Press Tour: Bethenny Frankel talks marriage trouble, Jill Zarin squabble

Bethenny Frankel may have sold her Skinny Girl cocktails brand for $120 million last year, but the former “Real Housewives of New York” star isn’t relaxing with her newfound wealth. Her Bravo series “Bethenny Ever After” will be returning for a third season, and the self-made woman discussed her decision to come back to the airwaves during a press tour panel. “I have a relationship with Bravo and we’ve been working together for years, and there were some things I still wanted to say to my fans,” she said. “It’s certainly not about the paycheck. It’s about the message.” Frankel maintained that, while “in reality TV, [reality] isn’t always the case,” honesty is her only policy. “It’s about showing people what’s really going on, warts and all.”

One of those warts seems to be her marriage. Though she says her marriage to Jason Hoppy has “amazing ups,” it also has struggle. “I just turned 41, and I unintentionally crammed everything in,” she said. “I got pregnant, I got married, I sold part of my business, and now we’re settling into what married life really is.” Adding that she’s “in therapy,” she notes that she’s always struggled with relationships. Despite problems between herself and Jason, she did not request that the cameras be turned off. “We’re going there.”

Frankel was also honest about two other women in “The Real Housewives” franchise; her former “Real Housewives of New York” co-star Jill Zarin and recently widowed “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Taylor Armstrong. When asked to address Zarin’s complaints that she has not received compensation from Bravo for finding Frankel (nor has she received a cut of Frankel’s profits) for “The Real Housewives” franchise, Frankel shrugged off the criticism. “Jill is a survivor and definitely well-to-do,” she said. “I don’t think she’s worried about finding a job. She was on the show for years, and for many of the cities, they’re only on for one or two seasons. She’ll find what she’s looking for. I’m sure it stings a little bit, and she has her own way of dealing with it.”


As for Armstrong’s decision to stick with the franchise after her husband Russell Armstrong committed suicide, allegedly in part due to how he felt he would be portrayed in season two, Frankel didn’t judge. “When I was on the show, it was called ‘Manhattan Moms,'” she said. “We didn’t even know what it was. I think now people who sign on to do a reality TV show, they have a preconceived notion and probably show a more dramatic side of their lives because they want to up the ante. Dramatic women are attracted to doing this, and they want to be more dramatic than the next.” 


Frankel’s life since season two has plenty of drama as well, which she said she weathered thanks to being a “survivor” due to her difficult childhood. Despite Skinny Girl products being pulled from Whole Foods stores and her talk show not being picked up last year, she’s looking on the bright side. “I sold my business and the next day it was like someone was waiting at my door with a baseball bat,” she said. “I’m a little flattered that so many people want to tear me down, because it must mean I’ve really made something of myself.” Of course, it’s easier to have a thick skin when you have a platform to address criticism. “There was a period when i really felt I had to react and explain, and a lot of that gets addressed on the show. I’m fortunate to have [that] ability.”