Real Housewives star Kyle Richards is surely used to some form of scrutiny, being a reality TV star and all. But the latest gossip about her has taken a disturbing turn, with speculation running riot about her relationship with her female friend, country singer Morgan Wade.
This comes after she released a joint statement with her husband Mauricio this morning, after People reported that they had separated but were living under the same roof. 'In regards to the news that came out about us today... Any claims regarding divorcing are untrue,' Richards shared on her Instagram. 'However, yes, we have had a rough year. The most challenging one of our marriage. But we both love and respect each other tremendously.
'There has been no wrongdoing on anyone's part. Although we are in the public eye, we ask to be able to work through our issues privately. While it may be entertaining to speculate, please do not create false stories to fit a further salacious narrative.'
The statement was released on Mauricio's Instagram, also.
As usual, the rumour mill about a supposed split and Kyle's relationship with Morgan is being fuelled by social media. Fans have taken to TikTok to discuss suspicions and theories, as well as trawling Kyle’s Instagram looking for 'clues' about the state of her marriage to Mauricio (apparently consisting of whether she has been posting about him less, or whether you can see her ring finger in paparazzi pictures) and 'analysing' posts of Kyle with Morgan and their shared heart tattoos.
One TikToker said of her 'investigations': ‘this is fun this is just some data to look at and analyse’. Even if these speculations are meant to be light hearted, their impact can be rather heavy. On Morgan and Kyle. On Mauricio. On all of their loved ones.
As Kyle and Mauricio pointed out in their statement, it might be entertaining to speculate, but often it works to fit a more salacious narrative – and that can be damaging.
It feels like fan culture has given us an unprecedented level of access into famous people’s lives – leading to many people crossing important boundaries when it comes to the personal relationships of people they feel like they know, but they don’t.
Just a few weeks ago, Taylor Swift fans wrote an open letter appealing to the singer to ‘reflect on the impact of your own and your associates’ behaviour’ and to ‘use your platforms responsibly and intentionally’. This is yet another example of fans feeling privy to judging someone’s personal and private life, when a person’s romantic choices and experiences are their own and nobody else’s.
And even if you watch Kyle on TV or listen to Morgan’s music, this doesn’t give you carte blanche to comment on either of their potential relationship statuses.
The fact that a rumoured relationship is same-sex makes respect for privacy and space even more important. Kyle and Mauricio have shut down this speculation as false and salacious. But as a general point, the pain of being outed still very much exists, seeing as we still live in a society where members of the LGBTQIA+ community face physical and verbal attacks for just existing. Someone's decision to come out should be their's and their's alone, not taken from them by anyone.
So not only is it none of our business whether or not two women may be dating, it is straight up harmful to feed into gossip that may negatively impact multiple relationships or affect someone’s journey with their sexuality.
Step off the gossip train – it’s not headed anywhere good.