Monday, July 22

Candiace Dillard teases ‘pivotal’ talk with Ashley Darby that mended their friendship after ‘RHOP’ brawl

Candiace Dillard and Ashley Darby aren’t letting other people’s drama impede a future friendship.

Despite an explosive off-camera brawl that broke out between their pals amid production for Season 8 of “The Real Housewives of Potomac,” Dillard, 36, and Darby, 35, chose not to halt any progress made to repair their once-fractured dynamic.

“The fight happened at the very end of filming,” the “Drive Back” singer tells Page Six in an exclusive interview.

“And we actually had a really pivotal and important conversation about that at the finale. It gave me a lot of respect for Ashley.”

Dillard says that Darby’s contrite demeanor over the situation reminded her that she was raised by a “good woman” — her mother, Sheila, whom Dillard is a big fan of.

Candiace Dillard walks in front of Ashley Darby as they are seen out together in Los Angeles.
The singer teases that she and Darby had “a really pivotal and important conversation” about an explosive fight that broke out between their friends off-camera.
GC Images

“It was like, ‘OK, Sheila raised you. She raised you right,’” the former pageant queen raves over Darby’s mom. “I love Sheila.”

Dillard and Darby, for their part, have clashed over a myriad of issues. Arguably inciting the most ire among the pair, however, was the mom of two’s defense of Dillard’s nemesis and “RHOP” alum Monique Samuels in 2020’s Season 5.

“We have both had a lot of growth over the years,” the “Insecure” singer says of her evolved relationship with Darby.

Ashley Darby in a green dress.
“It gave me a lot of respect for Ashley,” Dillard tells Page Six of her one-on-one with the mom of two.
Ashley Darby/Instagram

“There is a mutual respect there that you kind of see us go through and talk through [this upcoming season].”

Toward the end of filming this summer, TMZ released video footage that showed the main “RHOP” cast breaking up a fight between Dillard, Dr. Wendy Osefo’s pal Keiana Stewart and Darby’s friend Deborah Williams.

The incident took place in July after filming wrapped at Zebbie’s Garden in Washington, D.C. The group had been celebrating the launch of Darby and co-star Gizelle Bryant’s GnA activewear line.

The cast of "RHOP."
Dillard (third from left) says that a “mutual respect” between her and Darby (second from right) will be more apparent than ever in the next “RHOP” installment.
Clifton Prescod/Bravo via Getty Images

A police report obtained by the outlet revealed that Stewart and Williams’ verbal spat turned physical after a drink was thrown at one of the women.

Dillard and Darby could be seen intervening to stop the women from throwing more liquid — or blows — at one another.

It wasn’t long before the two met to discuss the matter one-on-one, Dillard tells us.

A selfie of Deborah Williams.
Deborah Williams, Darby’s pal who was involved in the scuffle, previously perpetuated infidelity rumors about Dillard’s husband, Chris Bassett.
deborah_williamsss/Instagram

“It’s a horrible turn of events and it’s unfair,” she states, suggesting that Darby readily agreed with her. “And we shouldn’t have to be subjected to that kind of calculated violence and evil because somebody was not raised right.”

While it isn’t clear where the conflict began, Darby said during Page Six’s Sept. 7 “Virtual Reali-Tea Live!” podcast taping that she decided to distance herself from Williams following the outburst.

“I’ve made my stance on violence pretty clear and I’ve maintained that and even though, like, I love Deborah as a person and I know her as a mom; that’s how we met each other,” she said at the time.

Ashley Darby in a mini dress.
Darby revealed at Page Six’s Sept. 7 “Virtual Reali-Tea Live!” podcast taping that she was “taking some space” from Williams after the incident.
Dave Allocca / StarPix

“I didn’t agree with that action, so we’re taking some space.”

Dillard is relieved to hear that Darby is pressing pause on a friendship with Williams, who previously perpetuated infidelity rumors about Dillard’s husband, Chris Bassett, while filming as a “friend of” the cast for “RHOP” Season 7.

“It just shows me that in spite of all of the tumult and the drama and not agreeing all the time or seeing eye to eye that Ashley has a moral compass, or somewhat of a moral compass,” Dillard notes.

Candiace Dillard
Dillard says she “appreciated” Darby for taking a step back from a friendship with someone who caused her family pain.
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

“I appreciated that she felt the weight of what it meant to take a break from someone who meant intentional harm on not just me but our entire group.”

Dillard believes that Williams’ attack was meant for her, not Stewart — who happened to be standing in the way of Dillard, as seen in the clip, and sustained what appeared to be a forceful jab from Williams.

“You see how it happened. That monster was meant for me,” she says of Williams, whom she infamously dubbed “Sesame Street” on the Bravo reality show.

Candiace Dillard and Chris Bassett kissing.
The “Insecure” singer and Bassett tied the knot in August 2018.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“It was meant for me and Keiana just so happened to step in the way, I think, in an instinctual way to protect me.”

Prior to the discord, though, Dillard says that the “RHOP” ladies — including herself, Darby, Osefo, 39, Bryant, 53, Karen Huger, Robyn Dixon, Mia Thornton and newbie Nneka Ihim — had “a lot of good times” while filming the forthcoming installment.

Dillard even credits Darby with being “the fun one” of the bunch.

The cast of Season 8 of "RHOP."
“RHOP” Season 8 stars Dr. Wendy Osefo, Mia Thornton, Dillard, Karen Huger, Gizelle Bryant, Darby, Robyn Dixon and Nneka Ihim.
Jai Lennard/Bravo via Getty Images

“She hosted one of our trips this season, and she always brings it. She has the activities and the props and the party favors and she can be good at bringing people together when she’s not good at being chaotic,” she says with a laugh.

“It’s a really, really good season. There were a lot of bright spots in it. I’m really happy with the growth in certain friendships and I’ve focused on that.”

“The Real Housewives of Potomac” Season 8 premieres Sunday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.