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The Wild Life of Harry Hamlin, the ‘Real Housewives’ Husband Whose Divorce Lawyer ‘Is on Speed Dial’

Picture Harry Hamlin, L.A. Law star—and latterly Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband—as a momentarily terrified accomplice to a Hell’s Angel biker in a California forest cloaked in darkness.

He was 18. It was 1970. He had grown up wanting to be an architect and intended to study environmental design at UC Berkeley. He had set off to register for classes there.

En route, at a party, he met a girl whose family had built a cluster of beautifully constructed treehouses in La Honda, California. State troopers and rangers had just evicted a group of hippies, Hell’s Angels, and members of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters from the structures. Now that they were vacated, she, Hamlin, and a group of others went to see them. 

“We cooked spaghetti around the fire, had wine, had a guitar, sang songs, and then,” Hamlin recalled, “we heard a huge roar in the forest clearing. It was a Hell’s Angel on a Harley Davidson, a big guy with a beard. “Hey, anybody got a wrench?’ he said. “We were all terrified. We were just kids going to college for the first time.”

Hamlin had a wrench in his toolbox. The imposing biker took Hamlin to one of the treehouses and started whacking one of its drainage pipes with the wrench. “Out comes a huge package of blue pills,” Hamlin recalled. ‘“The cops came last week and we had to throw this shit down the sink,’ the guy said. ‘Thanks for the wrench, now open your mouth.’ Whatever those blue pills were, let’s just say for the next two days I was otherwise engaged, tripping off my face. I spent a couple of days in the ferns with the butterflies.”

Hamlin did eventually get to Berkeley, but was too late to sign up for its environmental design school. Instead, he enrolled in its drama program and planned to return to environmental design later. But part of his course was having to audition for plays. Good reviews led to bigger roles, and so his life course was reset—“until my sophomore year, when I got kicked out of Berkeley for running a brothel, even though I wasn’t officially kicked out, and I wasn’t running a brothel.” 

Hamlin, now 68, laughed at how absurd that sounded, but he is the living embodiment of the saying “It’s always the quiet ones.” We met—him dressed all in black, lean, with a swooshing crown of salt and pepper hair—over a delicious lunch of (for him) iced tea, beef and barley soup, and chicken Milanese at Vice Versa restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. The wild tales had only just begun.

“I said to Lisa, ‘You can’t do this. Everybody who does that show gets divorced’”

Bravo viewers may see Hamlin shuffling around the background of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and think he is just a lovely, somewhat cerebral other half of premium firecracker Lisa Rinna, happily detached from the bitching and lunacy around him.