Remember those days back in season one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, when the drama didn’t focus on panties—or lack thereof—and Lisa Vanderpump had a gay houseguest that wouldn’t leave?
Cedric Martinez was like a second son to Lisa. He lived with her, worked with her, was her confidant and bestie. Later, Lisa and Ken found out that Cedric’s tragic childhood story was all a lie. But now he says she orchestrated the whole scenario, and he was nothing but a dupe.
Cedric has come out of the woodwork and is once again painting Lisa as an egocentric puppet master. He spoke about his time on RHOBH to Kate Casey on her Reality Life podcast.
Cedric had worked for Lisa and Ken for over a decade before they moved to Beverly Hills and opened Villa Blanca. In 2009, Cedric moved with them to help establish the restaurant. He claims he received no salary and worked 14 hours a day, sometimes as a waiter, but always as Lisa’s unpaid personal assistant. The show may have portrayed him as living in the lap of luxury, but he assures us that was not the case.
“This was not real life – I worked 14 hours a day and I wasn’t getting paid.”
I’m taking this all with a big old grain of salt, but his story is interesting.
Before filming, Lisa and Ken were like “family” to Cedric. He said Lisa:
“…has a very generous spirit and a very generous heart and when she heard my story, she felt like she wanted to protect me, so she welcomed me into the family… It was wonderful.”
So wonderful, that Cedric now complains that he was at the mercy of Lisa and Ken, totally dependent on them for his very existence—you know, since he wasn’t getting paid and all.
When Lisa secretly interviewed for the show, she told no one, but mentioned her gay “houseguest.” Cedric says:
“It piqued the interest of production, so she got a call back and they insisted that we do the audition together at the house.”
But by the time production called, almost a year later, Cedric and Lisa weren’t speaking. He’d moved out of the house. She called him, apologized “in her way” and asked him to pretend that he still lived with them.
According to Cedric, their argument centered on his failed relationship with Lance Bass. Cedric found Lance cheating on him, and broke it off. Lisa urged Cedric to stay with Lance because it would be good for business.
“I understand her thinking process because she has made a lot of sacrifices in her life and she chose a certain path over something else, and I wasn’t willing to do this.”
Cedric started dating a waiter from Villa Blanca. He says Lisa was incensed when she found out. So, he moved out of the house.
“She was very controlling – very, very controlling. She has her hands on everything. And this is how she becomes a success. She’s very smart, so clever.”
Cedric says he learned confidential things about Lisa that he has never revealed, and that’s the real reason she wanted him on the show with her—to keep him quiet.
“Before the show, I think, they felt threatened. Lisa, at the time, was a bit lonely. I’d been around her life for like 15, 16 years, so I became a confidante and she confided in me, and I was there for her and I loved her, and I still do. …She kind of opened up a lot more and I found out a lot more stuff – a lot more than I thought. Any marriages have their struggles, any friendship has their struggles. I’ve never divulged anything private.”
He hints that things were always roses and rosé between Lisa and Ken, but admits they are a force to be reckoned with.
“This is one thing about Ken and Lisa – despite whatever happened between them, they are an amazing team. They will stick together no matter what. Nothing could break them up. They have this force – and they will just crush anything that comes in front of them. And I was one of the casualties. I had seen that happen before with other friends of 30 year relationships, and her parents… ”
Cedric decided to put aside his grievances and sign up for the show. He was hoping to repair things with Lisa and Ken. He says Lisa was very anxious to show herself in a good light and gain more business for the restaurant.
He maintains that Lisa would rehearse lines and quips for the show. Also, she’d Google her castmates and try to find dirt as well as plant stories about them. But, he admits, all the other women did the same thing.
“[Lisa was] the director of season 1 – and she was amazing. And to be honest, and to be fair to her, it worked. She used to Google all the girls and see what kind of dirt she could find on them, so this is how all those stories were being generated…everybody was at it.”
He says the show soon started consuming her life.
“She’s an incredible woman. She’s smart, she’s so careful, she’s so rehearsed. She was so focused – it consumed anything and everything. There was no other conversation.”
But she was also trying to direct Cedric behind the scenes. She “flipped” when she found out he was still dating his waiter boyfriend. She demanded they breakup, and Cedric felt he had no choice but agree.
“I had to because I was relying on them for a lot of things: shelter, a VISA, money – cause I wasn’t getting any, I was completely broke. I had nowhere to go – going back to London was just not an option. So she really had me under her thumb.”
But he’d moved out on his own once before, no? Also, wasn’t he receiving at least a pittance from Bravo? Since he says he wasn’t being paid by Lisa and Ken, surely this was enough for him retain some kind of independence.
Cedric says Lisa warned him not to “outshine” her on the show. And she didn’t like that they were always paired up.
She insisted that Cedric talk about his childhood. This was all part of some elaborate plan. Later, she’d say he lied about his past, and she kicked him out.
When Cedric bucked at retelling his childhood tragedy, Lisa “went mad.” He finally agreed and told Kyle about eating cat food. He says he was very “uncomfortable” during the whole scene.
Cedric claims this was all a Machiavellian plot to oust him from their lives. They set him up and claimed he tried to blackmail them so that no one would ever believe him again. He got Vanderpumped, y’all!
“The producers are worth every penny they earn. They had this whole backstory without me knowing already figured out. …Because I trusted her I thought this was going to be a lotta fun. And everybody was so nice. I had no reason to doubt.”
But Cedric says he never lied about his childhood. Bravo did a thorough background check and had a “conference call” with his foster parents.
Cedric says he’s still in touch with some of the Housewives, but refuses to name names. He says they’ve finally seen Lisa’s “true colors.”
Cedric also insists he was friends with Taylor and Russell Armstrong. After his final split with Lisa, he would have secret lunches with them. He doesn’t think Taylor was abused, either.
“In front of me he never touched Taylor. No one saw, that’s all what she said. Maybe he was not a perfect husband. Maybe he had his demons – we all do.”
He says the show pushed Russell to kill himself.
“Of all the things I’ve seen on the show, what they’ve done to Russell – all the women pushing him under the bus to the point that he had no other option to hang himself – that for me is something that I could never forgive!”
Cedric claims that Russell came to him before he died and was terrified.
“The week before he hung himself he came to me, we were in Santa Monica, and he said, ‘Cedric – I don’t know what I’m gonna do – they’re coming after me like they came after you.’ But I did not hear [understand] what he was saying… He was scared.”
After he was booted from the show, Cedric says he had no place to live or work, he lost friends and opportunities.
“It made my life so impossible. I was pushed so hard that I did try to OD. It was just too much. For me, after where I come from, and I loved them so much; I trusted them so much and after what happened nobody wanted to hire me. I was even talking to Days Of Our Lives – that went down the drain. I would get disinvited to carpets – which is not a big deal, it’s just what it represents. I could not get work in a restaurant. I had no money!”
Somehow, Cedric made his way back to London and now works as a relationship manager at a global hospitality company. He’s also shopping a cooking reality show.
“Nothing’s happened with it yet, but I’m very hopeful! I do love showbiz, I’m not gonna lie about it, but I want make the right decision. I don’t want to be famous without something to back it up.”
He’s been asked to do other projects, such as Celebrity Big Brother UK. But Cedric turned all those shows down, because he doesn’t “want to be famous just to be famous.”
He does wish he could talk to Lisa and Ken one more time, away from the cameras, and get to the bottom of why they treated him so shabbily.
“I know that they know that what they’ve done is wrong. I understand why they did what they did, and I’m not mad at them, and I do love them.”
So, are you buying this sob story? It seems to me there are more holes in this tale than a golf course, but what’s your take?
I’m a fiction writer by day and a reality TV addict by night.