Rachel Lee finally offered her unfiltered truth about the Bling Ring — including the aftermath of the crimes.
“I don’t resonate with that Hollywood version [of what happened]. At all. But I could see how it was quite entertaining for the world to see the story that way. It was more of a storm for me,” Lee explained during HBO’s The Ringleader: The Case of the Bling Ring documentary, which aired on Sunday, October 1. “Everything that we do has a consequence. And the consequence I have to deal with is that in history, my name was dragged through the dirt. But who created that? I did.”
The Bling Ring made headlines in the 2000s after stealing roughly $3 million in cash and belongings from celebrities including Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Audrina Patridge and Rachel Bilson. Lee, Nick Prugo, Alexis Neiers, Courtney Ames, Diana Tamayo, Johnny Ajar and Roy Lopez Jr. were arrested for their involvement in the crimes, which took place from 2008 to 2009.
Lee ultimately served 16 months in prison for her role in the Hollywood heists before stepping back from the spotlight. She remained largely tight-lipped after being released from jail but made a rare comment in 2018.
“As a teen, I was chasing love in all the wrong places, and by the time I realized, it was too late and I was in prison,” she exclusively told Us Weekly at the time. “I truly feel prison was a blessing in disguise — the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me realize you can only trust yourself at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, Prugo and Neiers separately participated in Netflix’s The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist. The September 2022 special offered their version of events, but Lee was notably not involved in the project.
Scroll down for all the biggest bombshells from HBO’s The Ringleader: The Case of the Bling Ring:
Rachel Lee Got Arrested Based on the Paris Hilton Robbery
According to Lee, items seemingly connected to Hilton led to her arrest. “The whole time they were just tossing the house,” she recalled about the police raiding her father’s home in Las Vegas. “Then finally, they found a ripped up photo of Paris Hilton naked in my bathroom trash can.”
Rachel Lee Breaks Down How She Was Connected to Other Bling Ring Members
Lee admitted that she “really wanted to be friends” with Ames before she joined the Bling Ring, saying, “She was known in school to be a badass. She was always the girl in high school I was kind of intimidated by. I was like, ‘I could never be cool enough to be your friend.’”
Meanwhile, Tamayo was a friend who Lee regretted bringing into the operation. “She was somebody who actually works so much,” Lee recalled. “And she’s in high school and taking care of her brothers and family. I just kind of led her down that road.”
In the documentary, Lee broke down how Prugo got introduced to Neiers, saying, “He actually met Alexis through me. Because my friend’s boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend was Alexis. She was always around, [and] Nick ended up clicking with Alexis and they started hanging out on their own. I was not included in things and I was really jealous that Nick was gaining a new best friend.”
She continued: “When the group got bigger, all of a sudden it went from it being just me and him to more of a liability. It felt very dangerous and I at that point really felt like, ‘This is bad.’”
Lee also weighed in on the smaller sentence that Neiers received for her involvement. “I can’t speak for Alexis, because she knows what she’s done,” Lee told the cameras, referring to Neiers serving one month of a six-month sentence after a conviction for one count of first degree residential burglary.
Rachel Lee Reveals What She Did With Stolen Items
“I never sold anything. I gave a lot of stuff away,” Lee admitted before being asked about Venice Beach, where she and the other Bling Ring sold some of their stolen wares. “OK, then I did sell. That was that time. Yes. I think I came up with the idea, actually. I was like, ‘What if we just went to Venice and opened up a carpet and just [offered everything] for $20?’ People were flocking and we would just say, ‘It’s fake. It’s real. Take it if you want it.’ We sold everything in less than 15 minutes.”
Inside Rachel Lee and Nick Prugo’s Codependent Relationship
According to Lee, her friendship with Prugo was always a cause for concern.
“If we weren’t together, then we were on the phone. And if we weren’t on the phone, then we were texting. It was always [a] very codependent relationship,” she recalled. “It was super pure, at first. It was pure and it was sweet. We felt like we were very special people in this world. And I finally get to experience where I fit in.”
Lee recalled feeling an “unspoken darkness” that she and Prugo shared in the early days before they started to rob people. She also recalled feeling upset by Prugo’s interest in making other friends that he could bring into the heist.
“I felt like, ‘I guess I am that disposable where you can just drop me and choose these other girls because you felt like they were cooler than me,’” Lee added. “But when we were stealing, me and Nick were still on each other’s team. We are Bonnie and Clyde — we are still in this together.”
Lee didn’t expect Prugo to betray her once he started to confess to the police about the Bling Ring. However, Prugo seemingly sold Lee out when he called to ask her for her dad’s street address mere minutes before the authorities barged in to arrest her.
“When I look back to when Nick and I were actually friends, our relationship was just crumbling from the first day that we met. To me, he’s dangerous,” Lee continued. “This is very extreme what I am going to say but it is my truth, and to be honest, I feel like I was one of his victims. I feel like I was a perfect person that he could just dig his claws into. … I will never allow him in my life again no matter what.”
How Rachel Lee’s Dad Was Accused of Allegedly Being Involved in the Cover-up
Rumors spread about Lee allegedly receiving assistance from her father when it came to covering up the crimes. Lee’s father, who appeared in the documentary, maintained that he wasn’t involved.
“I knew she was going to get caught sooner or later. So, I wanted her to cut that relationship with those friends by relocating her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,” he told the cameras. “I tried to stop her but I didn’t know how to persuade or how to change her mind.”
In the HBO doc, Lee explained why there was speculation that her dad helped her bury items related to the case.
“I asked my dad, ‘If you were trying to get rid of stolen property …’ I just wanted to know — I like knowing people’s psyches. I asked him, ‘What would you do if you had a bunch of stolen stuff? What would you do with it?’ And he said, ‘I would bury it in the middle of the desert,’” she noted. “And Nick twisted that into, ‘Rachel’s dad said to bury it in the desert.’”
Lee’s dad, meanwhile, offered his side of the story in a confessional.
“As a parent, [our hope] is that they don’t get caught. You better get rid of all the things — the evidence,” he said. “My name was [brought into it] for publicity. I was not related to the concealment of the goods or whatever but I became the person who could be asked about that matter. So, I just gave up all the business I was doing and I disappeared. I stayed in Korea for three years.”
Source: US Magazine
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