Following recent episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in which fellow cast members have commented on, questioned, and made jokes about Crystal Kung Minkoff's struggles with body image and bulimia, the reality star is speaking out.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Minkoff said she was "embarrassed" by her castmates. One shocking moment in particular featured a drunk Erika Jayne suggesting that laxatives were a good way to "get rid of" food that Minkoff regretted eating. Jayne followed it up by joking that Minkoff "can't have" a chicken tender because of her eating disorder.
Despite her discomfort, Minkoff says she tried to educate Jayne about the seriousness of using laxatives. "It was very uncomfortable for me," she said. "Because when she mentioned the laxative, I actually explained that my best friend suffered from that... She didn't know it was an eating disorder. She had always known about mine... And then I found out she was doing that. And I was like, 'You know that's a problem.' So I explained that story."
Although Garcelle Beauvais criticized Jayne's comments in a confessional, it appeared that many cast members didn't know when to quit inquiring about Minkoff's eating disorder. Minkoff said the show edited out a moment in which she set boundaries with the cast around the words they used.
"I said to them, this is starting to feel a little too graphic for me," she revealed. "It's very, it's so deeply embedded in me. Those words are very hard to say. So I just would never say those words... I find other words that make me feel more comfortable. So when people are like, asking me directly, 'Do you do that? Throwing up?' I'm like, 'Ugh, you guys. This is a lot. I'm an open book. But try to be a little more gentle.'"
Minkoff says she's no stranger to invasive comments from the other housewives and pressure from show producers to reveal personal information.
"It's the experience of the show," she explained. "There's an expectation that I'm going to ask people questions and they're going to ask me questions that are far more invasive than normal because the show is designed to hear your inner thoughts."
As a result, she said she doesn't often call out the housewives for their overstepping.
"This is not something you 'clap back' at. This is not, like, you're making fun of my clothes," Minkoff said. "This is so deep and painful and rooted in, like, my view of life and my view of myself. It's not frivolous, that I'm going to 'clap back' at you. I'm just going to walk away and protect myself, and that's all I can do."
"I have to protect myself when it comes to this," she concluded. "Because when the show is over, I still have my eating disorder."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo on Wednesdays at 8 PM ET.
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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.