That Adrienne Maloof is gone from Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills under bitter circumstances is not in question; whether she was fired or quit, however, is. And it's gotten pretty hideous.
Maloof was never a fulcrum of interesting plots for the show's first two seasons, but her feud with Brandi Glanville — and its Bleak House-ian questions of what does and does not constitute a lawsuit — has provided a significant percentage of Season 3's story. Maloof officially left the show after not showing up to the taping of the reunion episode last Friday.
"She was fired," said one source close to the show. According to this person, when the reunion is broadcast on April 1, Bravo host Andy Cohen will announce that Maloof isn't there, nor will she be returning to the show. The source went on to say that up until recently, Maloof had been talking with producers and saying she wanted to come back.
A second source close to production confirmed that when Maloof didn't arrive at the taping, her representatives were called and Maloof was fired.
This mess played out in the gossip press on Friday. Life & Style broke the news that Maloof was skipping the reunion; Maloof's side, as leaked to TMZ, was that she couldn't attend because of a legal agreement with her former husband, Paul Nassif.
In the past year, Maloof has undergone a very ugly divorce from and custody battle with Nassif (allegations of abuse appeared on TMZ); she has begun dating former Celebrity Rehab cast member Sean Stewart (the son of Rod); and has had to contend with Glanville saying in front of cameras that Maloof had used a surrogate for her twin boys, which was apparently a secret from all three of her sons. In that last instance, Glanville's words were bleeped out, but it was easy enough to Google what she had said, and Maloof later talked to Life & Style magazine about the surrogacy. In that interview, she also blamed Glanville for her divorce. "Brandi did destroy our family," she said.
Camille Grammer, who appeared only occasionally in the third season, also didn't attend the taping of the reunion — and she is gone too.
Maloof and Grammer share a PR representative, Howard Bragman, and here's where things get uglier (if that is possible). The source close to the show said Bravo and Real Housewives producers are angry at Bragman for a TMZ post they think came from him that said "several lawyers and managers in Hollywood" want their clients "to stay clear of the show" because cast members have no "legal recourse" against smears made about them on camera. It cited Maloof's and Grammer's on-camera woes. (It's worth pointing out that both women have been portrayed in unflattering lights, but if they were in fact slandered by lies, viewers haven't seen that.)
"We are boycotting them for working with Howard," the show source said.
Bragman responded to this latest twist over email. "I did not place the TMZ item about boycotting the show, even though they think I did. Just not true." He also wrote, "In regards to their boycott of me, they claimed I was, 'overly involved in my clients' affairs.' I will never apologize for representing my clients compassionately, courageously and with integrity. I don't work for Bravo — I work for my clients."
On the question of whether Maloof was fired or quit, Bragman wrote, "Andy was calling Adrienne the day before the reunion begging her to attend. Doesn't sound like a firing to me."
If Cohen did call Maloof, of course, he would have been asking her to participate in a reunion for a season she had already been on — one in which she did not come off well.
Cohen had no comment.