When Fox's "Stars In Danger: The High Dive" premieres, audiences will see Kyle Richards and Kim Richards, sisters and cast members on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," in a very new light.
Kim said she signed up to learn how to dive like an Olympian to get closer to her sister. The two-hour reality special will see Kim, Kyle, "Jersey Shore" veteran JWoww, "Baywatch" stars David Chokachi and Alexandra Paul, Bethany Hamilton, Terrell Owens and Antonio Sabator Jr. compete in a diving competition.
Kim and Kyle have had their ups and downs on "Real Housewives," but there was no sibling rivalry on "Stars in Danger." "It was really neat -- the support system we had for each other," Kim said. "Where we come out of this at the end, really our relationship is strengthened above and beyond where I think it's ever been. It's really awesome."
While the two may have bonded, they didn't escape unscathed. Both Kim and Kyle said they have avoided swimming since they finished shooting.
"I've had my fill for the rest of my life," Kyle said about future diving plans. "I said to Kim, 'I think I'm going to fill my pool and turn it into a roller derby or something.' I don't even want to look at my pool."
Kim, who said she used to take nightly swims, said she's having nightmares. "I'm so over it ... I wake up and I have nightmares with me standing at the edge of the pool, getting ready to go out and do a back dive. I don't want to think about it anymore, I'm going to therapy now. Gosh, leave me alone!"
Why did you say yes to "Stars in Danger"?
Kyle: I have no flipping clue.
Kim: Because I thought it would be a good idea, after everything we've been through on "Housewives" the last couple of years, for my sister and I to spend some quality time. I've been trying to nail her down to go to lunch or a massage, just some special time and I couldn't. So, I thought when this came around, "Great, some quality time with my sister and I, just us without all the 'Housewives.' Perfect time." That's how we nailed it down.
Do you think a show like this helps your relationship?
Kyle: It's absolutely helped our relationship.
Kim: Above and beyond.
Kyle: We were together every single day, training together, facing fears, emotional and physical challenges. We really had to support each other to get through this and it was a very positive experience for the two of us.
Are either one of you afraid of heights?
Kyle: Yes, very, very, very afraid and it was very difficult. You'll see how difficult it was for me. The hardest part for me was the heights.
Kim: And the thing was with me -- she knew she was afraid of heights. I never knew because I had never been put in that situation. When we got there and she was afraid of heights, I was like, "Kyle, it's OK. Watch me, I'll go up. Watch me, you'll be fine." So, I kept getting up and doing the dives and showing her it'd be OK, but what I didn't realize was I was really afraid. I didn't know it until it was over. I was too busy trying to get her over her hump that it wasn't until it was over that I realized that's why my feet wouldn't move.
Kyle: Then I would be like, "Kim, you can, you can!"
Kim: When it was all said and done and over, I came home and right when I got home I had flashbacks the entire time of every moment when I couldn't do it. I've had post-traumatic diving stress almost every day since we've been home.
Have you ever had one of those dreams or the feeling when you're about to fall asleep that you're falling and you snap awake?
Kyle: That's what would happen when I'd go to bed at night. I'd dream about the diving. We had to work on the form and get over the fear. Then there was the whole bathing suit issue on top of everything else. [Laughs.]
What did your families think when you said you were going to do this show?
Kyle: Our sister Kathy thought it was great. She said, "You guys are going to have fun, it's going to be a great experience." My husband -- he's such an athlete -- he was like, "This is awesome, I love it. I'm going to be so proud of you." Then when I couldn't even get to the end of the diving board, I was like, "This is really embarrassing."
Kim: My kids were so proud. Oh my gosh. They would come home and they'd see my video and they'd be like, "Mom, you did that? Oh mom, we're so proud. You're amazing mom, blah blah." I'm so glad I did it.
Did you get along with the other cast members?
Kyle: Oh yeah, we made such great friends. They were amazing, everybody ... I looked at Kim and said, "This is the closest we'll ever get to the Olympics. Let's just pretend we're in the Olympics right now."
Kim: I felt like we were! I really felt like it.
Was it different being around cameras without the other "Housewives" around?
Kyle: Oh 100 percent. It was a completely different dynamic.
Kim: It was just nice. It was nice to have my sister and me, just together and just focusing on us. At the end of the day, when there was something going on and she was scared and needed me or I was scared and needed her, it was just the two of us at the edge of a diving board. When she looked over and she looked frightened, it was she and I out there. She needed me and I was there, I needed her and she was there. It was just us. We depended on each other. It was just what we needed. It was perfect. It was a lot of rebuilding.
When you guys watch "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," is it hard to see the fighting? Like last night, Kyle was upset about the party in Vegas. Is that tough to watch?
Kyle: I didn't watch. When we were filming "Stars in Danger," there were a few things that came out [on "Real Housewives"] and I was like, "Really?" It happens with all of them. They say something in an interview and it's designed to hurt you or make you look bad ... That's the biggest challenge for us -- that's why it's so hard for the relationship to ever heal or get past the problems. For this, I just said to myself, "I don't care what happens on 'Housewives' or what one of us has said. I don't want it to affect the progress we've made in our relationship in doing 'Stars in Danger.'"
This season on "Housewives," the main drama seems to be about a topic that viewers don't know, in relation to Brandi and Adrienne. Do you find that strange?
Kyle: Yeah, it's difficult for us. I defended Adrienne and then the audience doesn't exactly know what happens. They don't have a complete picture, which doesn't do Adrienne or those of us who defended her any service because the audience doesn't know.
Will we get more clues as the season goes along?
Kyle: I'm not sure. That hasn't obviously been our choice. When it was first said, I thought, "Please, that shouldn't be out there. No one should talk about this." I thought once it was, at least let's be honest so people can see exactly what's going on. That wasn't ultimately our choice.
"Stars In Danger: The High Dive" premieres Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. EST.