Bethenny Frankel, 48, shocked fans when she announced she wasn’t returning to The Real Housewives of New York City on August 21 — and now she’s revealing more about what led to her decision. “It wasn’t about money,” Bethenny said while speaking at Yahoo! Finance’s All Markets Summit on Thursday, Oct. 10 in New York City. “If I went back, it was about money, if that makes any sense.” Bethenny has been a part of the series’ inception since 2008, which spawned the successful spin-offs Bethenny Getting Married? and Bethenny Ever After. According to reports, she’s also the highest paid Housewives cast member in history.
Ultimately, though, leaving came down to business instincts and what felt right for Bethenny at this stage in her life. “When I joined The Housewives, everyone told me not to do it and I went with my gut to do it,” the SkinnyGirl mogul continued. “And when I thought about leaving, everyone told me not to leave. And I went with my gut to leave.” The entrepreneur even revealed that the difficult decision to leave was tricky until the last second, adding, “that morning [I announced my departure], I thought I was possibly going to go back.”
The Housewives franchise has documented Bethenny’s life for more than a decade, including some of her most intimate moments, like her marriage and subsequent break-up with spouse Jason Hoppy, and the birth of her only daughter, 9-year-old Bryn. “Leaving the Housewives was because I think that I just didn’t want to be at the party where my eyelashes were falling off at two o’clock in the morning, not literally on the show, which that would happen also, but the metaphorical eyelash-hanging-off party,” she continued, alluding to her lengthy tenure as a full-time cast member. “I like to leave when something for me is at its peak and I was talking to Bravo about many different things and I just decided let’s roll, it’s time to go.”
When the former talk show host first went public with her departure, she also announced she would be staying in the television industry via a deal with MGM and working alongside production partner Mark Burnett. She confirmed these plans were still in place at the Yahoo! event, adding that she’s sold two shows and met with several streaming networks. “Most of the shows are around women, business, some are around food. But mostly entrepreneurs and women,” Bethenny added.
In addition to her television-related projects, Bethenny has been an active philanthropist, volunteering and advocating for disaster relief initiative bstrong. “I started seeing people in Hurricane Harvey really surviving,” she told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY last month, adding that she spent time in the area to help with the relief efforts. She’s also expressed interest in spending more time with her young daughter Bryn, and appears to be busy with her man Paul Bernon.
Her exit hasn’t been without drama, however, as longtime co-star Ramona Singer reportedly refused to film without Bethenny, and expressed her disappointment that Bethenny didn’t inform the cast about her decision. “With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come,” Bethenny said in a statement at the time.