Because of her ongoing struggles with sobriety, Richards is not returning for the next season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – a decision Vanderpump supports.
"I'm sorry that Kim's not here because of the situation. That's the thing, but I think that her sobriety is more important than any reality show," she told PEOPLE at her luncheon benefiting the American Humane Association and the Hero Dog Awards (Sponsored by Vanderpump Pets) at PUMP in West Hollywood on Thursday. "I think a lot of people recognize that fact, and that's probably why she's not in this season."
Vanderpump, 54, says she hasn't reached out to Richards, 50, since her stay in rehab.
"I'm not that close to Kim," she said. Obviously I'm closer to Kyle, and have had updates. It's a sad situation."
Former costar Camille Grammer also had kind words for Richards.
"I feel bad for Kim," she said. "My thoughts and prayers are with her, and I support her, and I just want her to know I'm here for her if she needs anything."
Richards was arrested earlier this month after she reportedly tried to shoplift hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise from a Target in Los Angeles. She spent the night in jail before posting a $5,000 bail.
In April, she was arrested at the Beverly Hills Hotel and charged with public intoxication, trespassing, resisting an officer and battery on a police officer.