Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and don’t forget to serve tables in between. Vanderpump Rules star Billie Lee gave In Touch an exclusive update on her connections and friendships throughout the SUR family, including her relationships with Stassi Schroeder, Lala Kent, and Tom Sandoval.
When it comes to Stassi, 31, the 35-year-old really wasn’t too phased by her claim she thought the trans activist should leave the Bravo show. “I don’t really know her and I don’t really care to hang out with her, or know her. I was confused by her comments. I mean, at the same time she’s selling a book, so, you know, whatever she can do to make headlines, I get it,” Billie explained. “But I joined SUR to make money. And then I joined the show to be visible as a trans woman. I didn’t join to be Stassi’s best friend. I didn’t join to be Stassi, Kristen [Doute], and Katie [Maloney-Schwartz]‘s best friend and drink wine with them. So I never really had a friendship with her.”
When it comes to her best connections, though, they all seem to be born out of a love for the work done at SUR, Lisa Vanderpump‘s stylish restaurant at the center of Pump Rules.
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“I work at SUR and the people that work at SUR are Scheana [Marie], Tom [Sandoval], Ariana [Madix], and James [Kennedy] — those are my people that I’m close with. And you see that throughout the episodes and you see that in real life. When we’re not filming, those are my people because we work at SUR. I don’t know Stassi like that. So at the end of the day, I don’t really care,” she continued, hinting at the fact that more could be done on her castmate’s part to be inclusive.
“I mean, I think it was shitty that she called me out that way of just like, again, you have someone who’s trans, who is a minority, and instead of being the mean girl in this situation, why not just embrace the person that’s different? And just like I said, you know, with the reunion, I looked around and there was no one LGBTQ or a person of color,” she said. “And I think that in general, people just need to be open to more diversity and inclusion.”
As for her relationship with Lala after their big blowup argument during season 7, there’s a lot more understanding there than one might expect. In fact, things are on the mend between the ladies. “Lala and I are very similar. We fall really hard, really fast, but we also are very emotional. I love the girl. I told her all the time, she has an amazing, powerful energy about her,” Billie revealed. “I just wish that sometimes she would use it in a very positive way versus a negative way. But she went through a lot last season and, I think we just have to give her a little space for that.”
They’re not quite at BFF level yet, but things are going well. “As of now, we text, you know, we communicate. I’m really busy,” she explained. “She’s doing her thing, so I wouldn’t say that we are best friends and we hang out, but she was there for me when I hit rock bottom and reached out texting and making sure I was okay, and I really appreciated that. So yeah, I think we’re good.”
And with her favorite Tom, she’s starting to see a really positive change in him as their friendship continues to blossom — and a lot of it has to do with who and what he surrounds himself with.
“Well, you know what it is, it’s like James and I love being at SUR. Scheana, we love being of SUR. Tom, he gets behind the bar and he lights up. Like, he owns his own bar, TomTom, but he still goes to SUR and wants to bartend. There’s something about loving your job and wanting to be there versus like, I feel Katie and you know, there’s some people there that just are so over it, like they’ve done it. I get it,” she dished. “You serve for seven or eight years, you’re just like, I can’t serve another table. I’m over this restaurant, and that vibration I just don’t want to be around when I’m at work because no matter what I’m doing, if I’m serving a table, if I’m cleaning a f—king toilet, I want to enjoy my life. I want to enjoy my job.”
According to Billie, the 36-year-old bar owner feels similarly. “So I think because Tom really enjoys his job and we do too, we kind of just draw each other together, we come together in that way. But also, I think we’re all figuring out, and I think I did this too, is just by me being around, I think Tom is figuring out who is close-minded, who’s open-minded,” Billie revealed about her pal. “Tom is so open minded and he has such a big heart that I don’t think he really wants to necessarily hang out with people who are close-minded and negative.”
Billie Lee has teamed up with Regenix for their Beauty Has No Gender campaign. A portion of proceeds from the Billie Lee Repair Bundle are being donated to Equality California Non Profit to help fuel the fight against bullying.
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