"We’re very good, true friends," Dorinda Medley said of Bethenny Frankel
In a recent interview with Saratoga Living, Medley, 54, explained that she “was sad” after learning that Frankel, 48, would not be joining the rest of the ladies in filming season 12.
“I actually wanted to cry. There’s sort of a good old-fashioned aspect to her I love,” said Medley, who joined the show in 2015 for season 7. “She’s a true original ‘Housewife.’ It takes a brave and fearless person to do what we do.”
Medley added that the SkinnyGirl mogul, who first left the show after season 3 and returned for season 7, is the same person both on and off camera.
“We’re very good, true friends,” Medley said. “And we’re two alphas. The minute we realized we could run together in the pack, there was relief. She’ll always be one of the OGs.”
After the news of her RHONY exit broke in August, Frankel told PEOPLE in a statement, “I have decided to leave the Housewives franchise to explore my next chapter.”
“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, who is mom to 9-year-old daughter Bryn, whom she shares with ex Jason Hoppy.
“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.”
Shortly after Frankel’s exit was confirmed, fellow Housewife Ramona Singer, also an OG, told PEOPLE that Frankel “did not inform her costars” in advance of the decision.
A source previously told PEOPLE that the mother of one’s “sudden decision” came right before filming commenced for the show’s 12th season.
“Filming began hours after the announcement came out and it really threw everyone for a loop,” the source said. “Usually before a season, these women have some idea what the next few months will look like based on the dynamics of the group, but this has left everyone a bit lost.”
“Bethenny didn’t even consult [boyfriend Paul Bernon] about it,” the source added. “She really listens to her heart and said she felt like it was the right time to take a leap and jump into this next adventure.”
As to how Frankel is handling her decision, the source said “she’s feeling very emotional about it, but knows that you can only win at life when you swing big.”
Season 12 of The Real Housewives of New York City is expected to premiere next year.