Married actors Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna came on TODAY Tuesday to talk about their new reality-TV show, as well Rinna’s famous lips and their new books — but reality hit them right while they were appearing on live television.
The couple learned that Belle Gray, their clothing store in Sherman Oaks, Calif., had been burglarized, and reacted to the crime in real time while talking with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Having already spoken with Meredith Vieira earlier on the show, Rinna and Hamlin had returned to chat with Kotb and Gifford in the show’s fourth hour when the news came. Agitated and holding his cell phone, Hamlin told the anchors that he had been informed their store had been broken into just moments before they came on camera.
“Girls, I have to tell you I have to keep my cell phone on, because our clothing store is being robbed as we speak,” the actor said.
Only seconds later, Hamlin’s cell phone rang. “I’m getting the call right now to tell me what’s going on,” Hamlin told Kotb and Gifford, as Rinna exclaimed: “That’s real life, baby!”
“The store is being robbed?” Hamlin said into his phone. “They take much? They took piles from the first two racks, yes?” Looking up irritably from the phone, he told Kotb and Gifford: “And by the way, our alarm company was supposed to take care of this, and they did nothing, did nothing!”Video: Rinna, Hamlin learn of burglary on TV (on this page)
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Hamlin and Rinna got into the retail clothing business in 2003 when they opened Belle Grey in Sherman Oaks. They expanded to a second store in nearby Calabasas, but shuttered that store a year ago.
Hamlin ended his phone call, saying, “I’ll call you back because we’re on live TV right now. No one was hurt, and the police are coming.”
Police were inside the store when an Access Hollywood camera crew arrived a short time later. E! News reported that an estimated $10,000 in clothing was stolen, but the burglars who forced open the store's front door missed an expensive Chanel handbag and designer dresses worth much more.
"They only stole from the front of the store. We have Decades Two, and Chanel and Manolos (Blahnik) in here, but they didn't take any of that," store manager Rona Argana told E! "As soon as I got the alarm notification, I thought, ‘Shoot, it's because of the Chanel,' but literally they came in took whatever they could grab from the front and left."
Rinna noted on TODAY that the store had been burglarized twice previously. Referring to the couple’s new TV Land series “Harry Loves Lisa,” Hamlin said, “Our reality show is about all this stuff that happens all the time.”
News of the burglary overshadowed Rinna’s earlier revelation that she’s had that famous, artificially enhanced upper lip of hers reduced through cosmetic surgery.
The actress, 47, revealed to People magazine she underwent the surgery in August to reduce the pillowy upper lip she had injected with silicone on a whim back in 1986. In the couple’s first segment on TODAY Tuesday, she told Meredith Vieira, “I did it because I no longer wanted my lip to define me. I had never thought that you could do anything about it, and I found out there is something you can do. I had no idea you could reduce it, so I was like, ‘Yes! Let’s do it.’ ”
For years, celebrity magazines and Hollywood gossips speculated about Rinna’s upper lip. But the actress said she really took the heat after admitting in her 2009 memoir “Rinnavation” that she indeed had silicone injected into her upper lip on a lark.Video: Lisa Rinna reduces famously large lips (on this page)
“I think naivete is bliss,” she told Vieira. “For 24 years I’ve had this lip and I really didn’t pay any attention; I mean everybody always guessed it. I just never said it was true, and when I came out to say it, it just opened the floodgates.”
But her husband of 13 years doesn’t see what the big deal is. “Millions of people got tattoos over the last 20, 30 years, and finally when they discovered a way to get rid of them, millions of people went in and got rid of those tattoos, and I think that’s what happened here,” he said.
And Hamlin made it clear he never objected to his wife’s puffy upper lip. “I fell in love with those lips, I kissed those lips for 18 years; there was nothing wrong with those lips, I can tell you that!”
Hamlin, 58, and Rinna have become a Hollywood curiosity even while becoming a success story that’s made them the “Tori and Dean” for the baby boomer set. They’ve made a cottage industry out of their marriage, appearing on Broadway together, both competing on “Dancing With the Stars,” and now, launching “Harry Loves Lisa.”
While both have venerable TV track records — Hamlin for “L.A. Law,” Lisa for “Melrose Place” — the pair have lately decided to offer themselves as a package deal. “I think overall we just wanted to work together, and we were able,” Rinna told Vieira. “I mean, it was the recession; we’re actors, we have to wait for the phone to ring. And I was like, ‘Let’s create a show, and let’s see what happens.’ ”Video: Lisa Rinna’s life lessons
And in keeping with the one-two punch, both Rinna and Hamlin are releasing new books on the same day this week. Rinna’s is a novel, “Starlit,” that mirrors her life; Hamlin’s is a memoir that he says is “a romp.”
Hamlin said he decided to write “Full Frontal Nudity” after being confronted with his past during a famous bust at the Canadian border last year. While he was crossing the border to film a role in the TV series “Harper’s Island” in Vancouver last August, a computer check showed that Hamlin had felony narcotics convictions in 1970 and 1973.
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Hamlin said he had entered Canada more than 100 times since those arrests, but “after 9/11, they’re all kind of antsy about that, so there was an arrest. It took 40 years for an arrest to get into the computer there.”
Hamlin contends his youthful arrests are much ado about nothing, and that the felonies were reduced to misdemeanors, but in Canada “they had to assume that I was a hardcore felon.” And that led him to write a book that examines his crazy days up until age 25.Video: Rinna, Hamlin learn of burglary on TV (on this page)
“A lot of weird stuff happened to me, and I kind of charted my history of my being a hardcore criminal up until the age of 25,” he jokingly told Vieira.
Meantime, the couple’s “Harry Loves Lisa” reality show debuts on TV Land Wednesday. While it also features the couple’s daughters, Delilah, 12, and Amelia, 9, Hamlin and Rinna tried to limit their exposure — even though Hamlin said the girls were so excited about being part of the action, “They’d like to be above the title.”
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