Luann de Lesseps responds to blackface allegations ahead of 'RHONY' season 10 premiere (Exclusive)

The 10th season of Real Housewives of New York City premieres on Wednesday night, and the controversies have already started to pile up.

On the season premiere, longtime RHONY cast member Luann de Lesseps attends a Halloween party dressed as legendary singer Diana Ross. For the costume, the 52-year-old reality star donned a white dress, a giant afro wig and noticeably darker skin.

“I had makeup on, but not anything that would make me look-- I had like, tanning cream on,” de Lesseps recently told ET’s Nischelle Turner. “I think that the tanning cream, and the big hair piece I have, which was amazing… No, I was doing my version of Diana Ross.”

Controversy over the RHONY star’s look actually started back in November, when she shared a photo of her Halloween getup to Instagram, but it resurfaces in the Bravo reality show’s season 10 premiere, when de Lesseps’ co-star, Carole Radziwill, refers to the costume as “tone deaf.”

“Well, you know what? [Just] because I didn’t agree with it doesn't mean I didn't get it,” de Lesseps said of the criticism.

She added that she was able to see the issue from the other side, and was prepared to handle any more backlash that might come her way.

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“I was being an impersonator for Halloween,” de Lesseps insisted. “I didn't mean to offend anyone by being Diana Ross for Halloween, it just didn’t even kind of enter my mind.

“I wasn't at all worried about that, and all of a sudden it became a thing,” she added. “I’m so sorry. I don't want it to be a thing, so I apologize if I have offended.”

The reality star also opened up about turning over a new leaf since her split from husband Tom D’Agostino and arrest for resisting an officer with violence, trespassing and disorderly intoxication in December.

“I decided to go to rehab and address the issues I was having in my life, because I just felt like it was an out-of-control moment for me, and I don't like to be out of control,” she said. “It was very embarrassing and all I can say is that it changed my life in such a way now. I just feel like so much more control and happier.”


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