Luann de Lesseps took to Twitter on Wednesday after being accused of being ‘disrespectful,’ and culturally ‘tone deaf’ as she arrived at a costume party as soul superstar Diana Ross.
‘I would like to clear the air, I love and respect Diana Ross, this was my tribute to her I was showing my sincere admiration. I in no way altered my skin color and I did not mean to offend anyone,’ she tweeted .
The season premiere of The Real Housewives Of New York City was supposed to be Luann’s moment to open up about her split from husband Tom D’Agostino and starting afresh.
No offense: Luann de Lesseps took to Twitter on Wednesday after being criticized for apparently wearing blackface to a costume party on the season premiere of RHONY
But she caused shock at the group’s first party of the season – wearing a huge afro wig and seemingly with heavy make-up to slightly darken her skin for a Halloween bash.
Luann, 52, clearly loved the attention her shocking outfit produced, and said proudly: ‘I’m Diana Ross because she’s fabulous. Tom is not in tow so I’m feeling liberated. It’s been a while since I felt my girl power.’
Carole Radziwill, 54, however was quick to point out how troubling the outfit could be in many people’s eyes.
‘Something’s a little off about Luann’s costume,’ she said, before stressing: ‘It’s so disrespectful — I think she’s tone deaf when it comes to cultural stereotypes.’
Girl power: The 52-year-old reality star shared her costume on Instagram
Love and respect: The Countess took to Twitter to clear the air
Paying tribute: Luann said she went as Diana Ross because the singer is fabulous
Tone deaf: Carole Radziwill said that Luann was ‘tone deaf when it comes to cultural stereotypes’
Then in a quip about Luann’s stab at releasing a single, she added: ‘She’s generally tone deaf anyway.’
Bethenny Frankel, however, seemed to admire Luann for her daring, telling her it was ‘amazing’ and gushing: ‘I love it!’
‘Luann’s got the balls of a burglar,’ she said later to camera. ‘You’ve gotta give it to her. She gives zero f***s.’
Loved it: Bethenny Frankel admitted that she loved Luann’s costume
After a pause, she added with a laugh: ‘Well, I take that back.’
She was not the only one to draw attention at the party, with party host Dorinda Medley, 53, in a skimpy Lady Gaga bubble dress costume; Ramona Singer, 61, in a skintight red latex dress as Britney Spears; Carole as Amelia Earhart, and Tinsley Mortimer as Like A Virgin-era Madonna.
Bethenny had one of the most eye-catching outfits which she called Barbie ‘gone awry.’
Halloween party: Ramona Singer went as Britney Spears, while Carole dressed as Amelia Earhart and Tinsley Mortimer as Like A Virgin-era Madonna
Barbie doll: Bethenny dressed as Barbie but it went a little awry
‘I wanted to be Barbie and then two drag queens came over to do my glam and wig so I became drag Barbie-slash-Texas prostitute,’ she said, adding: ‘I’m shocked my tit hasn’t popped out yet.’
Sonja Morgan, meanwhile, came with boyfriend Rocco Ancarola as Lucy and Ricky from I Love Lucy — and made such a transformation the other women did not even realize it was her at first.
But she then infuriated host Dorinda when she took too long to come over and talk to them, with Dorinda fuming to the others: ‘If she doesn’t figure it out then she can f*** herself and stay in that f***ing corner.’
Best costumes: Sonja and Rocco Ancarola dressed as Ricky and Lucy
The hostess: Dorinda grew increasingly angry as her guests failed to greet her
Before her misstep at the party, Luann had visited Dorinda where she opened up about finally realizing the other women had been right to warn her not to marry Tom.
‘I never thought I would be here, but here I am – divorced,’ she said to camera, saying: ‘I love Tom, I did everything I could to make this marriage work, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Sometimes love is just not enough.’
But she quickly agreed when Dorinda said the relationship became a ‘s***show’ after the wedding and that Tom ‘got worse’ with his straying eyes.
Candid conversation: Luann earlier opened up to Dorinda about her painful divorce
‘I had blinders on, I didn’t want to see it, but when I look back at all the warning signs… even what Bethenny says haunts me,’ Luann admitted, referring to Bethenny telling her: ‘I don’t think your guy’s a good guy.’
‘I didn’t want to see that, I didn’t want believe it. But after a certain amount of time everything the girls were saying was kind of true.’
She told Dorinda: ‘I couldn’t stop this merry-go-round of the going out, and I would go home and he wasn’t home, and then somebody would send me a picture, there’s Tom… it just didn’t stop.’
Non stop: The Countess said the shenanigans with Tom never stopped
She admitted to the camera: ‘Ultimately for me the last straw was really the lack of respect. From meeting up with ex-girlfriends every other day to being caught kissing a woman at a bar to being out all night and not coming home.’
She then told Dorinda: ‘It didn’t stop and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like the water was just tumbling in and I couldn’t keep my head above the water, I was drowning.
‘I suffered a lot — I mean I really suffered a lot.’
Water analogy: Luann told Dorinda that she felt like she was drowning in the marriage
However, she insisted: ‘I have no regrets. I don’t know what’s next but I’m not afraid to love so I’m just going to keep an open heart.’
Dorinda told her: ‘At the end of the day he truly was a leopard that couldn’t change his spots.’
She then said in a confessional: ‘Was I sad for her? Absolutely. Was I horrified and surprised? No.
No regrets: Despite all the turmoil Luann said she didn’t have any regrets
‘I don’t think Tom’s a bad guy; I just don’t think Tom should be a married guy.’
The other women echoed the sentiments that it was a struggle when the marriage failing seemed so inevitable given the warnings they all gave her.
‘It’s like waiting for the train wreck to happen,’ Ramona said. ‘You know it’s gonna happen and you want to prevent it but you can’t.’
Train wreck: Ramona described Luann’s marriage as a train wreck bound to happen
Bethenny, meanwhile, quipped: ‘Death, taxes, and Luann’s divorce are just some things that are going to happen.’
Sonja, who previously dated Tom, called him a ‘great party friend’ and added: ‘Once in a while you’d go home and, what do you call that, a charity f*** or whatever? It was never any more than having a great time.
‘But you can’t take a playboy party boy and turn him into a husband.’
Good point: Ramona who used to date Tom said you can’t take a playboy party boy and turn him into a husband
Luann had been angry at Carole for not getting in contact after the split was revealed, but Carole insisted it would have been ‘insincere’ for her to have done so.
‘I think we all understand the reasons that Luann got divorced,’ Carole said. ‘We never understood the reasons she got married.’
Carole had also split from her boyfriend, Adam Kentworthy, but admitted they were still regularly intimate.
Moving on: Carole talked about her split with boyfriend Adam Kenworthy
Fitness challenge: The reality star decided to run the New York City Marathon
In training: Carole was shown training for the marathon
‘Every day or every other day we either have ”coffee” — or we have coffee,’ she said with a smile, adding to camera: ‘There are those who will say if you’re still having a physical relationship with an ex that does complicate things.
‘And then there are those who say that’s great for Adam, he has his cake and eats it too.
‘But then I thought, I like cake also.’
Tinsley Mortimer had opened-up to her about her recent split from on-off boyfriend Scott Kluth, insisting there was no cheating as she told telling Carole: ‘Even though we’ve been going through some trouble, nothing specifically happened.’
Another split: Tinsley also explained her breakup with Scott Kluth
She then likened the relationship to a ‘pressure cooker,’ before admitting: ‘I don’t know what that means because I don’t ever cook.’
Bethenny, meanwhile, was the key speaker at a gala where she was celebrated for her relief work in Houston and Puerto Rico.
‘You see the stuff on TV and it looks terrible but then you stay home and go out to dinner and eat some sushi,’ she admitted of her previous response, saying that the flooding crisis in Houston, Texas, changed it all. ‘This was the first time I said, ”What am I doing?”
Key speaker: Bethenny was a key speaker at a gala where she was celebrated for her relief work in Houston and Puerto Rico
She said she knew she could not wait for a charity drive or gala, saying: ‘I wanted to be ”Oh my God people are dying and let’s help them right now”.’
Her desire to help grew even stronger when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria — especially when she was told it was too dangerous for her to go there.
‘So I just said, ”F*** it, I’m chartering a plane”,’ she recalled.
Took control: The Skinnygirl Cocktails founder took control and chartered a plane to Puerto Rico
‘Pulling trucks up on streets and there were hundreds of people quietly just lining up and everyone said, ”Nobody has come — you’re the first person who’s come.” Every town we went to.’
She admitted: ‘I have no f***ing idea how I did this, I really don’t. But we did it. We’re doing it — we’re still doing it.
‘I didn’t do it because I wanted it to be recognized. I just did it because I was good at it. And it has changed my life in an incredible way, I am so grateful.’
But Bethenny was later devastated talking about losing her 16-year-old dog Cookie, saying: ‘Cookie had been with me longer than my child, my homes, my success. I know it’s a dog, but she’s my family. Was my family.’
Tough loss: Bethenny cried after the death of her beloved 16-year-old dog Cookie
She told how people tell her ‘dogs go to the rainbow bridge,’ crying and rubbing her arms as she sobbed: ‘I wanna go there.’
Sonja, meanwhile, opened up about how she put on weight after going on anti-depressants to cope with anxiety from ‘so many years of dealing with tragedy and loss and settlements and divorce.’
She then went to a raw food retreat in Costa Rica, saying: ‘I juiced, got off the meds, and just go into myself. And that’s ultimately what made me happy again.’
RHONY returns next week on Bravo.
Food retreat: Sonja took some time for herself and went to a raw food retreat in Costa Rica
Happy again: She told Ramona that she was happy again after going off meds