Bethenny Frankel and Luann de Lesseps have often sparred in the past, butting heads in some of the biggest blowout battles in Real Housewives of New York City history.
But, following de Lesseps’ headline-making arrest and stint in rehab earlier this year, Frankel has nothing but kind words for her castmate.
“She hit the wall going 90, and the way you handle something when something bad happens is really character building and shows a lot about a person,” the Skinnygirl mogul continued. “She’s taking care of herself, she’s taking it seriously. She’s not delusional about where she is. She’s sort of on a path and she’s in a good place.”
Added Frankel, “I mean, she’s very honest about exactly where she is, about what happened, and about what her goals are. I’m honestly impressed.”
De Lesseps was arrested on Christmas Eve of last year, and charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on an officer/firefighter/EMT, resisting arrest with violence and threatening a public servant, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After her arrest, de Lesseps — who had gotten married to ex-husband Tom D’Agostino in Palm Beach on last New Year’s Eve before their divorce seven months later — released a statement saying, “This was my first time in Palm Beach since my wedding, and being here brought up long-buried emotions. I want to offer my sincere apologies to anyone I might have offended with my behavior. I am committed to a transformative and hopeful 2018.”
Later that week, de Lesseps told PEOPLE in another statement, “I have decided to seek professional guidance and will be voluntarily checking into an alcohol treatment center. I intend to turn this unfortunate incident into a positive life changing event. Once again, I sincerely apologize for my actions.”
Since then, she’s returned to the Big Apple and has been filming with her fellow New York Housewives — footage of which will appear on the show’s upcoming 10th season, set to premiere on Bravo this spring.
“I don’t know if the cameras in particular are what Luann was nervous about,” Frankel explained. “I think just coming back to New York, which is such a stimulating city… I think that Luann wants to just take care of herself like she was when she was away.”
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Frankel also shared that she and de Lesseps went to a spa to do yoga and clear their heads before filming again.
“She’s been in the Hamptons for a bit, which is a good safe place for me and for her, we both feel like it’s our happy place,” Frankel said. “Coming back to New York, she wanted to set herself up for success.”
Lucky for de Lesseps, she definitely has a friend in Frankel: “I wouldn’t bet against Luann.”
In general, of the RHONY cast, Frankel says this season can described as “this collective group is evolving.”