Luann de Lesseps was born in Berlin, Connecticut, on May 17, 1965. She is a reality T.V. star best known for her role as a main character in the first six seasons of “The Real Housewives of New York.” In her early days, she spent time touring Europe, where she met her future husband. After marrying Count Alexandre de Lesseps, she adopted the title of ‘countess,’ and while she is no longer officially one, she continues to use the moniker to this day. Since her success on “The Real Housewives of New York,” she has launched a music career and has hosted her very own “#CountessAndFriends” cabaret show which toured the United States. Find out everything you need to know about this versatile entertainer right here.
Luann de Lesseps was born LuAnn Nadeau in Berlin, Connecticut, and grew up alongside six brothers and sisters. Her surname before marriage indicates her father’s Algonquin and French heritage as well as her mother’s French Canadian lineage. While not much is known about her early life, de Lesseps has shared that she was the captain of her high school softball team. In Connecticut, she became a licensed practical nurse, but quickly abandoned this vocation for a career in modeling, entering the Miss Connecticut contest. While she didn’t place, she was picked up by a talent scout who entered her into a New York-based modeling competition in which she placed first. She commuted to New York for six months, working as a model, before she moved to the big city full-time.
The New York lifestyle was not what she had hoped it would be, so she flew to Milan with her boyfriend at the time. In Milan, she parted ways with him and entered another beauty contest, making some quick cash and touring Italy. Despite not knowing Italian very well, Lesseps landed a position as the host of an Italian TV show. She attended a dinner party in Switzerland, where she met Count Alexandre de Lesseps, and after a very short courtship, the two were engaged. They embarked on a whirlwind traveling honeymoon. De Lesseps and the count quickly grew their family, introducing Victoria, and then, Noel into the world just 21 months apart.
The family summered in the Hamptons and spent the rest of their time in the Swiss Alps. After a car crash in which nobody was hurt, de Lesseps suffered from P.T.S.D., anxiety, and from the isolating effects of their remote Swiss home. Spurred by the need to make something of herself, de Lesseps decided to get back to working in television, returning to New York. While working on a small show, she met actress Jill Zarin, who soon approached Lesseps to be one of the main cast members of “The Real Housewives of New York.” The show premiered in 2008, and de Lesseps’s star was born. She starred for five seasons as a main character, changing her role to recurring ‘Friend of the Housewives’ in season six. During this time, she kept busy, writing “Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair,” which was published in 2009. With her busy career taking its toll on her marriage, de Lesseps and the Count divorced in the same year, but she would keep his name and the honorary ‘countess’ title.
The next year, she expanded into music, releasing the single ‘Money Can’t Buy You Class.’ She guest-starred in a “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode in 2011, and released her second single ‘Chic C’est la Vie’ the same year. 2013 saw de Lesseps accepting a smaller role in “The Real Housewives of New York.” She released another single, ‘Girl Code,’ two years later, and in late December 2016, married Tom D’Agostino Jr., officially losing her ‘countess’ title — although she continues to use it to this day.
However, the marriage did not last, and they were divorced less than a year later. In early 2017, de Lesseps landed a role in a small film called “Maternal Secrets.” It was around this time that she began to run into legal trouble in Florida, arrested for public intoxication, assaulting an officer, and more, in late 2017. She was charged with a third-degree felony the next year, but it was later dropped when she pled guilty to misdemeanor charges and joined a rehabilitation program for alcoholics after her release. Not to be held back, she hosted her very own cabaret show “#CountessAndFriends” in 2018, singing about her life alongside celebrity guests, before taking the show on tour. In 2019 and 2020, de Lesseps released two more singles, ‘Feeling Jovani’ and ‘Viva La Diva,’ with Desmond Child. Her latest appearance was in “The Real Housewives of New York” spin-off show “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” in 2021.
She kicks off a career in modeling by winning a competition and travels regularly to New York from Connecticut for work.
After meeting Count Alexandre de Lesseps at a dinner party, she quickly marries him and becomes Countess Luann de Lesseps.
De Lesseps joins the debut cast of the popular reality T.V. show as a main character.
Her single ‘Money Can’t Buy You Class’ is released on Ultra Records.
“#CountessAndFriends” is later taken on tour in the same year.
De Lesseps appears in the spin-off show “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.”
Why We Love LuAnn de Lesseps
She is a noted philanthropist
She has put her wealth to good use, donating to charities focused on cancer, L.G.B.T.Q.+ representation, homelessness, and more.
She is proud of her work
She has no regrets about her time on “The Real Housewives of New York.” While she admits she made some mistakes, she has learned from them and has no regrets.
She is an L.G.B.T.Q.+ ally
Beyond her charitable donations, de Lesseps has been a guest on a float at a gay pride parade. Although not queer herself, she has a demonstrated history of supporting the community.
5 Surprising Facts
Her favorite place in the world
She’s a big fan of France, its food, and the people.
She practices yoga and meditation
She says these practices help her stay both mentally and physically healthy.
Her first job was scrubbing floors
She scrubbed her parents’ floors and was paid the grand sum of $1 for it.
Her favorite cheat food
When she feels like a treat, she always reaches for a slice of New York pizza.
Late-night T.V. is her next target
While we haven’t heard any news yet, she has stated that she’d like to do late-night T.V. next.
LuAnn de Lesseps FAQs
Why is de Lesseps known as the countess?
When she was still LuAnn Nadeau, she married French entrepreneur Count Alexandre de Lesseps. The union came with the title being bestowed upon her.
How many seasons of “The Real Housewives of New York” did she star in?
She was a main character for the first six seasons but took on a lesser role when she moved away from New York.
Has she released a music album?
No, she has not. While she has released six singles over the course of her career, she still hasn’t dropped a full album.
LuAnn de Lesseps’s birthday dates