Everybody remember Cedric Martinez? Lisa Vanderpump‘s Houseguest from season 1 of Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills? If you don’t, here’s a brief recap: Cedric was like family, but then allegedly betrayed Ken Todd and Lisa by lying about his family background to use them for fame and fortune.
Since being blackballed it’s been a very rough few years for Cedric – he’s lost Lisa’s friendship, and many other friends, and gained a bad reputation, which he says was based on a lie. Cedric spoke with Kate Casey on her Reality Life podcast and opened up about the drama with Lisa, provided some illuminating tidbits about how Reality TV works, and shared what he’s up to now.
I may not agree with everything, but I think Cedric came across with humility and self-reflection. It’s interesting stuff. Below is his story:
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Cedric had known Lisa and Ken for over a decade when in 2009 he moved to LA to assist with the opening of Villa Blanca. He had no official job, and sometimes waited tables there for tips, but mainly acted as an unpaid personal assistant. Cedric says he was completely dependent on Lisa and Ken, but was asked to portray the luxuriating houseguest for RHOBH. “This was not real life – I worked 14 hours a day and I wasn’t getting paid.”
Prior to the show Ken and Lisa “were my family” asserts Cedric. “She has a very generous spirit and a very generous heart and when she heard my story, she felt like she wanted to protect me,” he explains, “so she welcomed me into the family… It was wonderful.”
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Lisa interviewed to be part of RHOBH “without telling anyone,” and also informed casting about her “gay houseguest,” Cedric. “It piqued the interest of production, so she got a call back and they insisted that we do the audition together at the house.” For a year they heard nothing. When they finally got word Lisa and Cedric “were barely on speaking terms.” But production wanted them both, so Lisa told a “white lie” that he was still living there. She then called Cedric and “apologized in her way” so he would agree to be part of the show.
Their falling out was allegedly over Cedric’s failed relationship with Lance Bass. Cedric caught Lance cheating and broke it off, yet Lisa expected him to stay with Lance to promote the restaurant and his own career. “I understand her thinking process because she has made a lot of sacrifices in her life and she chose a certain path over something else, and I wasn’t willing to do this.”
Instead Cedric started dating a fellow Villa Blanca waiter, which Lisa didn’t approve of. So he moved out. “She was very controlling – very, very controlling. She has her hands on everything. And this is how she becomes a success. She’s very smart, so clever.”
Cedric believes one of Lisa’s motives for convincing him to join RHOBH was to keep him quiet. “Before the show, I think, they felt threatened. Lisa, at the time, was a bit lonely,” says Cedric. “I’d been around her life for like 15, 16 years, so I became a confidante and she confided in me, and I was there for her and I loved her, and I still do. …She kind of opened up a lot more and I found out a lot more stuff – a lot more than I thought. Any marriages have their struggles, any friendship has their struggles. I’ve never divulged anything private.”
“This is one thing about Ken and Lisa – despite whatever happened between them, they are an amazing team. They will stick together no matter what. Nothing could break them up. They have this force – and they will just crush anything that comes in front of them. And I was one of the casualties. I had seen that happen before with other friends of 30 year relationships, and her parents… ”
Despite their fractured relationship Cedric agreed to do RHOBH believing it would be fun and a way to rebuild his relationship with the Vanderpump-Todds. He reports that Lisa was “very anxious” about the show being successful to help grow their restaurant business.
Unfortunately it took over Lisa’s life. Cedric alleges that she plotted from day one to ensure the show’s success by creating scenarios, rehearsing lines and jokes, and digging for storylines. Lisa was “the director of season 1 – and she was amazing!” he laughs. “And to be honest, and to be fair to her, it worked.” Cedric assisted her.
“She used to Google all the girls and see what kind of dirt she could find on them, so this is how all those stories were being generated.” Cedric clarifies, however, that “everybody was at it.” (meaning all the other Housewives), and they were all planting stories about each other to generate buzz for the show.
“She’s an incredible woman. She’s smart, she’s so careful, she’s so rehearsed,” praises Cedric. “She was so focused – it consumed anything and everything. There was no other conversation other than that.”
The trade-off for being part of Lisa’s life and RHOBH was that she controlled Cedric too. She “flipped” when she learned he was still dating the Villa Blanca waiter and demanded Cedric break up with him. “I had to,” Cedric insists, “because I was relying on them for a lot of things: shelter, a VISA, money – cause I wasn’t getting any, I was completely broke. I had nowhere to go – going back to London was just not an option. So she really had me under her thumb.”
Lisa also warned Cedric not to ‘outshine’ her on the show. Cedric alleges Lisa worried about the positive reaction he got from production and resented too much focus on Cedric and Lisa as a unit. So Lisa concocted an exit strategy for him. Cedric claims that midway through filming season 1, production reported that the storylines were stale (THIS I cannot believe!), and requested her help boosting drama.
Lisa started demanding Cedric talk about his awful childhood. When he tried to refuse, “She just went mad.” Finally he caved, sharing the story of “eating cat food” during a scene with Kyle and Lisa, even though he felt “so uncomfortable.”
The interview was a little hard to follow at some points, but from my interpretation Cedric feels Lisa set him up. He was unwittingly duped into revealing his tragic childhood, but all along Lisa and Ken planned to later claim they discovered he lied and he was using them to live the high life in LA. Once they’d ‘outed him,’ they could accuse him of attempted blackmail. So if he did reveal any of the compromising information Lisa told him, everyone would dismiss him as a scorned famewhore.
Cedric insists he never lied. He claims Bravo knew this, but allowed the storyline to persist regardless. Apparently before s1 filmed Bravo, production, and their attorneys had a “conference call” with his former foster parents to verify that Cedric’s story was true “for legal reasons.” Court records were also provided to corroborate it, but none of this was shared with RHOBH viewers.
Cedric is still in touch with some of the Housewives (“I’m not gonna say who on the show.) and they have since “seen Lisa’s “true colors” and see he was used then “tossed aside.”
“The producers are worth every penny they earn,” laments Cedric. “They had this whole backstory without me knowing already figured out. …Because I trusted her I thought this was going to be a lotta fun. And everybody was so nice. I had no reason to doubt.”
The most interesting part of the interview is that Cedric shares that Russell Armstrong was used in a similar fashion. He was friends with Russell “off the show” and had “secret” lunches with Russell and Taylor after his issues with Lisa.
“The week before he hung himself he came to me, we were in Santa Monica, and he said, ‘Cedric – I don’t know what I’m gonna do – they’re coming after me like they came after you.’ But I did not hear [understand] what he was saying… He was scared.”
“In front of me he never touched Taylor. No one saw, that’s all what she said. Maybe he was not a perfect husband. Maybe he had his demons – we all do,” acknowledges Cedric. “Of all the things I’ve seen on the show, what they’ve done to Russell – all the women pushing him under the bus to the point that he had no other option to hang himself – that for me is something that I could never forgive!”
Cedric’s life was also in shambles after RHOBH – he lost friends, his place to live, employment opportunities, and connections. “It made my life so impossible. I was pushed so hard that I did try to OD. It was just too much. For me, after where I come from, and I loved them so much; I trusted them so much and after what happened nobody wanted to hire me. I was even talking to Days Of Our Lives – that went down the drain. I would get disinvited to carpets – which is not a big deal, it’s just what it represents. I could not get work in a restaurant. I had no money!”
Cedric has returned to London where he has a small close circle of friends along with a new lease on life and fame. He would love to have a conversation with Ken and Lisa “away from the cameras” to discuss everything that happened. “I know that they know that what they’ve done is wrong. I understand why they did what they did, and I’m not mad at them, and I do love them.”
He also says he’ll never do reality TV again. A few British reality shows, including Celebrity Big Brother, have reached out, but he’s declined. “I don’t want to be famous, just to be famous,” Cedric explains.
Today Cedric works as a guest relationship manager for a global hospitality company. And he’s created a food-based game show, which has some agencies interested. “Nothing’s happened with it yet, but I’m very hopeful! I do love showbiz, I’m not gonna lie about it, but I want make the right decision. I don’t want to be famous without something to back it up.”
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CEDRIC’S REVELATIONS? DO YOU BELIEVE HIM?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]