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After watching Luann de Lesseps on The Real Housewives of New York City for eight seasons, we didn't think there was anything we didn't know about the Countess. Turns out we were wrong. During Bravo's Before They Were Housewives special, we got an entirely different look at Luann and her life before Housewives.
1. She was an Italian TV star.
Luann moved to Milan to try her hand at modeling. After winning a beauty pageant and being named Lady Universe, Luann eventually made her way into television and starred on a show called Pressing. She was once even asked to impersonate Sharon Stone at an awards show.
2. She was good friends with Honeychile Wilder.
Originally named Patricia Wilder, Honeychile was an actress in the 1930s who got her start as a showgirl for Bob Hope. She was there when Luann first met Alex, but once she saw that the two were going to settle down, she tried to destroy the relationship.
3. Luann and the Count had a whirlwind romance.
It seemed like things moved quickly between Luann and her now-fiance Tom, but that was nothing in comparison to her relationship with the Count. During the special, Luann admitted she had been living with someone for two years when she met Alex and two weeks later they were engaged. Even more surprising is how Luann and Alex got married. Instead of a lavish, royal wedding, the two opted to elope in New York City Hall while wearing jeans.
4. She had a near-death experience.
While living in Switzerland, Luann got into a terrible car accident while driving with her two children, then ages four and two. The country road they were driving down was iced over, and the car slid sideways down a moutain. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the incident led her to have a prolonged bout of post-traumatic stress disorder.
5. She left behind a fairytale life for something more.
After 10 years of living in a beautiful chalet in Switzerland, Luann was ready to get back to New York and go to work. She also describes this time as the beginning of the end of her marriage to Alex.