LeeAnne Locken has undergone a stunning transformation in her three seasons on "The Real Housewives of Dallas."
Unquestionably the standout personality from the Bravo franchise, Locken has transformed right before our eyes over the years, reining in her anger, embracing therapy and trying to find the hope in every situation and relationship she encounters in the Lone Star State.
In the process, her relationships with her cast mates have also changed: She's no longer friends with D'Andra Simmons or Brandi Redmond, but she is in good standing with former frenemies Cary Deuber and Stephanie Hollman. Through it all, she says, she is simply striving to live her truth.
Ahead of Wednesday night's season three finale of "RHOD," LeeAnne Locken caught up with AOL's Gibson Johns to talk all about her relationships with her fellow cast members, whether or not all hope is lost with D'Andra and what she's learned from watching herself on the show.
Check out our conversation with LeeAnne below:
Now that the third season has essentially come to an end, how do you think it went for you?
Long! I thought Long Island was long, but this has been loooong. [Laughs] It’s been another educational year. You know me: I learn every year. That’s my goal. If you look back at season one LeeAnne and then look at season three LeeAnne and you don’t see growth, please go get your eyes checked. I think that’s the only thing that keeps me really entertained on the show. I watch myself and I’m like... [Cringes]
Do you think you were able to successfully show a new you this season?
I really started the season in such a peaceful place, not knowing what D’Andra and Brandi had in store for me. I started from a place of peace. I started with the goal of, again, “I’m going to try this with Cary.” I do that every season. Every season I come back and I’m like, “I’m back and want to do something new.” I don’t want to have the same argument the next day until I’m 92. There’s not enough pot in the world to make me laid-back enough for that! I tried again with Cary, and it worked for the first time. I can't wait for everybody to see the reunion.
In the past, the reunions have been essentially you as a sitting duck for the rest of the cast, and it could create a sort of ganging up situation. Is it not gonna be like that this time?
I’m not gonna say that that’s not the case, but for the first time other people had things to say, so I didn’t need to speak [the whole time]. I didn’t need to. I’m just super excited that I learned what did work, and I learned a lot from watching us this season. I learned that not responding to Brandi is her tornado. I would rather find a way to maintain my peace while also not just taking it. That’s my thing: For me, my hardest struggle is saying what I mean without being offensive. That’s really hard for me, because I’m a passionate person.
It must be hard to nail down that passion.
It’s hard to temper it. Like I told Stephanie at that dinner table in Copenhagen, if you come for me I will cut you off at your ankles and watch you crawl away bleeding. The purpose is to have the trail so I know where to finish you off. People just don’t get that I live in a household where we talk military and police talk. We don’t make stuff nice and sweet. There’s no politically correct in my house. But I need to find a better way to express myself.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty drama of the season, I just have to say that your glam has reached new heights this season!
You like my new weave!? It was exhausted after Copenhagen. [Laughs] In my house, there’s no blush. I took all of my blush and donated it. After seeing the first season, having a Twitter account called "LeeAnne’s Blush" and having Amy Phillips [impersonate me]. I think season one I just thought, “Screw it.” But then you look at yourself and learn what you need. You just get stronger, and I like to have more fun with it. There’s so much more room to go, too.
Speaking of fashion, talk to me about the Ultimate Little Black Dress. You premiered it at a fashion show on a recent episode, but how's it been going since then?
We are totally sold out of certain sizes! We’re gonna restock, but the trouble with our product is engineering the dress. It’s not a normal dress. It has to be done by hand. But it’s doing great, and I’m so grateful. For me, it was just my gift and I love that people are seeing it and loving it.
So, the biggest shock this season really was you and D’Andra's falling out. It took a lot of people by surprise.
It took my heart by surprise.
It must’ve been hard to live and rewatch.
It was impossible to live, it was heartbreaking and I’m still heartbroken. I think I’m still in shock. You know when you believe in someone with such depth and then suddenly your whole world is different? You’re just like, “How? Why?” I’m still at that "why" point, because I don’t think she’ll ever be honest.
There were multiple contentious moments between you two this season, but was there one metaphorical straw that broke the camel's back?
Watching it. What people don’t realize is that I never knew that she was saying [my husband] Rich had cheated. She was saying all of that in confessionals. She never said that to my face. Had she said it to my face, I would’ve corrected her in 3.2 seconds, not to mention leveled the playing field. She never said it to my face. She never had the courage to address me. If you want to be a boss b-tch, be a boss b-tch, but own it.
Is that what made it worse? Her not saying it to your face?
I didn’t get a chance during the season to respond. Nothing. I knew she was saying “[we were living] separate lives,” which I thought she just meant that Rich doesn’t go with me everywhere. Which, why would he? I go to 12-15 events a week. You think he wants to go to those? I have friends that want to go, and he is happy at home watching the History Channel.
NeNe Leakes was on "Watch What Happens Live" recently, where she said that, despite a major falling out with Kim Zolciak, not all hope is lost on their friendship. Is all hope lost with you and D'Andra?
No, I wouldn’t say all hope is lost, but I’m also always filled with hope. You know that hope is the one word, the one thing that my grandmother begged me to never lose before she died. Acts 2:25, “I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.” I said it in season one and I’ll say it until the day I’m dead. I’m getting married in the Cathedral of Hope. Hope is what allows me to wake up every day. I mean, come on. What I’m hopeful for between D’Andra and I is a bit of a reach, but it’s not something that I’m in charge of. Because I can’t control it, I have to release it.
So you feel as though it's on her? The ball is in her court?
She hasn’t given me a heartfelt apology or given me the reason. She hasn’t owned the responsibility of her actions.
What do you think the reason is?
I’d rather not say.
She openly said after the lunch [in Copenhagen] with Stephanie that she’s said everything to you other than give you an apology. Why do you think she can’t apologize?
You mentally are aware that you haven’t done that, because you don’t think I deserve it? You’re that much more elevated than me? No human is better than any other human. God created us unique, fantastically individual and blessed each of us equally. What we do with our lives is our choice. In our group, none of us are better or worse than anyone. Hopefully what makes us different makes is what makes us a great group.
You mentioned earlier that you've turned a new leaf with Cary, but you've also never been better with Stephanie.
For the first time, she’s not just looking at me through Brandi’s eyes. There’s still a tremendous amount that Brandi does that is equal to -- if not worse than -- what I do, but Stephanie never corrects her. The imbalance of our group is exhausting, and I’m the oldest! Why do you keep attacking the old dog? Let me take a nap.
I think that Stephanie still has a lot of room to grow. Here’s the thing, when she corrects me, is she correct? 100 percent, but correcting someone who is already self-correcting isn’t doing much. Correct someone who isn’t doing that. You’re [Brandi's] best friend, you should have the power to be able to turn to her and tell her not to say that. She’s more comfortable correcting me than either of them are correcting Brandi. What does that say to you? As a person who studied psychology, it says to me that they’re both very scared of Brandi.
What are they scared of?
Brandi hits so far below the belt that she takes your breath away, and she has no problem doing it. She’s so ready to bring up what I did to Cary, but she did the same thing. She expects [Cary] to forgive her instantly, but don’t forgive me! There’s so much room for growth.
Does the fact that you and Brandi had that moment of being friends at the beginning of last season give you hope? Or was your brief friendship not as genuine as it seemed?
That is the ultimate question for me. That’s where my heart genuinely struggles with Brandi. I’m not angry at her or D’Andra. I learned a long time ago to live in the truth, because lies don’t do anything good for you. I question if Brandi and I were ever that close, and the reason why I do that is because she was the one that tweeted out that we were never that close.
But your friendship felt true to you at the time, no?
During the season, yes. She divulged a lot of things to me about Stephanie and Travis that I have yet to say, mostly because I don’t want to harm them. They’re in a good place with me. I’m hopeful with Brandi -- I know she has that in her heart -- but her ultimate intentions have to change, and she has to accept what those ultimate intentions are.
We had Kameron Westcott in recently, and she talked a lot about your friendship, which seems to work really well. What's the key to that relationship being so successful?
Respecting each others boundaries. You’ve never seen Kameron physically push me, yell in my face, say horrible things to me, because she knows that I’m a bear that, if poked, tends to go off. Not only does she respect my boundaries, but she’ll stand up for me to have others do the same. I also respect her boundaries. I know what her rules and regulations are in our town and what she has to hold herself responsible for her.
As you’ve evolved on the show and gotten more in control of your actions, do fans ask you to go back to your old ways?
"Knock her head off!" They’re like, "Where’s the old LeeAnne?" I get why you want that, but one of the biggest things I have is this: D’Andra physically pushed me. I could’ve fallen down the stairs, broken my neck, been dead. Okay? Did I draw my fist back? 100 percent, but when Cary touched me, it brought me right out. I said, “I’m not doing this.” It’s like, “Where’s LeeAnne?” But the LeeAnne who survived in a carnival and a really rough childhood of molestation and of abuse, that’s how she had to scrap to stay alive. But my new therapist is really helping. She’s like, “You don’t have to be that anymore. You can be adult LeeAnne and let little LeeAnne go.” It’s been so wonderful. I actually keep a picture of my 5-year-old self on my desk to remind myself that she doesn’t need to take care of big LeeAnne. I’ve let a kid control my life for all these years, but now I don’t have to anymore.
"The Real Housewives of Dallas" airs on Bravo on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST