Housewife Memoirs: A Review of Brandi Glanville’s Book

Brandi Glanville

Brandi Glanville

It’s no secret that Brandi Glanville is not your typical “housewife.”

Since her debut appearance on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in the reality show’s second season, the former model has always had a distinctly edgier and sharper flavor than her 1% cast-mates. As friend and co-star Lisa Vanderpump likes to point out, Glanville’s bluntness and tendency to always speak exactly what’s on her mind is both one of her best qualities and also the one that gets her into the most trouble.

In what’s likely a producer’s dream come true, Glanville’s no-bullshit policy is the catalyst for some of the most honest—and drama-provoking—moments on the hit Bravo program. While many of the other “housewives” are all about pretence, acting as if they are above the show’s often petty quarrels and working hard to exude an aura of sophisticated perfection, Glanville couldn’t be more different. She admits her flaws and is upfront about her values – making her emerge as one of the only ladies worthy of the word “real” associated with her name. The others, by contrast, come across as grown-up mean girls and more image-calculated ‘Plastics.’

It’s this unfiltered display of self-awareness that makes Glanville’s new memoir, Drinking & Tweeting: And Other Brandi Blunders, such a fascinating look behind the seemingly diamond-studded curtains of privileged Beverly Hills life. Published last week by Simon & Schuster and co-written with good friend Lesley Bruce, Glanville’s book provides detailed insights into the world of fame and divorce that’s simultaneously hilarious, heartbreaking, shameless, and of course, full of juicy one-liners and salacious gossip.

Before Glanville joined the cast of The Real Housewives, her face was already heavily splattered across the pages of tabloids and celebrity gossip blogs. In 2009, her husband at the time, TV actor Eddie Cibrian (The Young and the Restless; CSI: Miami), was infamously caught cheating with washed-up country singer LeAnn Rimes. Cibrian, whose multiple other affairs came to light shortly after the Rimes bomb exploded, went public with his relationship with Rimes before his and Glanville’s divorce papers were even filed. Less than two years later, he and Rimes were wed, leaving Glanville as a nearly 40-year-old single mom of two.

In Drinking & Tweeting, Glanville relives her painful journey of betrayal, struggling with accepting the reality of her circumstances, and ultimately, her path to reclaiming her identity and finding inner peace.

“Sometimes you need to lose yourself to truly find yourself again,” Glanville writes in the book. “But at the end of the day, you have to know when to wake the fuck up and get on with your life.” Not exactly the most eloquent philosophical statement, but it’s Glanville all the way.

Glanville’s account of what happened to her isn’t your standard tell-all with the sole purpose of presenting herself as the victim and pointing fingers at her ex-husband and his mistress (although there’s plenty of that – and rightfully so). Instead, she uses Drinking & Tweeting as a platform to explain exactly what happened, her thought processes during her various stages of coping, and eventually, how she came to accept her situation and move on.

Following her separation from Cibrian, Glanville found herself to be entirely independent for the very first time in her life. Suddenly, she was making all of her own decisions and had “no parents, agents, or husbands to tell me where to go, how to act, or what to do next.” And, sometimes, those decisions ended very poorly.

Candidly discussing everything from her post-partum depression to her battles with alcohol and prescription pills to her insecurities about co-parenting her two children with their new “bonus mom” (as she likes to call Rimes) and the man who broke her heart, Glanville has constructed a raw narrative that chronicles her downward spiral and then her inspiring tale of re-discovering her self worth.

One of the first steps in Glanville’s Cibrian-cleanse was reclaiming her sexual identity. In the book, Glanville admits that she and her ex still slept together a few times after the shit hit the fan. While Cibrian was using sex as a way to convince Glanville to be compliant and turn a blind eye to their marital problems, Glanville was trying to hold onto a life to which she had become too accustomed to let go. Recognizing this, she realized that she had to end this self-destructive behavior if she ever hoped to rebuild her life.

As a first step, she made an appointment with a doctor to get vaginal rejuvenation surgery. After having two children and an eight-year marriage that ended in tears and an HPV diagnosis, Glanville described her decision to get the procedure as a necessary step to feeling sexy and confident again to re-enter the world of dating. And the closest that Cibrian would ever come to seeing her new “kitty cat” would be in the form of a generous charge on his credit card statement.

Annoyed and jealous, Rimes was quick to retaliate, publicizing Glanville’s procedure to humiliate her. It’s revelations such as these that provide her readers with a backstage pass into the down and dirty details of a celebrity love triangle.

In fact, there are numerous instances throughout the book in which Rimes’ celebrity status makes Glanville’s road to healing that much bumpier. In addition to being constantly bombarded with staged paparazzi shots of Cibrian and Rimes’ developing romance, Glanville also lost some of her closest friends to the woman who already took her husband away from her. She hypothesizes that this was a result of their not-so-secret hunger for the spotlight, even if it was just in the form of fame-by-association. Feeling isolated, Glanville would turn to vices like too many glasses of white wine and obsessing over the couple’s social media updates – or, as she puts it, “cyber-cutting”.

Glanville gets literal about her cutting, slashing the tires to Cibrian’s prized Harley Davidson, but most of the time she’s not blinded by hatred. Instead, she rightfully prioritizes the well-being of her children before her own emotions, noting that “all three of us needed to check our egos at the door if we were going to be good guardians to these two little boys.”

And Glanville gives credit where it’s due. Since their divorce, she points out, Cibrian finally stepped up to the parenting plate—after being an absentee father to their children while they were still married. And she eventually comes to the conclusion that their separation has enhanced both of their parenting skills.

“Knowing that one day my sons might go to their bonus mom to ask for advice on a girl they like or for help with their algebra homework (as if she’d   know how to do it, anyway), or even for something as simple as lunch money, is a wretched feeling. On the other hand, both Eddie and I have learned to value and appreciate the days we get with the boys, now that it’s only half the year. And with part of my week free, I’m able to do things for myself, such as working, writing, shopping, etc. Because of my breakup, I discovered that I missed me time while I was married. I didn’t give myself enough of it, and it’s crucial. On the flip side, I think Eddie discovered that he really missed Dad time. We both finally established a better balance, and in a weird way, I think it has made us better parents.”

And even though Rimes not only stole her husband but also viciously declared war on her, Glanville is still able to talk about her ex’s mistress without ripping her to shreds (well … at least, at times).

“She’s good to them and they love her, so I try to be as civil as I possibly can,” Glanville says about Rimes’ relationship with her children. She even goes on to write that she has a “hysterical fantasy that one day she and I will decide to record a duet about heartbreak.” Yet she’s fully aware that “after publishing this book, I will most likely get slapped with yet another cease-and-desist letter from a certain country-music singer’s legal team. I believe it will be lucky number three.”

While her marriage to Cibrian and its high-profile dissolution is what made her a face that people were anxious to photograph, Glanville refuses to let herself be defined by the dark days inflicted upon her by her former husband. To her, writing Drinking & Tweeting was not only an outlet to tell her side of the story, but it was also a way to put that chapter of her life to rest. And when Glanville googles herself at the end of the book only to find that the latest stories about her don’t mention Cibrian and Rimes and instead focus on Housewives and her new adventures as both an author and designer of a chic and affordable dress line, she finally gets the closure she needs – and that, more than anything, she deserves.

“Today’s ‘housewife’ is a sassy, clever, opinionated woman who faces challenges head-on and never shies from telling it like it is – all while hoping to create a happy ‘home life,’ regardless of what kind of home she has and who lives there,” Glanville proudly writes in her newfound, confident voice.

Glanville’s story, while harrowing at times, is an inspirational and ultimately uplifting tale of maturity, motherhood, and learning to grow despite the setbacks that life sometimes hands us. With the publication of Drinking & Tweeting, she is finally transformed into the independent, extraordinary woman she wants to be—not just for her children but also for herself. #TeamBrandi

Drinking & Tweeting: And Other Brandi Blunders by Brandi Glanville is on sale now.

Brandi Glanville

Alex has been writing for PopBytes since 2011. As the Theater Editor, he focuses on all aspects of Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional Theater, and beyond. Alex lives in Western Massachusetts and can be found on Twitter at @AlexKNagorski.