Lisa Barlow worried she was being recorded by Monica Garcia amid filming on the fourth season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City last year.
During a couple of new interviews, Lisa, 49, reflected on the drama Monica, 40, brought to season four due to her involvement with the Reality Von Tease troll account on Instagram and looked ahead to the upcoming fifth season, which she claims will be “iconic” and potentially their “best [season] ever.”
Although Lisa and Monica were friendly when season four began, things quickly turned for the worst between them, with the ladies sparring over Lisa’s age and Monica’s treatment of her mom, Linda.
In fact, after Monica made “derogatory” statements about Lisa that didn’t air, which Lisa credits to a “nice edit,” Lisa feared Monica was recording her.
“The first time we talked on the phone, I asked her if she was recording me,” Lisa recalled during a February 9 interview with Distractify. “And it’s just a hard situation when you’re already in a fishbowl, and everybody’s watching everything you’re doing, and everything’s up for subjective thought. To have to worry about someone recording your conversations or driving by your house, or you know, not giving you a break. We never got a break, and we never got to move on as a cast. From everything we dealt with like everything going on in Jen Shah‘s life and the departure of Jen Shah.”
While it was announced that Monica would not return to season five following the reveal of her IG account tactics against Jen, 50, and other members of the show, Lisa feels that if she’d been honest, things may have ended differently.
“It was kind of hard because I’m like, ‘You lead with deceit,’” Lisa said. “’Like, you pretend to be an open book.’ You are like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna tell the world what I want them to know what I think they’re gonna find out anyway,’ but she kept the real stuff to herself.”
“Like when we were at the reunion, I said to Andy, ‘If she really wanted to be our friend and really wanted to be a part of this, she would have led the running of this account.’ And that could have been a whole other way to it,” she continued.
According to Lisa, Monica’s “pause” was necessary because the scandal put the cast “in a situation where none of us could move forward.”
“We’ve already dealt with so much like when do we have boundaries?” she added. “When do we put up boundaries? And I think Bravo made that decision for everyone when they put her on freeze or pause. I don’t remember which name they used.”
During another interview, Lisa mentioned the show’s upcoming fifth season, which will reportedly include new cast members Britani Bateman and Meili Workman.
“I feel like this year might be our best year ever, just based on what I’ve seen and heard and how things are going so far,” Lisa told PEOPLE on February 8. “I actually think it’s going to be the most iconic season ever.”
Although some fans have wondered how the cast will top the drama of season four, Lisa reminded skeptics, “Every single year we bring it.”
As for the potential new additions, Lisa noted, “Utah is home to so many interesting dynamic people.”
“I think what makes a show so good is when you stay vulnerable, the issues are still real,” she added. “We always have someone new coming to mix things up, but then there’s still other issues that surface from the year prior that you have to address. So I feel like just based on what I’ve experienced, I think the season’s going to be, ‘Wow,’ in a totally different way.”
According to Lisa, the new season will be “non-dark” and “fun, funny” way.
“I just feel like we’re going to blow everybody away again. And I think, just like with Salt Lake, I think just when you think you’ve seen everything, there’s always more,” she teased.
Lisa and her castmates certainly “need closure” from Monica’s season four betrayal, but Lisa believes they will be able to move forward on season five, despite Monica not being included.
“The [season 4] reunion gave us some closure where we’re like, ‘OK, this is what it’s like to film with Monica.’ So now the world saw it. She yells out these jeers, says insults, and then gets quiet and then makes herself the victim,” she said, suspecting Monica “learned from Jen and Jen’s tactics.”
“I feel like [season five is] where we’re going to get to really elevate and be free of that point in our life that we really want to move on from,” Lisa added. “I don’t want to think about the Feds, Homeland Security, and PD showing up anymore. It’s not interesting anymore. We’ve been there, did that.”