Billie Lee is telling ALL about her time on Vanderpump Rules.
The LGBTQ+ activist and former SURver never thought being on Pump Rules would leave her in a deep depression.
“I had some of the hardest times with that show, and a lot of my mental health took its toll,” Billie told Page Six. “I slipped into a really bad depression … and when the suicidal thoughts came in, that’s when I knew I had to really, like, check my mental health and get back into order and disconnect myself from the whole ‘Vanderpump’ stuff.”
Billie first appeared on VPR during season 6 when she made a powerful speech at SUR’s Pride celebration about being a transgender woman. While on the show, it seemed like the entire VPR cast rallied around Billie; she says things were very different behind the scenes. She adds that she began to spiral when she was fired from the show at the end of season 7.
While Billie doesn’t regret doing VPR, she continues to struggle with the aftermath of being on reality TV.
“They have a system on how they pay their newcomers, and it starts out at a low scale,” she explained. “But even during the show, behind the scenes, I was struggling to pay my bills, but I couldn’t tell anyone because here I am famous and on a show and as a trans activist I’m supposed to represent this certain thing.”
She also struggled with how she was edited on the show.
“It was all about being the token — villainizing me and throwing me out. It was just horrible,” she said. “But I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything at the time. I was very scared. I was silent. My team told me that I should just keep my cool. And so as an activist, it just really, really messed with my head.”
Before being fired by Bravo, Billie says she suggested producers add more diversity to the cast.
Billie says during her time on VPR, she experienced various uncomfortable encounters with her co-stars, including Jax Taylor.
“Jax and a lot of people were very kind to me on Pride when I first met them and in front of the cameras,” she alleged. Adding that when they first met, “he was almost coming on to [her].”
“When the cameras were off later that day, he told me a story about how he hung out with a girl and kissed her and found out she was a dude, and it grossed him out and made it clear that he’s not into that,” she claimed. “And so for me, I was very like, ‘Oh, 360. Like, you’re coming on to me in front of the camera. But off-camera, you’re making it clear that being trans is gross and you are not down for that.’”
She claims she “tried to correct him,” but Jax “would be annoyed by it.”
“He just wasn’t having it,” she alleged. “He just was very much keeping his distance. He just did not want me around.”
Billie also claimed that Jax then spread rumors that she was hooking up with Tom Sandoval because “Tom was sticking up for me as a trans woman and trying to put Jax in his place.”
Jax then refused to film with Billie because he “didn’t want to risk his career” by offending her or any transgender viewers.
“He said, ‘Yeah, I didn’t want you around because I don’t want everything I worked hard for to be taken away. We shouldn’t have to tippy-toe around Billie because she’s trans,’” she said.
On the flip side, Billie says Tom and Ariana Madix have been great allies and friends.
“Tom and Ariana have literally been like family to me,” she said. “Tom has helped me in ways. He buys me things. Even during the quarantine, he would be like, ‘I have toilet paper, I have this. Come over. I’ll get you whatever you need.’”
Adding that while the future is uncertain for VPR, she would love to see Tom and Ariana get a spin-off show.
“It would be dope to have a spin-off of TomTom and focus on Tom and Ariana — people that actually care about other people,” she said. “I think that’s really important, and I hope through all of this, that they don’t lose their job because they have been nothing but amazing and supportive for me and every minority out there. And I really, really hope Bravo does the right thing by celebrating them.”
Meanwhile, Billie is making it known that she wants Jax fired from Vanderpump Rules.
“@BravoTV, what about Jax Taylor? He refused to film with me because I was trans and called him out on his white cis privilege. Stop celebrating his disgusting actions. #canceljaxtaylor,” Billie tweeted on June 9.
On June 15, she wrote, “Now if only we were protected from Jax Taylor’s constant discrimination. @BravoTV We are still waiting for you to step up and do what’s right. #CancelJaxTaylor.”
It’s unclear if Bravo will renew Vanderpump Rules for season 9.