The newest Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member opens up about growing up in L.A. and her wedding to Rob Minkoff.
Fans are just getting to know Crystal Kung Minkoff during Season 11 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She might be the newest 'Wife on the 90210 block, but the Los Angeles native and Real Coco entrepreneur is not quite unfamiliar with the ins and outs of show business. Her brother, Jeffrey Kung, is a pop star in China, and her husband, Rob Minkoff, is well, you know, the director of The Lion King, among other high-profile film and TV projects.
Still, Hollywood stardom and living her life in front of the cameras wasn't something that Crystal ever really imagined for herself.
"Never. Never occurred to me. It was not, like, on our radar. I grew up in a very traditional Chinese household. My brother was gonna work in finance and I was gonna be a surgeon, and that was sort of our path. So then he becomes a pop star, and then I end up here. So, I don’t even know what happened, where we went off the rails. But we are definitely the, you know, in a great way, the black sheep of our sort of extended family. They always laugh, like, 'What happened to you guys,' you know?" Crystal recently joked in an interview with Bravo Insider.
Though, Crystal did grow up around other people who wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry. "I grew up in the Valley, and we had definitely kids who were actors in our class, parents. So, you notice that and it’s cool, but just because you see it, doesn’t mean that you’re in it. You only see Hollywood if you’re in Hollywood. You know? So, I’d always see it kind of peripherally, but it was only until I was with Rob to sort of jump into it in a sort of more — a deeper way, you know?" Crystal said. "And once I was with Rob, you’re like, wow. It’s not — it’s glamorous, for sure, and there’s a lot of perks and fun, but these people work really hard. It is a hard business. But it’s a very small business. There’s a lot of camaraderie, especially with Rob and animation. He’s best friends with all the guys that have done [The Little] Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. It’s a little club that they have."
In fact, a younger Crystal wouldn't even know how to react to the fact that she's a member of the cast of RHOBH these days. "My 20-year-old self would just laugh and walk away like, 'You’re a liar [laughs]. Yeah, right,'" she said. "But honestly, actually, I don’t even know. The concept was so foreign that it just couldn’t even have been in my brain then, you know? But I would say, you know, just be humble, be yourself, be kind, and you’ll be OK. That’s what I would say."
So about taking unconventional paths, on a recent episode of RHOBH, Crystal shared a job she had as a teen. "I worked at an escort agency. However, I wasn't an escort. I was the operator, I was 18 years old," she told the cast, noting it was before college (she went to University of California, Irvine, where she studied Biology and History). In an interview featured on the show, Crystal said, "I only worked there for a summer, but I grew up pretty quickly that summer."
Speaking of Rob, he and Crystal met back in 2003. She shed some light on the early days of their relationship to Bravo Insider:
"We met at a birthday party. He was filming a movie, and it was at a studio. He was hosting a party for a friend. And our first date was the Finding Nemo premiere. So, that was sort of like, he went all out. But for him, it was a premiere and it’s work; he goes and he sees, he supports his friend, but for me, it was like, wow, a premiere, you know? So, that was really fun. And I’d never been to one, but we also [had] a really sort of easy [time] dating. But I was in school still. So, he wasn’t ready to commit to me until after because he knew that I could’ve potentially left to whatever, [leave] California, and gone to medical school. So, we just sort of laid low. But we were always very connected early and then, gosh, our wedding. We got married about five years into dating. So, we waited a while. And we waited five more years till we had kids. So, it was important we spend a lot of time together."
So, about that wedding, well, Crystal shared all. "We had a big wedding. The first part, it was just very him. I always say Rob was born in the wrong era. He should’ve been born in the '40s. So, it was a very kind of art deco thing. And then the second half was, 1930s China. We really incorporated our cultures and backgrounds and loves together," she said. "It was over-the-top. Too much, actually. I think back and I’m like, oh, that money could’ve gone somewhere else. But, you know what? When you’re young, you wanna have a big wedding. And that was the era, you know?"
Fans may be wondering what Crystal was up to in the years before she joined RHOBH. The busy mom revealed, "I’m a mom of two, and a wife of this kind of awesome person, and I started my coconut water company eight years ago with my brother and my best friend. So, that’s really sort of been my primary focus other than having my kids. So we developed that [coconut] product, and it’s sort of grown into something that we always dreamt of, you know? And then I had kids, and I do drop off and pick up and after school classes. I tend to be the one to host everything. I love having everyone here and all the kids and my girlfriends, and I live this very kind of normal but active life."
She added, "We travel a lot. Something I love is when Rob’s on a film, we get to go with him. If I could leave for a year, we [would] just do it. We’ll just get up and go."
Want more RHOBH? New episodes air every Wednesday at 8/7c or catch up on the Bravo app.