Celebrity Couples, Just My 2 Cents

It always pains me when people pounce on the separation or divorce of a high profile couple. The sensationalism of what is such a difficult time for a family is nauseating in my honest opinion. Waking up to the announcement that RHOBH  stars Adrienne Maloof and her husband Dr. Paul Nassif are separating and then seeing it all over Twitter once again drives home just how obsessed our culture is with the personal lives of celebrities. We can argue that they signed on for such scrutiny, nobody can expect to hide from the public eye once they have made a conscious decision to place themselves in it, and human nature somehow sickly makes us most interested when things go downhill for folks.  I’ve said to Mr. Bitch several times since this blog started showing some success, “Forget about times being tough, when things are good THAT’S when you find out who your real friends are.” 

But back to the cult of celebrity marriages. They do seem to have a high failure rate. Please, I am in no way suggesting that the Maloof-Nassif union is failing. It is important to remember that the announcement is that of a separation which implies they are in a trial period, and that we, the ever judgmental public, should give them the space they need to figure things out. What I want to talk about is why celebrity unions have such a limited chance of survival, or my speculation as to why.  Bottom line I think it all comes down to money. Here is why, marriage is hard, I don’t care who you are, everyone who is married, whether they admit it or not, knows that a partnership like marriage requires patience (lots of it) and work. When you commit to another human being you are not just committing to all the things you love about him/her, but all the crap that comes along with it as well. You no longer have just your moods and problems to contend with, but a whole other set too, a set that you may not have any control over. If your spouse is sick, well, that will affect you too. If your spouse has financial problems, guess what, you do too. If your spouse is depressed, well, that black cloud will now be hanging a bit over your head as well. Celebrities, the wealthy ones, do not have to weather the storm. They can afford two households, legal fees, and all the other costs that come along with such a split. The rest of us? Well, most of us can barely make the rent or mortgage on two salaries these days. 

So give Adrienne and Paul a break. Let them have space to work things out, and even if they don’t think about all the couples who, if they had the same financial means, would probably call it quits as well.

Heather’s Life: On Her Own Terms!

On TV you know her as Madison’s former assistant and Josh Altman’s other half, but make no bones about it, Million Dollar Listing’s Heather Bilyeu is her own woman. A powerful force on the LA Real Estate scene, she talks about business, MDL, and of course her relationships with her co-stars. Heather is all woman, but she can both work and play like one of the boys!
Heather Bilyeu  
TBB: Good afternoon Heather. You have an interesting last name. Can you tell us about it?

HB: My last name is French. People always slaughter the pronunciation, so my dad came up with a saying so people would remember how to pronounce it… “Don’t bill me, I’ll ‘Bill You,” fitting for my business.
TBB: People think you are the quintessential California girl, but I have read you are originally from Vegas. How did you end up in LA?

HB: I’m born and raised in Las Vegas. My aunt lived in Laguna Beach and Los Angeles. I would stay with her over holiday breaks and summer vacations and I immediately fell in love with California and everything about it! I love the weather, the people, the food, the shopping, the beach, hiking and you’re just a few hours from the mountains, wine country, camping, etc. I started my real estate career in Las Vegas but then the market crashed and it gave me the perfect excuse to run to LA to start my next chapter! I’ve never looked back!

TBB: This is a big season on Million Dollar Listing, lots of changes. At the end of season IV we weren’t sure what would happen between you and your former boss Madison Hildebrand. It appears that after the show stopped filming he decided to take you on as a partner, however, that partnership was dissolved when Madison let you go. We’ve heard his side of the story in On The Fly interviews, but we haven’t heard much of your side. What would you like to say?
HB: I was a Realtor in Vegas for 5 years. When the Vegas market crashed, I moved to LA to pursue real estate as an assistant because I wanted to learn the market there. In my initial interview with Madison I told him that eventually I would want to become an agent again and was looking for someone who may want to partner in the future, 3-5 years down the road. Madison was open to the idea as he only had a 5 year plan to be in real estate and then he wanted to pursue another career. Fast forward to the end of season IV, I had been working for Madison for a little over 3 years, had plateaued in my assistant position,and was no longer being challenged. Madison was past his 5 year mark in real estate and was itching to pursue the entertainment scene (outside of Million Dollar Listing). We were a great team, had fun together and trusted each other. I felt this was the perfect time to explore the idea of partnering, which would benefit both of us: I would make more money and create a future for myself and Madison would collect residual income from my efforts while he pursued his next dream. It sounded perfect BUT Madison could not separate the TV drama from our real lives. I think he felt threatened by my ambition, success and my romantic relationship with Josh. I understood he made the decision to fire me to protect his business, I was not upset about that. I was upset about the way he handled the termination and my commissions that I earned as an employee. I felt he was cruel and malicious considering the cause for me to be fired was not due to my work performance but due to my personal relationship outside of work. There’s my story, his story, reality TV’s story and then the truth. It’s unfortunate because he was a huge part of my life. It feels like a break-up because I did love Madison as a friend and felt like we were family. This experience has been another learning curve and I have made the best of the situation. I now have a successful real estate business that is growing rapidly and I look forward to the future. I do wish Madison the best.TBB: Speaking of your business, you are now working with Mauricio Umansky. People know him as Kyle Richards’ husband on RHOBH, and from his previous appearances on MDLLA. How did that partnership develop?

HB: The real estate industry in LA is very small and we all have crossed paths at one time or another. I met Mauricio a few years ago but didn’t really get to know him until Josh Altman introduced us. Mauricio mentored Josh when he first got into the business. Mauricio and his partner, Billy Rose opened a boutique real estate brokerage called The Agency. Several top agents and agents I was friends with moved to The Agency. There was a buzz around town about The Agency and it’s quick success. I met with Mauricio, Billy and the rest of their team to learn more about the company. Redefining real estate: What a concept! Billy and Mauricio’s vision of a collaborative culture amongst agents was a breath of fresh air. The Agency is a family, a partnership; we work together and celebrate each other’s successes. I immediately knew this is where I wanted to be!TBB: Your former boss may not approve of your relationship with his competitor, but I think you two are an adorable couple. Will there be a lot of business ventures together?

HB: Josh and I have a great relationship, both in our personal and business life. He is my biggest fan and supporter of anything and everything I do, in particular my real estate career. He is my real estate coach. He gives me pep talks every morning, checks in on how I’m pursuing business, what deals I’m negotiating, etc. He’s been amazing. I’ve learned so much from him! And yes, we do share listings and buyers because we network together. It’s so funny, when we are at dinner and the couple next to us tells us they are selling their house, it’s a race to see who can get their business card out faster! It’s comical.
TBB: How are you, Josh, and Madison getting along now?
HB: Only time will tell! Stay tuned.TBB: I know you are an advocate of Female Empowerment, especially in business, however, when you stated you had an announcement at the season’s beginning, people automatically assumed it was an engagement or a pregnancy, and not business. How did that make you feel?

HB: I strongly believe in female empowerment! For generations, females have fought to have the same rights as men and we are still fighting! It is very upsetting to know that woman are paid only 70% of what men make for the same job. My role on the show focuses on my personal relationship so it was no surprise that people would assume that my big announcement was going to be a personal announcement. It was actually entertaining to see peoples’ responses! I hope they learn that I am not one dimensional and I have more to offer than just drama and my personal relationship with Josh. I am a business owner and very excited about my success and the success that is to come for myself and my company!TBB: According to your Twitter your mother recently got her Real Estate license. That must be quite a feeling to have inspired her, yes?

HB: My mom was actually the one that turned me on to real estate! When I was in high school, we would visit the new home developments on the weekends; that’s when we would have one-on-one bonding time and catch up about school, boys, life. We loved seeing the new areas, floor plans, finishes, just design in general. I really enjoyed it! That’s when my mom suggested I get my real estate license because there is nothing better than doing something you love and I loved real estate. My mom semi-retired in Phoenix, Arizona but saw the market picked up and saw the success I had so she got her license too. So yes, I guess you can say I inspired her, but she inspires and motivates me. She made her first deal in her first month! The average agent takes one year to sell their first home.TBB: What advice do you have for women in your line of business or business in general?

HB: 1. Confidence – don’t let them see you sweat!
2. Be an expert in what you do
3. Dress the part
4. Tell everyone what you do
5. Network/Socialize
TBB: Thank you so very much for talking with me today. Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

HB: I think viewers would be interested to know that I am a tom-boy despite what you see on the show. I ride dirt bikes, snow board, play soccer, go camping. I just love adventure and speed but will always be fashionable when doing it!

Miss Advised-Live

The Bravo Bitch with Amy Laurent
I was invited to the Miss Advised viewing party a few weeks ago by Amy Laurent, who, since I initially interviewed her, has become a dear friend. Other Bravo related events I attended until this point were not by invite. I elected to go to book signings, and bought tickets to charity dinners, so to be on the guest list was a welcome change. I had a preconceived notion in my head of what a viewing party would be. I imagined a giant screen that would air the show prior to it’s 10pm Bravo slot, since the girls all had to leave by then to appear with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. I knew before hand that Andy would not be in attendance, which I was relieved to hear, as I’m still not sure what the King of Reality Television thinks of me. It was pressure enough to know that I’d finally be meeting the Miss Advised girls in person, plus Bachelor alum Lorenzo Borghese and taking pictures for the blog. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I hate being in pictures. I have no clue how to pose and always end up making my figure and face look fuller than, I hope, they actually are.
I was invited with a plus one and decided that my intern Victoria should attend. She helps me a lot and, like myself currently, doesn’t get financial compensation from this “business” so exclusive events are the best thing I can offer. Besides, Mr. Bitch is not the socialite I am, so he was more than happy to let Vic be his stand in. We met up a few doors down from the party venue, a lounge in NYC’s Flat Iron District, for a quick dinner to prep our stomachs for the alcohol we’d potentially consume. After our overpriced bar food we fixed our makeup and headed to The Scarlet Lounge where we waited on a small line. We saw Amy arrive with Lorenzo and another woman, who happens to be Amy’s close friend and stylist. Another woman on line started chatting with us and she does Amy’s makeup. Being that Amy is the only cast member who resides primarily in NY it was fitting that the majority of the guests were connected to her in some way.
When we were let in we walked through a long narrow chandeliered hallway painted in a baroque black and white motif, like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The main bar was less perplexing to the eye. If you haven’t been to a NYC lounge the formula seems to be leather benches, plush sofas, chandeliers (again)l, and lots of velvet hanging along the walls. Behind the bar were a couple of TVs, but no large movie screen like the one I expected. Of course Bravo was playing, but the DJs kept the music going the whole party so unless you wanted to just view, you couldn’t really watch anything. Trays of tiny cupcakes adorned the tables, none of which I ate (reference to the camera hating me again!)
I went up to Amy, who welcomed me with a warm and excited hug. It was nice to be face to face after the plethora of conversations we had been having for the last couple of months. Amy is petite and very thin. She was wearing a fitted purple (which seems to be her signature color) dress and lovely long earrings. Julia arrived shortly after in a pink crinoline A-line, to which she topped off with a tiara a bit later on. Emily was dazzling in blue with her hair slicked back. She could easily be one of the tiniest women I have ever met, which she makes up for with a big charismatic personality. All three women looked fantastic. I got ample time talking to each one and they definitely made this Bitch feel like VIP!
The rest of the evening I spent mostly talking to Lorenzo, who seemed rather impressed, and horrified that I could have tweeted 13,000 times in two and a half months. I think it took him a while to realize that I’m not some weird stalker who sits behind a computer trying to get responses from reality tv personalities. Hopefully he peruses the blog today to see I’m a serious self made journalist and not a freak. (and hopefully he will submit to a blog interview as well). All in all it was a fun evening, but I’m paying the price today. All I had was 2 glasses of wine, but I’m not in my 20s anymore and when all was said and done it was nice to get home, take those killer (in more ways than one) shoes off, babywipe some of my makeup off, chug some water, and get my already hungover ass into bed. I needed some sleep, because after those pics, I was NOT going to miss my morning workout!