Countess LuAnn de Lesseps at a recent AOL Build Speaker Series.
“Ladies, build your ark and they shall come,” says The Real Housewives of New York City star LuAnn de Lesseps while sharing details about her new Hamptons home, now undergoing a renovation that will be completed just in time for her new fiancé, Smart Source CEO Thomas D’Agostino Jr. (“they”), to move into the new master bedroom (“ark”) before the couple’s New Year’s wedding.
Still distressed from the drama that has defined the eighth season of the Bravo franchise, de Lesseps hops on a phone call to chat about her upcoming nuptials, the constant cat-fighting on reality TV, her current projects, and more.
Let’s start with your love life. You’re engaged to Thomas D’Agostino Jr., who we just met on the show. How did you meet? LUANN DE LESSEPS: Last summer, I was in the Hamptons and got a phone call from Dorinda [Medley, a fellow Housewife] and she said: ‘There’s a guy at this party who I know and I like very much and he’s the male version of you.’ So she puts him on the phone and it was, you know, awkward. We got each other’s number kind of thing. We kind of kept missing each other: I was in Europe, then he was away and I was in New York, and he was in the Hamptons and then I was in the Hamptons [but] he was in New York—we were both very busy. So, we didn’t get together really until November. If I knew then what I know now, I would never [have let all that time pass]. Timing is everything.
Funny enough, I was in the Hamptons and somebody sent me a tarot card reader, which I’m not a big believer [in], but she was looking for some clients out there and it was a rainy Sunday and I said: ‘You know what? Just come on over.’ She comes in and one of the first things she says to me is: ‘You’re going to meet your soul mate and you will be inseparable.’ I looked at her as if she had three heads. Ten days later, I met Tom.
It seems like it was meant to be. Do your kids like him? LDL: They do, they like him a lot. Listen, if you have to put a checklist together: he’s smart, he’s elegant, he’s successful, he’s good looking, he’s sporty like me. I mean, it’s just unbelievable.
I’m glad you found him, then! LDL: Let me tell you! And that’s why I had that dinner party with some of the ladies from the show and not all of them. Because there is some jealousy there, honey.
Speaking of that: it seems like a lot of the women on the show already knew him. Ramona Singer, specifically, claims she used to date him. LDL: [She scoffs at the notion] It’s so funny because he knows all these people from the show and I’ve never seen him in my life. All these women know him but I’ve never seen him before. Isn’t that crazy? We move in the same circles, more or less, so it’s really interesting how we never came to be in the contact with each other.
Like you said: timing is everything. Will you lose your Countess title once you marry him? LDL: Well, listen, once I get married officially I lose my title but, like someone said to me, ‘Once a Countess, always a Countess.’ It’s been an amazing ride and now it’s time to move on. Like Tom said to me, ‘How do you feel marrying a commoner?’ And I said, ‘There’s nothing common about you, darling.’
Tell us about the wedding. LDL: It’s planned for New Year’s Eve […] in Palm Beach. It’s also Tom’s 50th birthday so it’s a very big night. Tom’s never been married [and] it’s New Year’s, it’s his birthday, it’s our wedding—it’s a big day celebration.
How many guests do you expect? LDL: Over 200.
Are all the Housewives going to be there? LDL: Well, we’ll see. Some of the Housewives may be invited, we’ll see after the reunion [Laughs].
LuAnn de Lesseps and her fiancé, Thomas D’Agostino Jr.
Do you ever get embarrassed by the things that air on the show? Especially in light of your kids being old enough to watch and understand what is happening.... LDL: Well, my kids don’t really watch the show, they’re too busy being artists. They know I’m on it and they think it’s great and fabulous but, you know, I’m not embarrassed. I’m embarrassed by some of the people on the show, absolutely. By their behavior more than anything.
You are renovating your home in the Hamptons. How is that going? LDL: My house in the Hamptons […] is going to be done in July, so I can’t wait to get in there but the funny thing is, before I met Tom, I decided to build a master suite. So, ladies, build your ark and they shall come.
Your previous Hamptons home was in the Bridgehampton/Sagaponack area. Did you relocate? LDL: I’m in Sag Harbor now and I love it. [The house] is on the water so I have a boat. So I’m driving a boat around the Hamptons. That’s been a lot of fun with the kids, it’s a whole new life.
It’s probably a peaceful respite from the drama of the show. LDL: It’s wonderful. I can walk to the village. It’s really great. There are great restaurants in Sag Harbor, it’s just a great vibe and I like being in that kind of community, that kind of neighborhood. [It] feels cozy and warm.
In addition to all you’ve got going on in your personal life, you also have an apparel and jewelry collection on evine.com. What kind of products do you carry? LDL: I call it glamour on the go. It’s really about being comfortable. They’re very comfortable, easy-to-travel-with [pieces]. And made in New York, which is great. I wear a lot of my stuff on the red carpet, I wear it to events, I wear it in the Hamptons, I wear it everywhere.
You also have an infused vodka coming out in the fall, correct? LDL: I do. I have a collection of infused vodkas, which are coming out this fall [and] I’m very excited about. I’m also doing a bedding line, so I have a lot of projects coming up. So, as dramatic as the show can be, it’s also…
…a springboard? LDL: Yeah. I’ve been doing it for eight years now. Somebody said to me, ‘How can you hang around Ramona?’ And I say: ‘It’s my job. She’s my dysfunctional family member, what can I tell you?’