Real Housewives of Miami star Alexia Echevarria never ceases to drop word bombs in the most matter-of-fact ways.
Viewers of the rebooted reality show – which debuted late last year on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock – were shocked when the 54-year-old OG spoke openly about the rumors that had long plagued her 12-year marriage to her late ex-husband, Herman Echevarria.
The “Cuban Barbie” and well-known businessman decided to go their separate ways in 2015. Their divorce was finalized in 2016.
Herman died later that year, in a sense freeing Alexia to explore this idea that the man who had worshiped the ground she walked on and helped raise her two sons could have possibly lived his life as a closeted gay man.
In fact, it was during the currently airing season of RHOM that Alexia decided to seek out Herman’s alleged “lover,” who she was told even attended his funeral.
Though the man refused to appear on camera, Alexia told her co-stars that the two spoke for hours over the phone. It was a conversation, she said, that gave her closure but also made her sad.
Later on – at a Pride event honoring Alexia for her work in the LGBTQIA+ community – she dedicated her award to both Herman and her late father, who she revealed she had learned later on in life was also a closeted man.
However, during a recent interview, the reality star said she wanted to clarify that she believes both men were bisexual, not gay.
“I want to say that they were bisexual,” she said on the Behind The Velvet Rope with David Yontef podcast. “Yeah, I mean, that’s what their history shows, that they were bisexual. And I do believe in bisexuality, so yeah.”
Yontef asked Echevarria why she felt she had the authority to out two people who were not alive to tell their own stories. It’s a question previously posed by RHOM alum Lea Black, who flat-out trashed the move.
“There has to be more awareness and openness. If people would be more open with their hearts and with their minds then we wouldn’t live in this world that we do,” she explained. “Obviously, everybody’s going to have an opinion, but it is my story because all these things affected me. So it is my story.”
On the show, Alexia told her co-stars that Herman’s alleged boyfriend told her that the late businessman had no intention of ever being honest with her or anyone about his sexual orientation.
“I had to say my story because A.) there was always rumors. The girls brought it up in Season 3. It didn’t really happen like that, but it was rumored,” explained Alexia. “And B.) after he passed away, when the person’s no longer here, everybody starts talking.”
“But in my community, in the Cuban-American community here in Miami, a lot of people knew,” she revealed. “And it’s still a taboo [topic]. People want to act like, ‘oh it’s so cool’ or ‘we’re so open,’ and they’re all a bunch of liars.”
“But my heart has always been that I’ve always wanted to be an advocate,” she added, “and I’ve always wanted to help in any way.”
Echevarria also explained why she chose to open up about her late father, who – prior to Season 4 – was rarely mentioned.
“When I was being honored at Wynwood Pride, it made me think of my dad,” she said. “So it’s like, this is reality TV. You don’t know what you’re going to say. How are you going to act? So it is my story, you know? And I feel like people should be more open and more sensitive and compassionate … because I feel like it was very therapeutic and healing for me.”
She recalled feeling instant relief that was soon followed by immense pride.
“I grew up being ashamed, or you know, having my family protect me from knowing that my father was bisexual because they thought it was a bad thing,” she said. “Because if they thought it was a good thing, why didn’t they tell me? Why didn’t they tell me?”
Alexia said she knew the rumors about Herman would come up again when the show got a second wind, and she wanted to make sure it wasn’t done in an “ugly” or nasty” way.
“You know how these shows are – if you don’t say your story and your narrative, somebody else will,” she told David, pointing to an outburst made by her co-star, Adriana de Moura, who announced at a cast dinner that she’d heard a rumor that Herman died while having sex with his alleged lover.
“Look what Adriana said in the middle of the sushi dinner, what she had heard at the funeral,” said Alexia. “I can control what comes out of my mouth, but I can’t control what’s going to come out of yours. So I’m happy that I got to share it the way that it really is, the way that I really feel it, the way that I really wanted it, because it wasn’t to badmouth him or to make fun of this or anything like that. It came from love, and it came from a good place. … I needed to speak about this, and it’s something that was important to me. So that’s why I shared it.”
The only thing Alexia regrets is not being given the opportunity to tell Herman she loved him for exactly who he was.
“We were separated, but you know, I wanted him to trust, like I wanted him to know that it was OK. Like, ‘I still admire and respect and love you. This is never going to change our relationship,'” she told David. “And I never had the moment to do that. You know what I mean? I wish I would’ve had that moment because I know he thinks he was all alone, like with nobody’s support. So I’m just unhappy about that. But I got to have that moment with this boyfriend.”
As for why she thinks Herman’s alleged lover felt comfortable discussing the topic with her, she remarked, “I think it might be a cultural thing, or like, you know, he’s a young guy. Herman was older.”