Fiance of 'Real Housewives' Star Gunned Down by Hit Man

Kim Richards - Real Housewives 2010
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

"It just tore her apart emotionally," says Kim Richards' mother-in-law to-be. "She really loved John. They were a good match."

One of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has a dark past.

Kim Richards' fiance, commodities salesman John J. Collett, was gunned down by a paid hit man outside outside a San Fernando Valley deli in October 1991, People reports. Richards had to identify the body.

Richards and Collett, who met shortly after she starred in Disney's Escape From Witch Mountain, got engaged within a few months of dating.

"She loved him and he loved her and it was like a fairy tale," said his sister Nina Stormo. "They seemed really happy."

The shooting “just tore her apart emotionally and she was not in good shape for a long time. She really loved John. They were a good match,”  said John's mother, Jan Collett.

In June 1993, Marva DeCarlo Johnson was sentenced to 30-years-to-life after being found guilty of murder. Prosecutors argued that it was a paid hit, but did not offer evidence as to who bankrolled it, or why it happened. The commodities firm that John formed for prior to his death allegedly defrauded investors out of millions -- and he was one of six defendants named in a civil suit filed by California regulators.

On the Bravo hit, Richards is still clearly affected by the events that occurred 19 years ago. She fights with her sister, Kyle, admits to feeling lonely and awkward since her divorce and chronicles her problem finding a new home.

"Kim was always carrying around a lot of pain, subsequent to my son's death," Jan said. "I really cared for Kim. I thought she was a really good person with a good heart."