“Honestly, she was the one person that was really there for me,” Billie tells TooFab.
Just because "Vanderpump Rules" stars Billie Lee and Lala Kent had a rough season doesn’t mean they don’t still have an unbreakable bond.
In a recent interview with TooFab, Billie revealed that she and Lala were actually on speaking terms again and that it was Lala who got her through some of her darkest days on the Bravo reality show.
"Lala and I are talking, we’re texting," Billie said. "I have a deep love for her. It’s hard for us because we’re very similar because we like to attack, but she’s been through a lot, and I get it. And you know, they only show some of the negative parts of her, too. It’s how reality television is."
"But she’s been there for me," she continued. "I had some really dark times where I mentally had some issues where my mental heath wasn’t there, and it brought me back to suicidal thoughts from when I was 16. It was just a really hard time to — I felt like I was in high school all over again. It was a lot of triggers. Honestly, she was the one person that was really there for me. Her and Ariana [Madix] and Tom [Sandoval] really stepped up, so I have a lot of love for her, and I think that we have a great relationship in the future."
Right before the gang started filming Season 7 of the Bravo series, Lala’s dad unexpectedly passed away. She coped by lashing out at co-stars and turning to alcohol. In October of last year, she came to the realization that she needed help and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Now, after a tumultuous season with her co-stars, Lala’s on the path to making amends. James Kennedy and girlfriend Raquel Leviss told TooFab the self-proclaimed "gangster bitch" had reached out to them, too.
"We’re chatting, we’re texting and hopefully gonna meet up for lunch maybe this coming week and catch up a little bit in person," James said. "But yeah, we’re definitely texting. If I saw her today, I’d say hi."
Raquel echoed James’ sentiments, adding, "It’s nice to see someone reflect on their actions and realize that everything that they said might not have been correct."
As for Billie, she’s the first and only transgender person to ever be cast on "Vanderpump Rules," and while she’s grateful for the opportunity, she’s encountered some challenging circumstances.
Last season, Lisa Vanderpump introduced Billie to the show as SUR’s newest hostess. She made friends quickly and had mostly positive interactions with the cast. This season, however, things changed. She found herself at odds with Lala and also befriended group enemies James and Raquel — all of which hurt her relationships with the others.
But perhaps the nail on the coffin was when Katie Maloney recruited Lala, Ariana, Stassi Schroder, Brittany Carwright, Scheana Shay and Kristen Doute — not Billie — to help plan a "Girls Night In" event at SUR. Billie happened to be working that night, caught wind of the event and chaos erupted. Both in person and on Twitter, she accused the ladies of being "anti-trans" and said their oversight was a perfect example of "cis privilege."
Billie first opened up to TooFab about her upbringing, move to Los Angeles and eventual gender-reassignment surgery in February of last year.
"One day, I was telling my story to someone at a bar, and they were like, ‘Honey, you’re trans.’ And I was like, ‘What?!’ It really clicked at that moment," she explained. "So I got a therapist just to make sure, and I started hormones."
That epiphany, however, didn’t come easily.
"I was bullied a lot," she said. "I had childhood depression because of it, so I missed a couple years of grade school. I was afraid to go to the bathroom because boys would pick on me, and all the graffiti on the bathroom walls were about me. It was really traumatizing. It was comments like, ‘Billie sucks dick.’ Like, I didn’t even know how to suck dick back then. I just knew that I was very feminine, and I was the only feminine boy in school, so they would call me awful things."
"My parents didn’t really make it through high school because they had me when they were 16 or 17, so they weren’t really educated," the Indiana native explained. "So I didn’t really have a chance to learn, and my parents didn’t understand it. I was very feminine in high school and I was attracted to boys, and they were like, ‘You’re gay.’ So I accepted it. My first relationship was with a gay guy for two years, but he hated the fact that I was so feminine."
Billie graduated high school and went on to study broadcast journalism in a small college outside Chicago but she said she was turned away from various internships at local news stations for being "too feminine."
"They were like, ‘You’re too feminine for a small town. There’s no way we can put you in front of the camera,’" she recalled. "I was kind of devastated because I couldn’t have my career, so I masculined myself up. I shaved my head and tried to act more like a boy, and once again, the suicidal thoughts came back."
That’s when Billie moved to Los Angeles "to start a new life," and it was there that the random bar patron changed it forever.
Billie is now 34 years old. She began transitioning in her early 20s, and although it took some adjusting for her small-town parents, Billie says they could not be more supportive.
"My parents love me and are my biggest fans," she said. "They see me as their daughter now, and things are completely different. It wasn’t that situation growing up because they just didn’t know better. They just knew that I was being made fun of and wanted me to be a boy so I could blend in, but now they’re just so excited that their daughter’s on TV."
Billie started working at SUR a few months before Bravo started filming Season 6 of the reality series. She said she needed a job, and when a friend introduced her to Lisa, they "instantly fell in love."
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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