Kyle Richards announced on Saturday that her best friend Lorene Shea passed away on May 1 after a battle with mental illness. She was 52.
“I never thought I’d post something like this…this is my best friend Lorene…my best friend since I was 7 years old. My other half,” the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star captioned a series of photos on Instagram of the couple as children and adults.
Richards, 53, wrote that she and Shea “talked every day” and “did everything together,” from losing their baby teeth in elementary school to having their own babies.
“She was kind, thoughtful, funny, smart, beautiful, sentimental… The most important thing in the world for her was to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend (also dog mother),” she continued.
The Bravolebrity told her 3.8 million social media followers that Shea began suffering from debilitating depression “not too long ago.”
“She had always been a happy person. How did this happen?” she wrote. “Everyone who loved her gathered around her and did everything they could to help her. But the system is broken. The system made it impossible to give her the help she wanted. Last Sunday we lost Lorene. The system has failed her! The system has failed her loved ones who are now left in excruciating pain.”
Richards pledged “to do whatever it takes to try and change existing laws that prevent people from getting the help they need.”
She concluded her post, “I love you Lorene 💔 🙏 Rest in peace. Keep her and her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers,” and added several mental health hashtags.
The half-sister of the ‘Halloween’ actress and ‘RHOBH’ co-star Kathy Hilton wrote in the comments section that she was “speechless” at the loss.
“I loved her very much, such a sweet, happy person. I just can’t believe it,” added Hilton, 63. “I know how lost you feel eel [sic] know now what a wonderful friend and sister you were to her and she will always be with you. She will be your guardian angel. I love you so much and it breaks my heart to see you suffer. All you can do is be there for children and family and pray. .”
“Real Housewives” including Cynthia Bailey, Dina Manzo, Melissa Gorga, Garcelle Beauvais and Crystal Kung Minkoff also sent their love.
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues discussed in this story, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).