Bethenny Frankel on Why Life After RHONY 'Feels Like a Detox' and Her Latest Business Venture
“At the beginning, it took me a minute to regroup and feel centered,” Frankel, 49, tells PEOPLE. “Now, it feels very calming. There’s no conflict or drama. I’m happier overall and more balanced. It’s a healthier life with less stress, and a welcome transition.”
The O.G. Housewife announced in August that she was leaving the show to focus on her daughter, her philanthropy and her production projects. Today, the reality star and businesswoman is announcing her latest venture, Skinnygirl Supplements, a partnership between Skinnygirl and VirMax to launch a new line of four daily supplements, available at Walgreens.
The four include one to strengthen hair, skin and nails with Biotin, a second (with collagen) to enhance skin, a third for relaxation and sleep, and a fourth to enhance female intimacy and “elevate sensation and improve blood flow,” according to the press release.
“These were all things affecting me as a woman,” says Frankel. “I was looking for something natural. It’s just for honest women’s issues. No crazy claims and unrealistic promises. Just maintenance.”
As for the “female intimacy” supplement, she says, “I feel like things aren’t always as spicy and sexy for woman as they get older. It’s not just about our bodies changing, it’s also about more responsibilities, having kids…”
“It’s more like a better mood enhancer,” notes Frankel. “It’s nothing crazy. You’re not popping a supplement and then rocking the house down all night long, but if you take it regularly, it works.”
As for Frankel’s boyfriend Paul Bernon, the film producer and real estate executive whom she’s been dating for over a year, she says with a laugh: “Let’s just say there have been no complaints.” Bernon, she says, is “all for it.”
“He loves the idea that I’m embracing that,” she says. “That’s one thing as we get older, we don’t lose that [desire] and I think women are embracing their sexuality more and also talking more about it.”
As someone whose romantic ups and downs — including her contentious divorce with second husband Jason Hoppy (whom she’s battled in court for custody of their daughter Bryn) — have played a large part in her reality TV narrative, Frankel’s relationship with Bernon has played a big role in her newfound happiness. But this time, it’s off-screen. (The two are even looking for a house to share outside of New York City.)
“He’s a wonderful person,” says Frankel. “He’s relaxed, mellow, very funny, smart and low-key, a loving good person and he takes care of me.”
She’s also grown close to his family. “We spent Thanksgiving together and we’re planning a trip to Japan,” she says.
As for the holidays, Frankel plans to take daughter Bryn snowboarding in Colorado, “and then we’ll be with Paul and the blended family in Mexico.”
And she’s not looking back too much on the show that made her famous.
“I don’t really miss the show,” says Frankel. “I keep in touch with a few people, but I don’t miss being in that environment and once in a while, something will happen and I’ll be like, ‘Oh god, imagine if I was there.’ I have a great relationship with Bravo, but I don’t miss being in that environment, that’s for sure.”
She says she’s come to realize she needed the break.
“It had been 12 years of my life, but honestly, after experiencing a great loss in my life [the death of her boyfriend Dennis Shields in August 2018], going through a challenging trial and a lot of personal issues, I never really took the proper time off after those life changes,” she admits. “In my mind, I think, ‘Oh yeah, I can go back to filming,’ or ‘I just finished a trial, so it’s okay,’ because you’re experiencing it on the show and then discussing it, but I think you need a good amount of time to collect yourself after major life events and I don’t think reality TV is the best place to do that.”
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Moving forward, she’s excited to be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her Skinnygirl brand and plans to announce details of her two upcoming reality shows with Mark Burnett in the new year.
“It’s nice to be missed,” she says. “But it’s nice to be living the life I’m living now, which is another chapter and really a safer space.”
“I feel calm, balanced and more connected to my daughter.” she continues. “If you’re trying to cram so many things into your life, it’s not so calm and balanced if you have so many other things going on. So there’s a freedom now. I don’t want to be constantly white-knuckling and defining myself by how busy I am.”
Next up is a spa trip for her and Bernon before the holidays get too hectic. “I’ll bring my supplements,’ she says with a laugh. “I never leave home without them.”