Bethenny Frankel on Her Decision to Leave RHONY: ‘It Wasn't About Money’
"When I joined The Housewives, everyone told me not to do it. And when I thought about leaving, everyone told me not to leave. And I went with my gut to leave," said Bethenny Frankel
“It wasn’t about money,” said Frankel, 48. “If I went back, it was about money, if that makes any sense. When I joined The Housewives, everyone told me not to do it and I went with my gut to do it. And when I thought about leaving, everyone told me not to leave. And I went with my gut to leave.”
Frankel announced in August that she would not be returning to the Housewives in order to “explore my next chapter.”
“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 said Thursday at the Summit.
“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,” she added.
Frankel began her “next chapter” when she signed a deal with MGM Television and Mark Burnett to develop TV projects. On Thursday, she said she had already met with 10 networks and streaming services — and revealed she’s already sold two shows.
“Most of the shows are around women, business — some are around food,” she said at the event about the unscripted shows, according to Yahoo! Finance. “But mostly entrepreneurs and women. But not in a touchy-feely way but in sort of a hardcore way, if that makes any sense.”
As an entrepreneur herself, she said that fellow women leaders can set themselves apart by “working hard.” She also explained that in her own businesses, she has “never even seen gender.”
“With #MeToo and with this as such a conversation because of the pay difference, I’m not the person for this conversation because I’ve always been about female empowerment,” she told Yahoo! Finance. “I’ve never even seen gender. I don’t see race, I don’t see religion, I don’t see gender. That doesn’t even occur to me. Just go there and be the best.”
“I’m about telling women, just go get it. Be better. Most people move the papers around the desk metaphorically and think they’re working hard,” she said. “It’s about working hard.”
At the time of her departure, Frankel said in a statement to PEOPLE: “It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women.”
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Her announcement that she wouldn’t be returning to RHONY left many fans saddened — and also caught her costars off guard.
Ramona Singer, who started on RHONY alongside Frankel, said she was “only disappointed that Bethenny did not inform her costars that she’s not coming back to the show.”
“When she left in season 4, we found out through the press she was doing her spinoff, Bethenny Getting Married,” Singer said. “She was upset we never congratulated her, but we were upset she never told us! And that’s how we feel now. There is a camaraderie among us as a cast. Love us, hate us, not like us — we are a team. To hear this from the press and not through her is upsetting.“
A premiere date for RHONY‘s return has not yet been announced, but is expected to be next year.