When Leah McSweeney joined Season 12 of The Real Housewives of New York City, she was an immediate hit. It was rare for a freshman housewife to attract such a positive fan response. She had been sober for nearly 10 years but was back to drinking at the time she was trying out for RHONY.
Viewers no doubt remember Leah getting drunk and running around Ramona Singer’s yard in the Hamptons. She got naked, save for her thong, and flung Ramona’s tiki torches around the yard. Then she jumped in the pool. This newbie even threw ravioli at the Singer Stinger on a separate occasion. She had guts and wasn’t afraid to be honest and vulnerable.
But now, fans are learning about the personal cost that Leah paid to be part of the Bravosphere. Vanity Fair has the details.
Was RHONY’s Leah encouraged to drink?
Leah quit drinking once she landed the Real Housewives job. A month later, Leah drank during that infamous cast trip to Ramona’s home in the Hamptons in 2019. “I don’t consider myself an alcoholic at all,” Leah explained on camera. “I’ve been drinking for the last six months or so, and I pick and choose when I drink.”
According to Leah, she was hoping to minimize the chance that her relapse would become a major story that season. But Darren Ward, who was the co-runner of RHONY, reportedly told Leah, “This shit is boring as hell,” and “You better turn it up.” Vanity Fair reached out to Darren Ward but did not receive a response.
So, Leah turned it way up in the Hamptons. Leah has no memory of that night. She said she was “browned out.” Once the episode aired in 2020, “Hurricane Leah” had cemented herself in RHONY history.
Was Andy Cohen upset that Leah didn’t relapse on RHONY?
In April 2020, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Leah was surprised by a question host Andy Cohen asked her off-air. “Were you already drinking? Or was your relapse at the winery, or on the trip?” he asked.
Leah told him that she was drinking before filming began. Once again, Leah was trying to take the emphasis off her alcohol use. Leah thought that “he looked disappointed” that Bravo cameras didn’t capture when Leah relapsed. Then, at the Season 12 reunion taping, Andy decided to ask Leah which drugs she used during her addiction. Really? That was unnecessary.
Vanity Fair noted that Andy refused, via a Bravo representative, to answer questions.
Leah’s second season was nothing like her first. She became sober and was grieving her grandmother’s death. And many RHONY viewers didn’t like the softer, sober Leah. It was baffling why she received so much backlash.
It sounds as if being part of RHONY wasn’t worth the price that Leah personally paid.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK THAT LEAH WAS ENCOURAGED TO DRINK ON RHONY? DO YOU THINK THAT ANDY WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT SHE DIDN’T RELAPSE ON CAMERA?