Margaret Josephs, Kyle Richards, more ‘Housewives’ hit back at Leah McSweeney’s ‘disgusting’ Andy Cohen claims

“Real Housewives” heavyweights are hitting back at Leah McSweeney’s claims against Bravo honcho Andy Cohen and the franchise at large.

Page Six spoke exclusively with Margaret Josephs, Kyle Richards Heather Dubrow and Meghan King, each of whom felt compelled to defend Cohen’s character after the former “Real Housewives of New York City” star leveled a myriad of accusations at him in a lengthy lawsuit — including alleged cocaine use with his favorite employees — all of which he has categorically denied.

“I just want to also say about the cocaine allegations, Andy has never offered me cocaine. I am friends with every ‘Housewife.’ He has never offered any ‘Housewife’ cocaine,” insists Josephs, 56, a staple on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

“Those allegations are nothing but to assassinate his character and that is disgusting,” she continues. “I’ve never seen Andy do anything like that, so I am appalled that someone would just go so low to assassinate and target someone’s character in that way.”

Leah McSweeney
The former “Real Housewives of New York City” star leveled a myriad of accusations at Cohen — including alleged cocaine use with his favorite employees — that he has categorically denied. leahmob/Instagram
Leah McSweeney
McSweeney’s “Housewife” tenure lasted only two seasons with one stint on Peacock’s “Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.” Getty Images for Mythical Games

Following the allegations, a rep for Cohen told Page Six, “The claims against Andy are completely false.”

“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” OG Richards, 55, notes that, of all Bravolebrities, she is among the closest to Cohen — and has never seen him indulge in any illicit activities.

“I’ve never seen Andy do drugs, offer drugs or do anything inappropriate ever, ever,” she tells Page Six. “And I’m one of the closer ones to Andy.”

Despite their close bond, Richards notes that Cohen keeps a safe distance between himself and the dozens of “Housewives” hired by Bravo.

“There’s a reason he doesn’t follow any of them on Instagram. He likes to keep somewhat of a distance from all of them. He’s professional,” the “Halloween” actress says. “That’s been my experience.”

In addition to accusing Cohen of offering hard drugs to certain talent and handing out special professional favors to them, McSweeney, 41, claimed that Cohen, 55, and Bravo preyed on her alcohol issues in an attempt to generate favorable ratings and even facilitated a work environment that turned a blind eye to sexually predatory behavior.

Margaret Josephs and Andy Cohen
“Those allegations are nothing but to assassinate his character and that is disgusting,” Margaret Josephs tells Page Six. therealmargaretjosephs/Instagram
Kyle Richards
“I’ve never seen Andy do drugs, offer drugs or do anything inappropriate ever, ever,” Richards says. “And I’m one of the closer ones to Andy.” Todd Williamson/Bravo

“The Andy Cohen that I know is nothing but professional and funny. I have only had positive interactions. He has been nothing but warm and inviting,” Josephs emphatically states.

“I have never been in a situation of partying with him like what Leah is saying. He has only been the utmost professional and he champions everyone’s behavior in the way that they want to be portrayed.”

Notably, Josephs does not drink but is not an alcoholic. Her aversion to imbibing — which stems from growing up in a household with a mother who had a penchant for partying  — has been heavily highlighted on camera since joining the reality series in 2017’s Season 8, but “never exploited,” she says.

“Production has never pressured me, never offered me cocktails or anything like that. They actually are very accommodating to me. They give me water. They give me iced tea. In shot glasses, if everyone’s having a shot, they’ll put water in my shot glass,” the entrepreneur, who has launched a line of sparkling mocktails called Soirée, shares.

“They’ve incorporated the fact that I don’t drink into the show and I think that’s what’s been so great about it. They accommodate everybody’s lifestyle choices and don’t pressure anybody to do anything that they don’t want to do.”

Heather Dubrow
Heather Dubrow also spoke to Page Six in support of Cohen. Clifton Prescod/Bravo
Dr. Terry and Heather Dubrow
The “Real Housewives of Orange County” star, pictured here with husband Dr. Terry Dubrow, has been part of the Bravo-verse for more than a decade. Zuma /

Richards, for her part, says she “felt very supported” by Cohen and Bravo when she decided to ditch alcohol shortly before cameras went up for “RHOBH” Season 13.

“We’ve never been made to feel like we have to drink, never not one time,” she says. “And I have not been drinking now a year and eight months and I’ve had nothing but support from both the production company and the network.”

“RHONJ” and “RHOBH” are produced by Sirens Media and Evolution Media, respectively, while “RHONY” — the iteration McSweeney starred on for Seasons 12 and 13 from 2020 until 2021 — is produced by Shed Media. Cohen is an executive producer on all U.S. versions of the show, which currently spans eight stateside cities and one Middle East-set edition in Dubai.

Dubrow, 55 — a stalwart of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” which, like “RHOBH,” is produced by Evolution — says she has never felt forced to indulge in ways that don’t align with her authentic self, including excessive alcohol consumption.

Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, Emily Simpson, Gina Kirschenheiter and Heather Dubrow
“We’ve never been made to feel like we have to drink, never not one time,” says the “RHOC” staple (far right), responding to McSweeney’s claim that Cohen and Bravo preyed on her alcohol issues. Scott Gries/Bravo via Getty Images
Heather Dubrow, Gina Kirschenheiter and Jennifer Pedranti
The “Malibu Country” actress (far left) is disappointed by McSweeney’s host of claims, which she hopes doesn’t taint the “fun experience” of being a “Housewife.” Clifton Prescod/Bravo

“I have been involved in this franchise in one way or another for over 13 years and I, obviously, can only speak from my own experience but I have never, ever felt like anyone was trying to make me drink alcohol,” she says.

“I’ve never seen anyone else forced to drink alcohol. It’s never even been a conversation. I’ve always felt, honestly, very protected by the producers and by the crew.”

The “Malibu Country” actress is disappointed by McSweeney’s host of claims, which she hopes doesn’t taint the “fun experience” of being a part of the “Housewives” universe — a singular opportunity that includes frequent appearances on Cohen’s late-night show, “Watch What Happens Live.”

“I’ve been on ‘Watch What Happens Live’ a million times. I have never seen drugs, heard about drugs, nothing ever. And I’m a kid from the ‘80s, OK?” she says.

“I have never seen any of that. ‘Watch What Happens Live’ is such a fun experience. Yeah, we have a cocktail on the show. It’s fun, but there’s a drinking game always with a disclaimer: don’t drink and drive. It’s a fun experience. It’s sad it’s being brought down to this level. My experience has been nothing but positive.”

"Real Housewives of New York City" cast
McSweeney (far right) starred in two seasons of “RHONY” from 2020 until 2021. Sophy Holland/Bravo
Leah McSweeney and Dorinda Medley
The series was retooled with an entirely new cast following McSweeney’s departure after Season 13. Bravo

McSweeney became a “Housewife” shortly after breaking a years-long sobriety streak. When it was time to film her second and final season of “RHONY,” she had recommitted herself to abstaining from alcohol.

“Unfortunately for Leah, I guess part of her story is her sobriety and if she was willing to open her life up to the camera, she had to know that’s part of her journey,” says Dubrow, acknowledging that starring on reality TV can be a tough — but ultimately rewarding — gig.

“I’ll tell you, it’s stressful to be on ‘Real Housewives,’ for sure. There are stressful parts, there are parts that are annoying, there are parts that you don’t like, but parts that are really fantastic,” she elaborates. “It’s an incredible platform and we, as cast members, really get so much from it that, to me, the pros completely outweigh the cons.”

A major perk, Dubrow says, is the opportunity to develop not only a professional rapport with Cohen but a friendship as well.

“As far as Andy goes, again, I’ve known him for about 13 years and he’s always just been great. He’s not just the leader of the pack, he’s like an older brother,” she explains. “I’ve always felt comfortable calling him if I was upset about something, anything. He’s just always been really great.”

Leah McSweeney
McSweeney became a “Housewife” shortly after breaking a years-long sobriety streak. leamob/Instagram
Leah McSweeney
She recommitted to abstaining from alcohol in her second season. Leahmob/Instagram

Richards agrees, emphasizing that Cohen has often touched base with her over the past year as she’s continued to mourn the death of her best friend, Lorene Shea — who died by suicide in May 2022 — and navigated her 2023 separation from husband Mauricio Umansky.

“Andy’s someone who, when he knows we’re going through a hard time, he will reach out say, ‘Are you OK? Checking in on you,’” she says. “He checked in a lot on me this last season because of everything I went through.”

Former Bravo star Meghan King — who held an orange on “RHOC” from 2013 until 2015 — says she noticed Cohen’s consideration of others when she appeared on “WWHL” with current “Orange County” star Gina Kirschenheiter in July 2023.

When a chance arose that now-sober Kirschenheiter, 39, could have been given an alcoholic shot — due to the mistake of a production assistant who readied the Clubhouse’s famed “shot ski” — Cohen stepped in, King, 39, recalls.

“There was confusion with the ‘shot ski’ and a production assistant had accidentally switched my shot with Andy’s,” she tells us.

A selfie of Meghan King
“RHOC” alum Meghan King tells Page Six she has seen Cohen respect talent’s relationship with alcohol. meghanking/Instagram
Gina Kirschenheiter and Meghan King
King says the “Watch What Happens Live” host made sure Gina Kirschenheiter, who is now sober, wasn’t served any alcohol on his late-night show last year. Charles Sykes/Bravo

“Andy was concerned because Gina does not drink alcohol, and told the production assistant in front of the whole live audience how that could never happen again, especially with a sober person as a guest.”

Richards — who gave up drinking as she adopted a healthier lifestyle, not because of alcoholism — received such care during a recent “WWHL” taping, too.

“At ‘Watch What Happens Live,’ Andy made a point to say, ‘We have water here but I don’t know if you even want to take a drink out of the “shot ski” because even though it’s water, for you, I don’t know if it’s the look you would want,’” she recounts. “He was very considerate of me about that.”

Richards tells Page Six that she doesn’t understand McSweeney’s decision to go after Cohen after she chose to partake in Peacock’s “Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” Season 3, which aired earlier this year — following her allegedly bad experience filming “RHONY.”

“She did the show and then she also went on ‘Ultimate Girls Trip,’ so if it was that horrible, you chose to do another season of a spinoff, which is interesting to me,” she muses.

Kyle Richards
Richards — who gave up drinking as she adopted a healthier lifestyle, not because of alcoholism — received such care during a recent “WWHL” taping, too. Instagram/@kylerichards
Full length shot of Brandi Glanville, in sheer skirt, and Andy Cohen embracing with "What What Happen Live" backdrop.
McSweeney’s lawsuit came to light not long after Brandi Glanville accused Cohen of sexual harassment; an allegation he has also denied. NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The longtime diamond holder is also curious about the intention behind “RHOBH” alum Brandi Glanville’s recent accusation of sexual harassment against Cohen, an allegation he has denied. Cohen, though, has since apologized publicly for making an “inappropriate” joke “meant in jest” during a 2022 phone exchange involving “Below Deck” alum Kate Chastain.

“It’s so unfair to do this, something like this to someone like Andy,” says Richards. “Especially when they were getting something out of it, it seemed to be working for them.”

A vast portion of viewers maintain a similar opinion, expressing as much in fervid social media posts since McSweeney and Glanville’s allegations came to light. (Meanwhile, the latter has expressed support for the former via social media, declaring that it is “time to take our power back.”)

“Why does it seem everybody is gunning for Andy Cohen all of a sudden?!?” one person asked in an Instagram comment, while another added, “Is anyone taking accountability for their own behavior lately?”

Like Josephs, Richards, Dubrow and King, fellow Bravo personalities Kandi Burruss, Chanel Ayan, Dorinda Medley, Luann de Lesseps, Cynthia Bailey, Guerdy Abraira and Golnesa “GG” Gharachedaghi, among others, have spoken out in Cohen’s defense.

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