Doute has put all those experiences to good use, channeling them into her new book, “He’s Making You Crazy: How to Get the Guy, Get Even, and Get Over It.” Co-written with “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days” author Michele Alexander, the book uses the Bravo star’s personal stories on and off the show as a lesson in what — and what not — to do in a relationship.
“I don’t blame the show or anything for not showing more sides of me because they have a story to tell, and there are a lot of cast members, especially this season,” Doute said. “But I’m not a one-dimensional person.”
In the lead-up to both her book’s debut and the first episode of VPR’s three-part Zoom reunion — both out Tuesday — we talked to Doute about whether she thinks anyone from the cast will read the book, why she thinks the much-maligned Scheana Shay was the hero of Season 8, and her deep love for Ariana Madix, the longtime girlfriend of Tom Sandoval, Doute’s former boyfriend. (Can’t keep up? Watch “Vanderpump.”)
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
How does the writing process work with a co-writer?
When we first went in to write this book, I told Michele straight-up I wanted us to be 50/50 partners … I didn’t want a ghostwriter. I wanted her name to be on the cover, I wanted her to be just as much a part of the writing process as I was of telling my stories. And when we first started writing the book … I was just telling Michele all these crazy dating stories; we’ve been friends for years. And she was like, “Uh, yeah. Been there. Yup, me too. A hundred percent. Yeah, my best friend went through that, blah blah blah.” We were like, wow, these are really universal truths, they’re not just my stories … And then the more we started diving really deep and unpacking all of these feelings, it turned into this whole self-love journey.
It kind of functions as a love-life memoir. Was part of the reason you did it to show the real story behind the snippets of stuff we see on TV, or to fight against the “crazy” label that you have?
Yeah, it really was like [men are] making us crazy. We started realizing that the emotions that we were feeling and the quote-unquote “irrational behavior” that we were projecting … really had nothing to do with us, but it was poking fun at these guys who were calling us crazy, like crazy was a bad thing. Actually, no. It means that we’re passionate and we care and we have emotions and we respect ourselves. That’s what this dreaded C-word is all about. So rather than continuing this “crazy Kristen” negative connotation, we were like let’s just take the C-word back, and let’s explain why it’s his fault. [Laughs]
For the chapters on people like Jax Taylor, Sandoval and your ex-boyfriend, Carter, is there a reason you didn’t use names, or gave them nicknames? Was it just to make it more universal, because, in some cases, people obviously know who you’re talking about.
I mean, clearly — I’ve said this before — like the Jax chapter [“I Lied,” about how Doute slept with Jax, the best friend of her boyfriend at the time, and also the ex of her best friend, Stassi Schroeder] is about Jax. Okay, I didn’t do this more than once, so everyone, I want you to know that. [Laughs] Overall, we didn’t want any reader to get stuck on my story — more like this universal truth that in universal stories that women have all gone through. You know, every woman who’s ever lived with a man has had that first guy she lived with and it felt like you’re in a glorified roommate phase. And I felt like if I had put “Tom Sandoval” in there, they’re just stuck on “Vanderpump Rules” Kristen and Tom, rather than, what is it like living with someone as a woman when … you’re probably not going to get married, so what are you really doing right now? And also, you know, I guess, not to get in trouble. [Laughs]
You and Tom seem to be great now. You mentioned him and Ariana in the book as “two of the most supportive and loving friends.” How does what’s written in the book affect the relationship? Did you have to clear it?
I didn’t ask for permission; I’d rather apologize later than ask permission. I also don’t think any of those guys are going to really read the whole book, I don’t think. But I did gift both Ariana and Brittany [Cartwright, Jax’s wife] the galley before the book came out, and I did let them know both of their men were going to be written about …
I felt like it was really important [to write the Tom and Ariana chapter] because it was honest, but also to show that there was some redemption at the end of it. It’s something you don’t see on the show. I feel like they didn’t really ever focus on how Ariana and I actually made up, and there was such a temperature change on “Vanderpump Rules” when that happened, but they skated right past it. So I kind of just wanted to fill in not only the “Vanderpump Rules” fans, but really just the readers in general, to know it is possible. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, even if you’ve had a tumultuous breakup. If I found a way, it’s possible. [Laughs]
So that’s my other question, if you were disappointed with how “Vanderpump” has kind of glossed over your and Ariana’s friendship, because she’s mentioned that numerous times on social … Is that something you wish they got into more?
Yeah, I mean Ariana is one of the girls that I’m the closest to on the show. She’s super supportive and she’s a different kind of friend to me than, let’s say, Scheana is, where Scheana and I have a very similar love language and a very similar sort of attention-needing with our men and whatnot. Ariana looks at things a little more factually, so she is someone that I go to when I need that other perspective. I wish that they would have shown more of that. And I hope if we get another season or whatever happens with the show, that they will focus more on our friendship, because I think our dynamic is really cool and interesting. It’s just so opposite of what it ever used to be. It’s like the things we almost hated about each other are the things that we fell in love with about each other.
That sounds like a vow.
[Ariana] might not want to marry Tom, but maybe she’ll marry me! [Laughs]
That would be the ultimate twist. So editing obviously plays a huge role on the show … There was a little bit of a hullabaloo the other week with a VPR editor speaking about how Scheana was edited as “desperate” and Stassi and Beau [Stassi’s fiance] are the “heroes.” I was wondering if you have any thoughts about that and if it confirmed any suspicions you had, or was just kind of disappointing to see?
It was really disappointing; that’s a great word. “Shocked” would be an understatement, when I first heard about it … I don’t know [the editor] personally, but just that she would even have the [nerve] to speak about that so publicly. … I really felt for Scheana, and I don’t think that it was cool or fair. I don’t know if there’s actual truth to that, that she actually had the power to edit Scheana terribly, but just the thought that she would make a joke about it …
For me, I think Scheana was the hero of Season 8; Scheana carried that show on her back. I think she was the reason that we were able to integrate a new cast more seamlessly than it could have been without her. So I don’t think she’s given enough credit a lot of the time.
In the book, you say about your friends, “They were very vocal in expressing their disappointment to me and him for not moving on.” How do these lines resonate with you now that you’ve watched Stassi and Katie [Maloney-Schwartz, another best friend] kind of judge your relationship for two seasons?
Michele was like, “Why do your friends think they know better for you than you? Why?” Every girlfriend of mine that was coming around was like “you shouldn’t date [Carter]” or “why are you seeing that guy?” or “you should really go see this guy.” It’s like, wait, wait, wait — how about just let me do me?
Hindsight’s 20/20. I wanted to admit all of my wrongdoings … I understand that it was difficult, I understand that I was judging people’s relationships while I was living this relationship with Carter. I just didn’t know it at the time. But again, writing this book, unpacking all these feelings and really digging super deep into the “why” of everything as best that I could, and that’s how I felt about Carter and I. But they’re my lessons to learn, essentially.