Whitney Rose’s storylines on Season Two of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City center around her quest to build a billion dollar beauty line, and her desire to spice things up with her husband Justin Rose. Last season, however, it revolved around her efforts to help her father Steve Lesh with his addiction struggles. At the Season One reunion Whitney revealed that she had not been in contact with Steve since the show wrapped. It’s now been a year, and it seems like things are still in the same place with Whitney and her dad.
Whitney said her hairdresser dad was her “best friend” growing up, but things have really changed for them in the past ten years because of his painkiller addiction. He’d turned to drugs to deal with the loneliness he felt when his marriage to Whitney’s mom broke down.
Steve was very successful in the hair business. He made millions with his own hair school and even had a hair care line: Lesh Hair Products. At the beginning of Season One, he was hoping to get his equipment out of storage and start making money doing what he’s always done. Whitney pushed him to get rehab treatment before he focused on business, and some of his treatment was shown on the show.
After filming wrapped, Whitney says that they really worked on rebuilding their relationship, but that all changed after he came to her birthday last year, September 2020. At the reunion taping in February, 2021 Whitney said she wasn’t speaking to her dad at the time, and had not seen him since her birthday.
“He came and saw me for my birthday, and I never saw him again. He’s disappeared, he won’t respond to me. I saw this going very differently,” she said. “I saw us watching together and celebrating. There are so many opportunities for him to change his life, especially now with this platform. I still want people to root for him. That’s what he needs. He needs love.”
Whitney recently celebrated another birthday, which marks a year since her dad has disappeared from her life. She told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that aired September 26, 2021, “I still have not heard from my dad. It’s been one year on Saturday.”
She says she has heard from people around him that he is ok, even though she has not spoken to him directly.
Both Whitney and her dad have been ostracized from the Mormon Church: Steve because of his addiction, and Whitney because she had an affair with her married boss while she was married to her first husband. That former boss is now her husband Justin Rose.
UPDATE: On season 2, episode 8 Whitney met up with her brother Will for “Blader’s Club” (est 1995) which is when the brother and sister get together and rollerblade. During a break, Whitney asked Will how their dad Steve was doing. Unlike Whitney, Will says he talks to their dad frequently, and they often go disc golfing and breakfast.
“I don’t know what to say about him,” Will says. “He’s just keeping it off the grid right now.”
Whitney feels like the fact that her dad is hanging out with Will so often is like a “dagger” in her heart. She says she was the only one there for her dad when he was battling addiction, including physically, emotionally, and financially. She also helped him reconnect with the rest of the family.
Whitney then told a story about why she stopped talking to her dad. She had asked her dad to babysit while she went out to dinner with her husband. While they were gone they got a call from the food delivery guy who said a guy was yelling at him. Apparently, the delivery driver had gotten lost because the address was new and wasn’t in his system. Steve had tracked the delivery driver down and yelled at him. At this night he might not have been sober, and Whitney asked him to leave. She hasn’t talked to him since.