PEOPLE confirms that Bethenny Frankel was simply joking about her complicated divorce from Jason Hoppy

By Dave Quinn
August 23, 2019 12:37 PM
Advertisement

Bethenny Frankel may have walked away from The Real Housewives of New York City, but she hasn’t walked down the aisle.

PEOPLE can confirm that the reality star did not secretly get married to real estate developer and film producer Paul Bernon, whom she has been dating since last fall.

Fans speculated on Friday that the two had wed after Frankel, 48, teased on Twitter that she had to leave RHONY because she was “the only one that is actually married.”

As it turns out, Frankel was referencing estranged husband Jason Hoppy.

The two said their “I dos” in 2010, separated in December 2012, and filed for divorce a month later.

Though they reached a financial settlement in their contentious divorce in July 2016, the divorce itself is still not finalized and the exes have been embroiled in messy court proceedings ever since, with Frankel now seeking primary custody and full decision-making power over their 9-year-old daughter Bryn. They currently share custody and decision-making power.

Bethenny Frankel and Paul Bernon
| Credit: Bethenny Frankel/Instagram

Though Frankel and Bernon, 41, aren’t wife and husband yet, their relationship has been going strong.

In July, the Skinnygirl founder posted a sweet tribute in honor of her boyfriend’s birthday.

“Buon compleanno, ti amo!” she captioned a slideshow of photos of the couple on vacation in Italy. (It means, “Happy birthday, I love you,” in Italian.)

“Happy Birthday, Paul,” she continued. “You are such a brilliant, sweet, beautiful, kind, hilarious person. You have enriched my life immeasurably. You make me laugh to the point of tears… You embrace my life, my spirit, my daughter, my career, my goals, and my choices. The very few people who truly know you are the luckiest people in the world.”

“You have literally and figuratively saved my life,” she added, a nod to his assistance when she was hospitalized after suffering a near-fatal allergic reaction to fish in December.

“Peanut and I, and @biggysmallz, love you so much and are so lucky to have you in our lives,” she continued, referencing her 9-year-old daughter Bryn and her dogs, respectively. “Have the most incredible day ever!!!! May all of your wishes come true! #HappyBirthday #Celebration #Vacation#Travel #SummerVacation #Italy.”

Bernon was clearly touched by Frankel’s post. “Thank you for the best birthday!” he commented. “I love you, [Peanut] and the [dogs]. #luckiestmanintheworld.”

Frankel and Bernon’s relationship became Instagram-official in December when Frankel shared two photos of the couple celebrating Christmas together in the Dominican Republic.

Speaking to PEOPLE in April, Frankel raved about the relationship, saying she was “a lucky gal” and that “things between us are really nice.”

Earlier that month, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Frankel called her “incredible” boyfriend “a beautiful human being inside and out.”

“And yes, Bryn knows him and loves him,” she added. “They’re very, very similar people.”

The romance blossomed after the death of Frankel’s on-off boyfriend Dennis Shields. Last August, the businessman was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment. He was 51.

Bernon has also supported Frankel during her divorce and custody battle. When she most recently faced off against Hoppy in March, he attended all five of the court dates, sitting quietly in the back row.

Bethenny Frankel and Paul Bernon
| Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

On Wednesday, Frankel announced she would be leaving RHONY. She starred on Bravo reality series when it premiered back in 2008, left the series during season 3, and later rejoined during season 7.

As to what she’ll be up to next, Frankel will indeed be busy.

“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,” said Frankel in a statement on Wednesday obtained by PEOPLE and first reported by Variety.

“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.”