Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards have been bringing the drama in Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 12. The sisters have been making headlines thanks to recent episodes that highlighted the cast trip to Aspen, which included Kathy’s alleged “meltdown.”
This latest sister controversy has centered around wealthy, elite privilege in a luxury ski town, private clubs, high dollar rental homes, tequila brand investments, network contracts, and personal assistants. How did Kathy and Kyle get to this point of having such unrelatable “first-world problems?” The answer is their mother, Big Kathy.
Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards’ mother was married at least four times
The book House of Hilton came out in the mid-2000s — a time when Paris Hilton was making headlines for being famous for nothing. The focus of the book is primarily on Kathy’s oldest daughter. But there are also a lot of juicy details about other members of the Hilton family — including Kathy, Kyle, and Kim’s mom, Big Kathy.
Her full name was Kathleen Dugan Avanzino Richards Catain Fenton. And all of those last names came from her numerous marriages. She was married at least four times, and it’s possible she married the same man twice.
One of Big Kathy’s relationships was with Kyle and Kim’s dad, Ken Richards. She became interested in him when he was still married to another woman, and the book alleges that Big Kathy and Ken had an affair.
How did she win Ken over? That’s not very clear. However, the book claims that one night, Big Kathy drugged Ken’s wife at a bar before following her to her vehicle and slamming her ankle in the car door.
Big Kathy pushed her daughters to marry young and marry rich
According to the book, Big Kathy had quite the life philosophy — especially when it came to marriage and money. She instructed her daughters and granddaughters from an early age to follow in her footsteps by marrying rich men and having a lot of babies.
At one point, Big Kathy bragged that her daughters “are married to men who have a total net worth of $13 billion.” She also allegedly used the power of sex when manipulating the men in her life. And she taught her daughters how to do the same.
“Big Kathy told Ken that she wanted Kathy Hilton to know all about sex, and how to perform sex, literally, the best way possible,” Sylvia Richards asserts in House of Hilton. “So she asked a young man to teach her in his van.”
Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards both married extremely wealthy men
Both Kathy and Kyle apparently took their mom’s advice to heart because they both married extremely wealthy men at young ages. In 1979– at the age of 20 — Kathy married Rick Hilton, the grandson of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton. In addition to being the heir of a hotel fortune, Rick also made hundreds of millions of dollars on his own through his luxury real estate firm Hilton & Hyland. Rick and Kathy are worth more than $300 million and have been married 43 years, and counting.
Meanwhile, Kyle married her second husband, Mauricio Umansky, in 1996 when she was 26. He worked at Hilton & Hyland and made millions before starting his own firm, The Agency, in 2011. Now, Umansky and Richards have been married for over 25 years and have a net worth estimated to be over $100 million. The Agency is worth more than $1 billion.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays on Bravo.