‘RHONY’: Leah McSweeney Shares ‘Maybe Had I Not Done RHONY I Would Have Kept Drinking’

Leah McSweeney from The Real Housewives of New York City admits that the show acted like a mirror and seeing herself drunk may have been the reason why she stopped drinking.

Leah McSwenney, Sonja Morgan from 'RHONY'
Leah McSwenney, Sonja Morgan |Heidi Gutman/Bravo)

“Obviously I talked about how I stopped drinking about 113 days ago,” McSweeney said during the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen After Show. “And I will say this, I just recently said this. Maybe had I not done RHONY, I would have kept drinking.”

“Stakes are very high,” she continued. “It’s very public. Now I see myself. I can self-reflect. And I have no shame about any of it. I want people to enjoy my drunken episodes because they are hilarious. And it’s not a dark, bad thing. It’s more like a decision I made. Hey, you know what, drinking isn’t conducive to my lifestyle. And it’s very hard for me to just have two or three drinks. I like to get really turnt up.”

‘This is what Leah does when Leah gets drunk’

Host Andy Cohen asked McSweeney for an assessment of her first season on the series. “It’s so much more intense than I ever could have imagined,” she said during the After Show. “I thought that, oh we film it and then it’s over. But it’s like, no it’s not. It airs and you feel all these feelings again, and maybe they’re like 10 times even more. And you’re like, I wish I’d said that! It’s just the drama continues.”

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Co-guest comedian Michelle Buteau asked McSweeney what it is like to see herself drunk. “I thought that I looked, all things considered, I thought I looked pretty damn good for being that wasted,” McSweeney replied. “I was kind of impressed with myself in that regard. And look, I’ve been very honest on the show. I just started drinking again recently.”

“This is what Leah does when Leah gets drunk,” she continued. “That’s why Leah’s not drinking anymore for a while now.”

Other cast members stopped drinking after seeing themselves on camera

McSweeney isn’t the first Bravo cast member to make life changes after seeing drunken footage. João Franco from Below Deck Mediterranean recently shared he decided to stop drinking. Franco had multiple reasons to stop drinking, but he also didn’t like what he saw on the show.

“Even the first time I went on I was like ‘I’m not going to get drunk,’” Franco told Showbiz Cheat Sheet before he returned for season 4. Franco wasn’t going to return to the show after receiving significant backlash for his drunken behavior during season 3. “Of course the first night we went out it came out [his drunk alter ego]. It actually helped me to see the negative.” 

Other Below Deck cast members have also decided to live a sober life after appearing on the series. Addiction and recovery specialist Jennifer Gimenez, who also appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills told Showbiz Cheat Sheet reality television and alcohol don’t mix.

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“Sometimes I do wonder after watching some of the girls on some of the shows,” she said. “After a while, why would you want to put yourself in that position? The question really to them is, is it a problem or something that makes you feel like you have this alter ego that it’s OK to be like that?”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.