"What got me about Lisa was her eyes, not her lips," says Hamlin, who married Rinna in 1997. "So I spent most of my time looking at those."
Hamlin says he didn't notice as, over the years, Rinna's top lip became swollen and bumpy – the result of scar tissue that formed around silicone injected into the lip when she was 25.
"Whatever change took place was so gradual, it never registered for me," says Hamlin, adding that when kissing his wife, her mouth always "felt soft and supple."
As a result, Hamlin, 58, was initially resistant when Rinna, 47, told him she was considering lip-reduction surgery.
'Fresh and Young'Going under the knife is "never a good thing, in my opinion," says Hamlin. "I understand it from a woman's point of view. But plastic surgery is just an extension of that whole 'let's stay fresh and young' vibe. Me, I'm just gonna get old and haggard. But I love Lisa no matter what – whether she has plastic surgery or not, or she's gray or saggy. It's the long haul here."
Adds Rinna: "I knew Harry would say, 'Don't touch it, don't mess with it.' He was like, 'Maybe you should just leave it alone.' He loves me the way I am."
But once Hamlin saw how much it meant to his wife, whose mouth had become a regular subject of whispers and taunts, he jumped on board.
Yet to TestDuring the Aug. 26 procedure, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Garth Fisher removed some of the tissue containing silicone that had seeped throughout Rinna's lip, and re-contoured the rest, decreasing the lip's volume by at least 30 percent.
While it will take up to six months for the swelling to go away, Rinna is thrilled. "I feel fantastic," she says. "It looks good – it's a huge difference."
But the couple, whose TV Land reality show Harry Loves Lisa premiered this month, still haven't had a chance to road test the results.
"My lip is healing, so we've had to be pretty ginger about it," says Rinna. "No crazy makeout sessions – yet!"
For more on Rinna's lip-reduction surgery – including photos of her mouth over the years and what her young daughters think of her decision – check out the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday