Kendra Wilkinson doesn’t even attempt to reach over her eight-months-pregnant belly to put on her stark-white sneakers.
Instead, she lifts her foot with some awkwardness as her husband, Hank Baskett III, slips on one size 7 shoe — not nearly as gently as Prince Charming put the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot.
But Kendra’s just about as grateful.
“Thanks, baby,” she says as Hank helps her up from the dining room chair in the couple’s Carmel mansion. “I can’t reach my feet anymore.”
And then she laughs the clamorous laugh that made her a household name on “The Girls Next Door” — possibly even more so than her relationship with a famous, sexually active octogenarian.
Kendra, 24, and Hank, 27, moved to Indiana in late September, after he signed with the Colts, and bought a house in the same gated community that hosted former Pacer Jermaine O’Neal’s compound. They settled in about a month ago, after staying at the Candlewood Suites for a few long weeks. Cramming two adults, their things and two rambunctious dogs in that tiny extended-living apartment, Kendra says, is their first real memory of Indianapolis.
“It was...small,” she says, scrunching up her nose.
Their red brick home — not the largest one in the neighborhood of unbelievably big houses adorned with pools, matching pool houses, six-car garages and tennis courts — is undoubtedly a step up. The interior is decorated in grays, creams and whites, but what’s noticeably absent is a nursery for Hank Baskett IV, who’s due on Dec. 12 at Clarian North.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought that little Hank would be born in Indianapolis,” she says.
Kendra and Hank haven’t set up the nursery because they’re planning to move back to L.A. in February, “after the Colts win the Super Bowl,” Kendra says.
On this Saturday in early November, the house is filled with about a dozen crew members from US Weekly magazine, shooting a photo spread of Kendra and Hank in their new home in the quaint Midwest. Next week, it will be populated by the crew from her show, “Kendra” on E!, when she starts shooting the second season.
“We’re very bouncy people,” Kendra says, trying not to move her lips as the makeup artist touches up her nude lipgloss. “We’re — what’s the word?”
“Hermits. No. Nomads. We’re nomads,” Hanks says from across the room.
“Yeah, nomads!” she says, accidentally moving her mouth out of lip-brush range. The blond, middle-aged makeup artist patiently waits for Kendra to finish talking before painting on the thick gloss. “We can’t stay in the same place for a long time.”
While they’re here, though, they’re making the most of it.
“Indianapolis has been amazing so far,” Kendra says. “I’ve always dreamed of knowing my neighbors and being around people I know. But, of course, we’re going back to L.A., so it’s sort of like a tease.”
Hank and Kendra are learning to cook (spaghetti with meat sauce, barbecue pork chops), and go to Marsh down the street for their groceries. Kendra has discovered the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing and the Clay Terrace mall in Carmel, where she gets her hair done at David and Mary Salon. As for dining out, they love to eat “lots and lots of meat” at Fogo de Chao Downtown and have been on a double date to Harry & Izzy’s with Peyton and Ashley Manning.
“I get really scared meeting NFL wives because I’m a very shy person,” she says. “All of the guys on his team have been really great.”
She gets recognized when she and Hank go out in Indianapolis, but she doesn’t mind it.
“People come up to me, but it’s very different,” she says. “They’re not all up in my grill. They’re very caring. Everybody’s been so helpful.”
But mostly, the couple hangs out at home, playing old-school games — specifically UNO.
“It relaxes our mind because we’re so busy,” Kendra says.
Hank doesn’t agree. “It doesn’t relax my mind. I go to bed angry because she cheats.”
By now, Kendra’s makeup is finished, and she takes a break from US Weekly to be photographed for Metromix. She heads to the backyard, passing Hank, who gives her a loving smack on her now-curvier behind. He heads back into the house to change out of his white T-shirt, returning in a neon orange polo for the photos.
In between shots, Kendra talks about how she’s planning to lose her baby weight quickly — Hollywood-style — and scolds her famous dogs, Rascal and Martini, for eating the grass. But she’s mostly concerned about kneeling in dog poop.
“You better get used to it,” Hank tells her. “There’s going to be poop everywhere in a little while.”
After posing for a few photos, the couple move back into the kitchen, and Kendra leaves to change out of her jeans and three-quarter-sleeve burgundy top for another US Weekly photo. Hank, sitting at the dining room table, says he’s learned how to help her through every step of her pregnancy.
“Just learning to adapt to her as she has with her body changing,” he said. “I know how to rub her hips now.”
He abruptly stops speaking when he sees his wife reappear in the kitchen, this time wearing a flowing, yet clingy, short red dress. His eyes move slowly up and down, and for a second, he almost seems to forget where he is.
In the living room, Hank’s parents, Hank Jr. and Judy Baskett, in town for the weekend, are watching “The Godfather,” trying to avoid the hullabaloo. Hank Jr. has been sleeping on the cream leather couch during most of the shoot, and Judy has been fiddling with a laptop on the coffee table, which is covered with various electronic devices and three McDonald’s soda cups left over from lunch.
“Kendra’s hung up on the little plain cheeseburgers,” her mother-in-law explains. With two sons of her own, Judy has a close relationship with her son’s reality-star wife.
“That’s the daughter I never had,” she said. “That’s my little girl. She’s just so down to earth. She’s simple. She could be like anything in the world, but she’s just simple.”
Hank brings out a 20-by-30-inch photo from their June wedding; he’s dipping Kendra in front of the Playboy Mansion — her residence for four years. (Hank and Kendra met in 2008 in Southern California, at the Playboy Scramble.) He holds up the photo over the mantel, saying it looks ghetto without the frame, but he wants it there anyway.
“Aww, he picked it out himself,” Kendra says, then gets sidetracked by the TV. “Look! It’s ‘The Godfather!’ ”
By this time, the US Weekly shoot is over and Kendra has changed out of the red dress without anyone noticing she was gone. She makes her way back to the kitchen, wearing fuzzy white slippers, dark gray sweatpants and a tight light blue T-shirt that says “Where there is love, there is life.” It exposes about 3 inches of her bare belly.
Is she ready for the baby?
“No!” she says, and belts out that famous laugh again. “Right when I found out I was pregnant, I was on the books, but you know what? I stopped. It’s all common sense. Books, it’s like, come on, I already know that.”
Learning to parent in front of viewers, though, does make her nervous.
“That’s why it’s kind of hard to shoot the show,” she says. “One little mistake that they will probably shoot — the judgment, with it being on TV, that’s what scares me.”
The show, which begins airing again on Sundays in January, will document everything leading up to the delivery at Clarian North, but “they are NOT entering the ‘No Zone.’ They wouldn’t able to use it anyway, because it’ll take the whole budget to clean up my cussing.”
She has no plans for a trendy Hollywood birth. “I just want a normal birth, but a lot of drugs, for zero pain,” Kendra says. “I want to be able to love the experience.”
And she and Hank say they will have more children, but not for a little while.
“I told Hank, do you know what you’re getting in your stocking this Christmas? Not coal — well a little bit of that — but condoms. A whole lot of condoms. I want a little girl. In a couple of years.”
They haven’t even thought of girl names, because there’s no chance baby Hank will be a girl. “Oh no, he’s a boy,” she says. “We saw his big penis.”
At this, Hank slowly shakes his head and averts his light brown eyes to the kitchen floor, as if to say, “That’s our Kendra.”