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Kyle Richards Is a ‘Real Housewives’ Institution — and That’s Just the Way She Likes It (Exclusive)

As the last original Beverly Hills Housewife still standing, Kyle Richards has been through a lot on TV — but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This show has become such a part of my life after 13 seasons,” Richards, 54, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It’s hard to think about my life without these relationships.”

Richards was part of the original cast for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which debuted on Bravo in October 2010. She’s rarely held back in her decade-plus on TV, allowing cameras to capture her previous estrangements from sisters Kim Richards and Kathy Hilton as well as happier moments like her daughter Portia’s bat mitzvah.

The show’s 13th season doesn’t premiere until Wednesday, October 25, but it seems clear that Kyle wasn’t afraid to open up about the darker moments in her life. Trailers for the new episodes have focused on her separation from husband Mauricio Umansky, whom she wed in 1996.

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Kyle admits there have been “many moments” when she’s thought about leaving RHOBH, but her relationships with the cast and crew keep her coming back. She also loves having a record of the more joyous occasions in her life.

“Although we live in Beverly Hills and are on a reality show, we are just normal people,” she explains. “Viewers have followed so many beautiful moments with my family over the years. My favorite memories to look back on are all the milestones with my kids, like having Portia’s third birthday on camera for season two and now she’s in her second year of high school! It’s special to have all of those moments caught on tape.”

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Like most Real Housewives, Kyle has plenty of other irons in the fire besides her reality TV career. In addition to being an actress — she starred in last year’s Halloween Ends and has a role in the upcoming Christmas movie The Holiday Exchange — she’s also a producer, and she’s “very excited” about several scripted projects she’s currently working on. “I love having a creative role behind and in front of the camera,” she tells Us. “I’ve been acting since I was a child, so I’m never going to give that up.”

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A lesser Housewife might have cracked under the pressure — and many have, but Kyle keeps forging ahead in spite of feuds, cast shakeups and repeated character assassination attempts. “I just want people to know that I am always sharing my true and authentic self,” she tells Us when asked what she wants her reality TV legacy to be.

There is no Real Housewives Hall of Fame (yet), but if there were, Kyle would be the first inductee.

For more with the Reality Stars of the Year, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.

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