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Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin on Their Strange 1st Date, Pet Peeves and Keeping Their Marriage Hot (Exclusive)

Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin’s first date was one to remember. A few months after meeting through a mutual friend, the duo went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in L.A.

“The waiter comes up to our table to give us our menus and says, ‘You two are going to get married and have 
children. You’re soulmates, and you’re going to have a great life 
together,’” recalls Hamlin, 72. “At this point, Lisa and I didn’t know each other at all.” Adds Rinna: “We were so uncomfortable.”

Three decades later, they are continuing to prove him right.

Since tying the knot in 1997, the Mayfair Witches actor and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum have welcomed daughters Delilah, 25, and Amelia, 22, navigated the pitfalls of Hollywood together and remain more in love than ever. “We made our family our No. 1 priority,” says Rinna, 60. “You can never go wrong doing that.”

Real Housewives of Beverly HIlls

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Here, the pair share more secrets from their marriage for Us Weekly’s first-ever Power Couples Issue, on newsstands now.

Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin on Their Strange 1st Date Pet Peeves and Keeping Their Marriage Hot 598
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Twenty-six years in Hollywood is quite a feat. How do you do it?
Harry: If we could bottle and sell it, that would be good. I don’t think anybody knows. It comes down to listening and being respectful and supportive. Lisa is Lisa, and that in and of itself is kind of a challenge, which is why I don’t follow [her] on social media.
Lisa: In our case, opposites attract. And we’re good at allowing the other person to be who they are and do what they want.
H: If Lisa wants to do something, she can do it… up to a point.
L: We do not have an open marriage! [Laughs.]

So there’s not one specific secret?
L: I don’t think so. Look, if we were both cheating and doing nefarious things, that wouldn’t work.
H: I’ve said this many times: I have never looked at another woman since the day —
L: You can look!
H: Jimmy Carter once said he had been unfaithful to his wife in his heart. I’ve never done that, even.
L: I have not, either. It’s hard to beat this [points at Harry].

What connects you the most?
H: We like each other. Most of our friends spend most of their time trying to avoid their spouses.
L: That’s true. We like to hang out. We love to go on adventures.

Do you have a lot in common?
H: Very little! [Laughs.] Lisa’s into high fashion, and I’m fascinated by quantum physics.
L: I learn a lot from Harry: history, politics, fusion energy, space. If I thought that was a bore, that would be problematic, but I like to learn.

What are your favorite qualities in each other?
H: She’s really cute. A nice roll in the hay. [Laughs.]
L: Oh, my God. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s a kind and good man. And a great cook. [Without him,] I’d starve to death or would have to invest heavily in Postmates.

Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin on Their Strange 1st Date Pet Peeves and Keeping Their Marriage Hot 580
credit_Tammie Arroyo/Gettyimages

What were your first 
impressions of each other?
H: Lisa was doing the night shift at an eyeglass store, and I was having dinner with the owner. When she brought him the keys, we invited her to sit for a glass of wine. She started talking about how she’d gone to the circus the night before and how sexy it was. I go, “Wait a minute, who is this broad?”
L: It was Cirque Du Soleil. He’s Harry Hamlin, so my first impression was, “Wow, he’s gorgeous.”

Did you feel an instant connection?
L: It took a minute. He was ending a relationship, and I had just come out of one.
H: I went after you. I tried to get you to come to Aspen with me.
L: And I wouldn’t go. I wasn’t playing hard to get; I was just cautious.

So how did you get the first date?
H: At the time, a book called The Rules was making the rounds. It was about how a woman could snag a man. One rule was that you never went out on a date the same day someone invited you out. I called her at, like, 6 p.m. and asked if she’d meet me for dinner in an hour. I knew I’d get shut down, but she said yes. She showed up in a white T-shirt, jeans, scuffed-up cowboy boots and no makeup to this kind of fancy restaurant. I was really impressed by that. The fact that she showed up in the first place got me.
L: I like to be spontaneous. It seemed like a fun thing to do.

And then the waiter said you’re soulmates.
H: It freaked us out. After dinner, she was in her car, and I reached in to kiss her. And it was the worst kiss.
L: [I was like], “Goddamn, he’s so hot, but he can’t kiss!”

Clearly you recovered.
L: We had a second date scheduled, but he canceled it. I got off the phone with him and was like, “OK, that’s it. He’s a f—king loser.” He came crawling back about two months later.
H: And the odd thing about that whole restaurant experience was that we went back a year or so later, and I went to the maître d’ and said, “Hey, where’s that waiter? The heavyset, balding, Italian guy.” And the 
maître d’ said, “We’ve never had anybody here who fits that description.”
L: Isn’t that so bizarre? We’ve never seen him [again].

How do you guys deal with conflicts when they come up?
L: We don’t argue a lot. I’m really opinionated and stubborn, and there are just some things that you have to agree to disagree on.

Any pet peeves?
L: Very little. His gum chewing. Sometimes his gum ends up in places like the washer. It has ended up on my Lululemons.
H: [Silently thinking.]
L: Come on. It’s got to be when I’m loud.
H: Well, yeah. If I’m working and she comes in and starts screaming.
L: I don’t scream, but I’m loud. My voice carries.
H: When she sings.
L: That’s really lovely, though.

Lisa Rinna Harry Hamlin Relationship Timeline

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What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced together?
L: My mom passing [in 2021] was the hardest time for me.
H: There are always challenges raising kids. A lot of support has to happen mutually.
L: We definitely leaned on each other during [their] teenage years. It’s a miracle in itself to get through raising two teenage girls in L.A. Come on.

When have you been most proud of each other?
H: Oh, right now. Lisa’s made a transition over the last year and a half that’s been extraordinary. She left [Housewives] and then very gracefully [got] herself into high fashion. And now she’s starring in a Lifetime movie. Her career is taking off in a whole different way.
L: And he’s going back to work on Mayfair Witches.

Everyone’s doing well!
H: It’s a good time. The girls are on fire. Lisa’s on fire. I [have the show].
L: There were some challenging years with my mom passing and leaving [Housewives], and Harry went through a period where he didn’t work for a long time…
H: We’re working actors; we’re not big movie stars. So to keep the house going [you’re] constantly having to reinvent. It was hard when the [economic] downturn happened in 2008, and we were trying to save the clothing store [Belle Gray] that we had for 10, 11 years and the house.
L: That was tough. I’ve always been so proud of [Harry]. He’s been able to get us out of these situations.

Has your marriage experienced any rough patches?
H: It was a little bumpy at the beginning because I was coming out of a relationship and didn’t quite know how to deal with it. We did a lot of therapy, and that created a very solid foundation for us in the long run.
L: There was a moment where I said, “You need to go figure out what you need. If you want to come back, I’ll be here. But I understand if you need to go.” That was probably the hardest moment.

How do you keep things spicy after all this time?
H: I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is come into the room, and she’s hot and spicy.
L: I like to take risks. I was born fun, so you don’t really have to do much. If you’re bored, I will change it up for you. [Laughs.]

Harry, how do you feel about Lisa being so candid about her sexuality?
H: I embrace that side of her, but there’s a limit to how much I need to ingest. This is another reason I don’t follow her [on social media]. What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over. I don’t need to see her antics all the time. I try not to be judgmental.
L: I do cheeky, silly things. I love to push people’s buttons.
H: When we first got together, you were very demure.
L: I was. But this is an evolution. As a child, I was more like this, but in high school, it got diminished by bullies. Then it came back.

Lisa, you’re in amazing shape. Harry, are you impressed by her commitment to fitness?
H: Absolutely. What a gift it is to have this be the person I go to bed with.

How has your relationship evolved?
L: When you’re ovulating and you need to make babies, you’re having sex all the time. That changes as you get older. Men of a certain age tend to go for a younger woman because they want that baby-making machine.
H: I do not want a baby-making machine.

What’s a date night like for you?
H: We used to go out a lot. Then Covid happened, and now we’ll go to sushi. Or we went to the movies recently.
L: On Sunday, we’ll go out to lunch. Woo-hoo! Exciting! We lead a really risqué life. [Laughs.]

You’ve both been in the business for decades. To what do you attribute that lasting success?
L: I’m a born hustler, and I will try almost anything.
H: I still go to acting class.

Do you like working together?
L: I do. He’s been very involved in Rinna Beauty and all the different businesses. If I get a contract, I make him read it. And he talks to me about Mayfair Witches. We do the same thing, so there’s an understanding.

Lisa, are you acting more now that Housewives is over for you?
L: That’s what’s happening. I’m an actor. And I can take what I learned on Housewives and put it into my work. I think you could see it in [season 3 of] American Horror Story when I played Sheila.
H: What did you learn on Housewives? How to deal with narcissistic …
L: Sociopaths. [Laughs.]

Harry, how did you feel about 
Lisa doing Housewives?
H: I’m very glad it’s over. When she first brought it up, I said, “Absolutely not. I have my old divorce lawyer on speed dial.” Then, I saw it could be a good branding opportunity. I also knew [she] could handle it — and I have a degree in psychology from Yale.
L: That didn’t help me that much, though. [Laughs.]
H: We did talk through every show.
L: It’s true. It’s an all-consuming job, so you need support.

Did you set any boundaries 
around doing the show?
H: I had two conditions. I told her, “No alcohol, and you can’t look at what people are saying about you on social media. It’s poisonous.”
L: For five years, I didn’t drink. Then I said, “Oh, f—k it. I’m having a cocktail.” [But] I was never crazy drunk.
H: You did get a moniker: Drunk Rinna.
L: God, it was fun, though. When we went to the wine tasting — one of the best episodes of all time. There were a lot of great times.

Lisa, would you ever go back 
to reality TV?
L: I never say never. They would have to pay me a sh*tload of money.

Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin on Their Strange 1st Date Pet Peeves and Keeping Their Marriage Hot 581
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for David Yurman

What about a family reality show?
L: That would be fun.
H: It’s not like we have anything to hide. We’ve already been out there.

How are your daughters doing?
L: They’re good girls.
H: They’re very levelheaded, lovely human beings and I think that’s one of the reasons they’re so successful, because they take that with them wherever they go.

Delilah is pursuing music and 
Amelia is busy modeling. What’s it like watching them
navigate showbiz?
H: Lisa helps. She’s kind of a momager.
L: I don’t get 10 percent, though. Kris Jenner’s way smarter.

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What advice have you given 
them about success?
L: Be nice to everyone and don’t complain.
H: To treat everybody equally and not be concerned with what other people think of them.

How did you balance your 
career with parenthood through the years?
H: I basically took 20 years off. I was probably the primary parent.
L: I worked a lot. We were fortunate. We had help. We had a nanny and my mom was here a lot.

You collaborated with the girls on your Rinna Beauty lip kit. Will you team up again?
L: We just started a production company, which is really exciting. It’s called The Girls.
H: I think the kids will become actors.
L: I think so, too. We support them in whatever makes them happy.

Lisa, you’re also writing another book.
L: It’s going to be a funny [look at] what I’ve been doing since Rinnavation came out in 2008. It’ll be filled with tea and exactly what everybody wants.

How do you stay connected with such busy schedules?
H: Now that we’re in an empty nest and going off in different directions for work, we’ll have to figure that out. We take our relationship moment to moment. We don’t have expectations about where we should be in five years.
L: It’s about finding the balance. No matter what we have going on, we make our marriage the priority. Everything else comes after that.

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