For the first time during her custody battle with Jason Hoppy, Bethenny Frankel addressed her current relationship with Paul Bernon, who sat in on the hearing
Bernon, 41, has attended at all five of the court dates, sitting quietly in the back row as his girlfriend fights for sole custody of her 8-year-old daughter, Bryn.
While never previously mentioned in court, Bernon came into conversation during Tuesday’s hearing, when Hoppy’s attorney, Robert Wallack, questioned the Real Housewives of New York City star about her current relationship — and if she had informed Hoppy about the romance.
Frankel told Wallack that she didn’t initially tell Hoppy about Bernon, whom she confirmed she started dating “a year and a half ago” in December 2017 during a break from late love Dennis Shields.
The businesswoman said that she stopped dating Bernon a month later “because I wasn’t ready for that.”
Shields secretly proposed to her in April 2018 and was found dead of a suspected overdose that August.
Approximately a month after Shields died, Frankel said that she and Bernon started dating again.
Bernon and Frankel made their relationship Instagram-official in December, when Frankel shared two photos of the couple celebrating Christmas together in the Dominican Republic. The pair went on to ring in the New Year together in Mexico, joined by Bryn and his two kids.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Frankel was also questioned about Shields, whom she began a relationship with about three to four years ago. She also revealed to the court that Shields had proposed to her.
“He gave me a ring he asked me to marry him,” she told the court. “The answer I gave him was, ‘It’s amazing that you did this and it’s beautiful and it’s romantic, but we have to work out some issues before we can make this kind of commitment.'” She added that she didn’t give him a “yes [or] no answer.”
While Frankel said she “sort of” considered herself to be engaged to Shields, she admitted that she didn’t tell Hoppy, 48, that Shields had proposed.
Shields was found dead in his Trump Tower apartment on Aug. 10. (After his death, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office announced that an autopsy was not performed on his body due to a “religious objection.” Thus, his cause of death has been ruled “undetermined.” Frankel declined to comment via a rep following his death.).
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.