Bethenny Frankel has been dating the real estate developer and film producer since last fall

By Dave Quinn
April 18, 2019 02:20 PM

Bethenny Frankel has a lot to smile about these days — and much of it is thanks to her boyfriend Paul Bernon.

The Real Housewives of New York City star, 48, spoke to PEOPLE on Wednesday night at the grand opening of the new Godiva Café in New York City, where she gushed about her relationship with the real estate developer and film producer.

“I’m a lucky gal,” Frankel said. “It’s been good. Things between us are really nice.”

Frankel and Bernon have been dating since last fall and went Instagram-official with their romance in December while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. The two have been spotted on luxurious vacations since, including a trip to Playa del Carmen over the New Year holiday. And though he lives in Boston and she in NYC, the two have been making the long distance work.

“We’re together a lot,” Frankel said. “I have a really good balance in work, life, love. I’m really happy.”

RELATED: Bethenny Frankel Says Her New Boyfriend Saved Her Life After Near-Fatal Allergic Reaction

Bethenny Frankel
Cindy Ord/Getty

That’s a big change from what RHONY fans are currently seeing on the hit Bravo show, as Frankel works through the pain after the death of her on-off boyfriend Dennis Shields. Last August, the businessman was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment. He was 51.

In addition to that loss, Frankel has also been battling a variety of health complications.

Asked how she’s feeling now, Frankel said “much better,” stressing, “my health is getting back in order, so I’ve been taking a lot of time to myself.”

Slowing down has allowed Frankel to enjoy plenty of quality time with Bryn, her 8-year-old daughter with ex Jason Hoppy.

“There’s been lot of mommy time,” Frankel said, adding that Bryn has joined her on a few work trips as well. “It’s been good.”

Bryn has spent time with Bernon, too. During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen earlier this month, Frankel revealed that the two have a good relationship.

“Bryn knows him and loves him. They’re very, very similar people,” she said. “He’s incredible. He’s a beautiful human being inside and out.”

Bethenny Frankel and boyfriend Paul Bernon
Bethenny Frankel/Instagram

Also “incredible”? Frankel’s Skinnygirl Jeans line. The collection has expanded since she launched it last January, releasing several new collections and expanding from retail stores like Macy’s to the Home Shopping Network.

“I’m really loving connecting with the customer,” Frankel told PEOPLE of her clothing empire. “It’s really a brand for every body, every woman. There hasn’t really been a brand designed by women, owned by women. All the big brands are owned by men and designed by men. So I think it’s really resonating with women.”

“[Customers say] it’s the most comfortable pair of jeans that they’ve ever put on,” Frankel continued. “Everyone loves them because they feel like sweatpants but they look skintight. It’s amazing. The larger sizes sell out first. It’s amazing. Everyone’s unleashing their inner Skinnygirl.”

Bethenny Frankel
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Frankel herself unleashed her inner chocoholic at the Godiva Café opening.

“I always say: I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like chocolate,” she told PEOPLE at the store’s soirée. 

The property, located in the heart of the Big Apple at 560 Lexington Avenue (50th & Lex), is the first American café for the brand. It features a sweet and savory menu of grab-n-go items like salads and sandwiches, specialty beverages, sweet treats, and signature items — like The Croiffle, a fresh-made buttery croissant pressed into a hot waffle and filled with ingredients like cheese, egg, or chocolate.

By the end of 2019, 10 more cafes are slated for opening in the Northeast. The larger plan is to expand the model to 2,000 locations worldwide.

“I love Godiva — I think they’re an amazing brand,” Frankel said. “I love that they’re branching out into cafés. You don’t have to only come here to buy chocolate — you can have a cheeseboard, you can have a salad, you can have a really decadent hot chocolate. It’s so luxurious.”

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