes, the answer is yes. I do when we can.

Is there another character you'd like to revisit, [one] that you've previously played?

I mean, I love Billie Reed from Days of Our Lives. I've always loved Billie, but I think it's time to create the new, next character. It's time. So, she will come. She's coming.

What are you envisioning? Who is this character?

Oh well, I want to murder somebody and I want to do a horror story and I want to get murdered. Those are all three things I've never played as an actor and, you know, I really enjoyed working with my Ryan Murphy...I'd love to go do a series with Ryan. That's like top of my bucket list.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.