What You Never Knew About Lisa Vanderpump

Even if you don't follow Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise, you've likely heard of Lisa Vanderpump. She's one of the most famous Housewives out there thanks to her several years on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Her popularity on the show led to other reality TV opportunities, including "Vanderpump Rules," which she also co-created, and "Overserved with Lisa Vanderpump."

As a result, Lisa Vanderpump is now a household name, but she's more than just a reality TV star. She describes herself on her website as a "businesswoman, TV personality, author, and philanthropist," and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Originally hailing from London, England, Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, own a number of successful businesses, including the Los Angeles-area restaurants SUR and PUMP. While her years on reality TV have offered fans a look into her life, there's still a lot to discover about Lisa Vanderpump — here's what you never knew about her.

Lisa Vanderpump got her start as an actress

Lisa Vanderpump may be known for reality television, but she's got plenty of experience with the regular kind of TV, too. Vanderpump began acting as a young girl, telling Express that she enrolled at Corona Academy to study drama at the age of 9. At 13, she landed a role in the film "A Touch of Class" and has had many other roles in shows and films over the years, including "John Halifax, Gentleman," "Bugsy Malone," "Kids," "The Wildcats of St. Trinians," and "Baywatch Nights."

Vanderpump was never a huge star, but she told Express that she made more than enough to support herself. In addition to her film and TV roles, she starred in dozens of commercials throughout her acting career.

With such an accomplished resume, you might be wondering why she ever quit acting. Aside from a couple of cameos, she hasn't had an acting role since 1995. She explained, "The acting business gives you up, rather than you giving it up." Vanderpump is fine not acting these days, though, having set her sights on other goals. She revealed that she's "had many acting offers" that she's rejected as "that's not a priority for me."

She had a whirlwind romance with her husband

Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, have been going strong for decades. On the podcast "Straight Up with Stassi" (via Bravo's The Daily Dish), Vanderpump opened up about being swept off her feet at the age of 21 by Todd, who is 16 years her senior. They met when she was helping out at a club her brother worked at. In spite of the age difference and the fact that she was already seeing someone, Vanderpump knew at first sight that the two had a "connection," although she initially avoided going out with him. After meeting him again several weeks later, she agreed to a date and they've been together ever since. "We got engaged after six weeks and we were married within three months," said Vanderpump.

The two have become successful business partners in the decades they've been together, and Vanderpump said that Todd has always treated her as an equal. "He never put me down, he never belittled me, he would take me to meetings and ask my opinion," she said.

While no relationship is perfect, Vanderpump told Bustle that their commitment to each other has helped them stick together through thick and thin. "He still drives me crazy," she joked. "But life's about making things work."

Lisa Vanderpump always knew she wanted to adopt

When Lisa Vanderpump married Ken Todd, she became stepmother to his son, Warren, who is just six years younger than her. Vanderpump told Bravo that her stepson and her hubby have quite a lot in common, saying that he is "ambitious, incredibly family oriented, and someone to be proud of."

Vanderpump and Todd also have two kids together, a daughter named Pandora and a son named Max. The pair adopted Max, with Vanderpump telling Bravo that they "had always thought that we would adopt a couple of children."

Vanderpump said that she did her best to give her children a happy childhood, saying she was "very involved with [their] education," and it's clear she's devoted to her kids — although she herself admits she's taken it a bit far at times. "I became one of those obsessive mothers," she confessed to Bustle. As she put it, "I love hard. I feel very possessive about my children, my animals, my husband. If I'm in, I'm in big time."

Even she isn't sure how many businesses she's had

Fans of Lisa Vanderpump know well that she is a wealthy restauranteur with her finger in many pies. It's a veritable empire, with her vast portfolio including the restaurants SUR, Tom Tom, and PUMP, but just how many properties does she own? That number is up for debate. In 2019, her publicist told Refinery29 that Vanderpump and her hubby had been in the game "for over 30 years" and had built "over 30" businesses over the decades but wasn't sure of the precise figure.

Even Vanderpump herself would be hard-pressed to give an exact number. In a 2016 interview with Adweek, she said that her husband already owned a wine bar when they met and that the couple "went on to open wine bars, clubs, [and] restaurants" after tying the knot. As for the number of establishments that they had opened, she said, "I think we've had 32 in total."

Lisa Vanderpump initially turned down Real Housewives

It's hard to imagine "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" reaching the level of success that it has attained without Lisa Vanderpump. She's at the top of Ranker's list of most popular Real Housewives, as voted by visitors to the site, so it's safe to say the franchise wouldn't be the same without her. Yet when she was first approached about joining the cast of the show, she wasn't on board, explaining to Locale that "a group of women" wanted her to audition, but she responded with, "No, I don't think that's my kind of thing." She applied anyway, although she still wasn't sold on the show, but finally auditioned in spite of her initial reservations.

Her hesitation had nothing to do with disliking reality TV, as some might think. And it wasn't even because she was concerned about the time commitment. She told Hello! that her real issue was that she didn't "think I had enough conflict in my life and wasn't sure if it would be interesting." Thank goodness she overcame her reservations!

Her family was not 'thrilled' about her becoming a reality star

Starring on a reality TV show may be a dream for many people, but not everyone wants to see one of their loved ones find fame in such a way. Lisa Vanderpump admitted to Adweek that her family wasn't exactly keen on the idea when she was cast in "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," saying, "They weren't thrilled."

While it wasn't too bad at the beginning since her family is in the U.K. and "RHOBH" is an American show, the franchise eventually made its way across the pond. Vanderpump was also increasingly in the public eye with her "RHOBH" spinoff "Vanderpump Rules" which she said is "even more in their face ... [as] that's my family's name."

Unfortunately, the tension didn't improve as Vanderpump's fame grew. Vanderpump told E! News that her family in England is "not supportive" as her reality fame "doesn't quite fit in with their perception of what I should be doing with my real life."

Lisa Vanderpump is an author

In addition to running her businesses and being a reality star, Lisa Vanderpump is an author. Her first book, "Simply Divine: A Guide to Easy, Elegant, and Affordable Entertaining," debuted in 2011 and, per Amazon, offers "tips and tricks for creating the perfect gathering." While the book has recipes, it's not a cookbook per se. Instead, it's more of a how-to guide on throwing a spectacular bash, including everything from menu items to decorating tips.

Vanderpump told HuffPost that she wanted to write something "that takes the pressure out of entertaining and teaches people they can cook and it can be beautiful," emphasizing that the guide is an accessible one with "down-to-earth cooking and table settings."

Vanderpump is also working on a memoir, making it clear to Entertainment Tonight that it will not be ghostwritten. "I have written ... thousands and thousands and thousands of words," she said, describing the project as "the book I would have like [sic] to have read when I was younger." Vanderpump added that "it's a motivational book" that also delves into her own life.

She's been open about living with depression

Lisa Vanderpump has lived an extraordinary life, but it hasn't always been an easy one. Vanderpump has been open about living with depression, explaining that, after her brother's suicide in 2018, her mental health took a toll on her. "I was emotionally depleted," she admitted to Express.

After her brother's death, Vanderpump went on anti-depressants and also started going to therapy. She said that, while her experience has been difficult, she thinks "it's important to talk about depression, and for people to seek help," adding that "there's no shame to it."

In an interview with Hollywood Life, she encouraged people who are experiencing similar emotions to seek help, professional or otherwise, as she believes that finding "someone you can connect to is so important." She also recommended exercise, saying she believes it "is one of the keys to having structure in your life."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She left Real Housewives because it got 'too negative'

Fans were heartbroken when Lisa Vanderpump announced that she was leaving "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" in 2019 after nine seasons on the Bravo show. In an appearance on Access Daily, she revealed that her final season of "RHOBH" began filming just two days after her brother's funeral and, over the course of the season, she realized she hadn't been prepared to return to the show so soon.

It wasn't just working through her grief that made staying on the show difficult, though. She told In the Know that things had just become "too negative," as she had become the "recipient of gang-ups" by the other Housewives on the show.

Will we ever see Vanderpump on "RHOBH" again? That depends. She told Entertainment Tonight that she'd consider it at some point — but that Bravo would have to make some big casting changes. Vanderpump said it would be "impossible" to be on the show with her former castmates and that she wouldn't want to return "unless they kind of cleaned house."

When asked by Cosmopolitan if she keeps in touch with any of her former castmates, Vanderpump confirmed that she has severed ties with them. "I left under pretty sad circumstances. ... there was no joy in that situation," she said.

She had mixed feelings about the Vanderpump Rules scandal

While Lisa Vanderpump stepped away from the "Real Housewives" franchise, she's still very much involved with "Vanderpump Rules." The show launched in 2013 as a spinoff of "RHOBH" and follows Vanderpump and some of her restaurant employees, per Variety.

The show proved to be successful, with many of its stars rising to fame, but scandal shook the series in 2020 when Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens, and Brett Caprioni were fired after allegations of racism surfaced. Per Page Six, Schroeder and Doute, who are white, once called the cops on former costar Faith Stowers — the only Black cast member on the show — and falsely accused her of theft. Additionally, racist comments and tweets from Schroeder, Boyens, and Caprioni came to light, leading to their firing.

Vanderpump told Cosmopolitan that she stood by Bravo's decision to let them go, but hinted that she might have reacted differently had their future on the show been in her hands, saying, "I would like to see young people learn from their mistakes, but that wasn't my decision."

Vanderpump had previously defended Schroeder and Doute on "The Skinny Confidential Him & Her" podcast (via Us Weekly), saying, "It wasn't right what they did at all, but do I think they're racist a thousand percent? No. ... I just think it was just awful timing and stupid and ignorant."

Lisa Vanderpump has always been an animal person

One of Lisa Vanderpump's passion projects is the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, which helps rescue dogs. Per its website, the nonprofit's many endeavors include working to end the trade of dog meat and stop animal cruelty. "I hope that will be my legacy," she told People of the foundation.

Vanderpump has several dogs herself, and has always been passionate about animals, telling Time that she grew up with "ponies in the kitchen ... [and] ducks on the bed."

Being on "RHOBH" helped amplify the cause, and the foundation has had quite an impact. In 2019, Congress passed the PACT Act to prevent animal cruelty, in no small part because of the work of Vanderpump and her foundation, as noted by Bustle. She also played a part in the passing of a 2018 resolution which calls for the prohibition of cats and dogs being slaughtered for meat.

Lisa Vanderpump says she's 'passionate about a lot of things'

While it might sound like helping animals is Lisa Vanderpump's calling, she's a woman of many talents. Through her many businesses, she's been able to flex her creative skills, telling Adweek she loves handling "all the aesthetics and visuals" of her establishments as she is "passionate about things like that."

In fact, a lot of things have captured her interest over the years, including her philanthropic work. In an interview with Locale, Vanderpump spoke of her myriad interests, admitting, "I'm passionate about a lot of things." Among her many philanthropic causes is advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community, global hunger, and Alzheimer's awareness. Juggling her many causes can be difficult, and Vanderpump confessed that she doesn't have time to champion all the causes that she supports. "You can dilute yourself so much that you end up talking about everything, so I try to call on the things I truly believe in," she explained.

She thinks she's too 'salacious' for politics

While some reality stars may be in it for the fame, Lisa Vanderpump is a champion of the people. In an interview with Time, she spoke of her reality fame pragmatically, saying that her fame has "advantages." Vanderpump recounted the doors that being a Real Housewife has opened for her, including speaking at the U.N. and in front of Congress, as well as "all the incredible things it's given me philanthropically."

She added that fame can bring a lot of power in America, saying, "If you're really famous, you can run for President. It doesn't matter if you're f***ing qualified or not." She joked, "So if Trump can do it, maybe I can. Vandertrump for President!"

Alas, Vanderpump is British and could therefore never become POTUS, once tweeting, "President of Housewives is the best I can do...," and even if she could run for the office, she told Time that she doesn't think she's cut out for politics. "I'm way too naughty — way too salacious," she told the outlet. Then again, she pointed out that she also never thought she'd become a reality star, so who knows what the future holds? One thing that is for sure is that Vanderpump will be able to accomplish anything she puts her mind to.