Carole Radziwill let viewers of Real Housewives of New York City into the depths of her heart last week when she returned to London to pick up the ashes of her late husband, Anthony Radziwill, from a church in London. And despite getting some backlash, the “The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating” author has no regrets about letting the cameras follow her on her emotional journey.
OK! Magazine caught up with Carole following the emotional episode about why she chose to film the very personal moment, how she feels after it aired and how bringing along co-star Dorinda Medley, whose husband is also deceased, helped the process.
OK!: The past episode was a trip back in time, and back to your old life. Looking back, what was it like to go back to that experience and have go back to London to go through all of that?
Carole: “This was definitely not something I would ever imagine having to do. I was very nervous. I was very hesitant to go over and film it for the reality show. When I got the initial email and I was told the church had been sold and the urn at the church had been moved around from place to place, because they couldn’t find me for a while, which is crazy! Someone finally Googled me and got the email address for my website. So random.”
OK!: The place you went to on the show was not the original place you dropped him off at?
Carole: “No, it was not the original church because the land had been sold and they had been moving all the buildings off. Over the course of the year they’ve been moving things out. And it was 15 years ago and they didn’t know how to reach me. Yeah 15 years, we didn’t have cell phones. And I’ve moved five times since. It was shocking to get that email on my website.”
OK!: What was it like to have that urn back in your hands? You were so emotional.
Carole: “When I saw the urn, I was a little startled. At first I thought, that was 15 years ago, I have a whole different life, I’m very happy, and I think about my life with Anthony, it was filled with joy, and there’s no sadness integrated in my life. But seeing it then startled me a little bit because it brought me back to the moment when I first saw it when we were on the beach after his ceremony. After the church ceremony and we scattered some of his ashes at the beach behind his mom’s house where we got married, and then I saved some to eventually bring it to London where his father was buried. When I saw it I easily went back to that moment standing on the beach with his mom and that was a little heavier than I thought. But really wonderful. On the long car ride home, I was thinking about things, our life together, what has happened since, and here I am in London. I did get emotional because it was a lot to think about and I was being filmed, so that was stressful.”
OK!: Filming, some people have criticized you for having that filmed and putting that on TV. What made you decide to put it on TV?
Carole: “When I agreed to do the show, I made a promise that I would be true and do it with integrity and with everything that was happening in my life, I would show that. I’ve done that for 3 years and I think the viewers that know me well, know I don’t talk about my husband’s family or really my life with my husband on the show, and I haven’t for three years, and I wouldn’t have. It’s just something that seems private to me, and to be honest, it all just fell into place. I would never have talked about it because it was something that happened such a long time ago, and it’s something I wrote a book about and everything I want to say about that time in my life, I think I said in the book and I was happy with that. But life has a way of creating different plot twists and this came up and when I mentioned it, offhandedly to the producer of Bravo, I never in a million years thought they would want to cover it because it’s so un-Housewife-like. It’s nothing you’d ever seen on a Housewife show. I never thought they would be interested. When they came back to me and said they were interested, I said ‘no’ a couple of times, and I talked about it. Then thought, ‘Okay, this is happening in my life, I do have to get the urn and I did make a promise that I would do this.’ And also it’s a part of my story and if you’re going to be on a reality show and not show different parts of your life then why are you doing it?”
OK!: Are you happy you did it that way?
Carole: “Yeah. I have no regrets about doing it. I think it was handled beautifully. Bravo did tell me time and time again that they would treat it with grace and dignity that it deserves and that it was a different kind of story. And also, had Dorinda not been on the show and had Dorinda not been a widow, I might not have done it either. It was just a consulate of events: the fact that I got the email, the fact that we were filming at the time when I got the email, and the fact that I had to go to London to get the urn and then Dorinda who I didn’t know at all and you see on the show I was a little nervous to bring along, ended up being such a wonderful piece of it. And had that not that been in place, I don’t know if I would have had then go and had them film all by myself.”
OK!: You’re glad Dorinda went with you?
Carole: “Yeah. I was nervous and I’m sure she was too. We didn’t know each other that well but once we got there and started talking… I don’t know a lot widows, I don’t know really a lot of young widows. I was 34 at the time. And it was just nice and I talked about some things I haven’t told any of my closest friends.”
OK!: What have you done with the urn? Do you have it at your apartment?
Carole: “I do.”
OK!: Is it sitting by your bed?
Carole: “I have a shelf in my living room and there’s all sorts of beautiful objects on it and there’s a photo of my wedding, so that’s where it is. It doesn’t look like a shrine or anything. It actually looks like it completely belongs. It fits right in.”
OK!: How do you get along with your mother-in-law in real life?
Carole: “The good thing is it’s 15 years later and I still have a really beautiful relationship with his mom. And it’s something that, when you go through that, it’s something that bonds you in a way no one else can really understand. I really enjoy that. I really enjoy seeing her, spending some time in New York, some time in Paris. I adore her. She’s 81 or 82 now and she’s still as gorgeous as ever. And she adores me. We don’t talk about the show at all really, and she doesn’t watch it. So it’s all good. And there’s just a lot of love and respect. We still adore each other’s company. As for the show, we don’t sit around and talk about it. I think the only time she’s aware of it, is when we are out to dinner and someone comes over and says, ‘love you on the show.’”
Real Housewives of New York City airs on Bravo Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST.