August 17, 2016 12:00 PM

Fans rejoiced when Bethenny Frankel returned to the Real Housewives of New York City after a three-season break – but is she ready to take another step back?

“I’ve been definitely distancing myself from the show this summer,” Frankel, 45, recently told Entertainment Tonight. “It was a long year – it’s definitely work.”

“I’m glad that the audience is enjoying it, but I’ve left it behind,” she added.

Part of Frankel’s hesitance seems to stem from the explosive reunion taping for the show last month, which she told ET was “by far” the hardest one she’s ever filmed.

“It was very, very negative and I didn’t enjoy it at all,” she said. “Something very dramatic happened … that questioned my integrity. If someone questions my business or my integrity I take it really seriously – I don’t just gloss over it.”

“So I think that maybe the fun and light Bethenny that people expect, with the quips and the comebacks weren’t there,” she added.

Frankel also takes issue with a lack of transparency she feels some of her costars are guilty of.

“I live my life honestly,” she said. “You have 50 percent of the cast that has a whole taboo, police line, ‘do not cross’ section of their life that is not discussed on camera and never has been. For legal issues and liability issues, Bravo doesn’t need to bring it up and it’s a difficult line to ride, and that may be why I don”t come back.”

In the meantime, Frankel is keeping busy with her highly successful Skinnygirl brand.

“This is just a summer of freedom and doing what I want to do and definitely making some changes in my personal and professional life,” she said. “I just launched a new watermelon-lime margarita with my new cocktail partners, so I’m deciding what my priorities are and how to lay it out.”

And of course, the star is relieved to have recently finalized her nearly four-year divorce battle with her ex-husband Jason Hoppy.

While “there are still some obstacles,” such as selling the apartment the pair once shared, Frankel said she’s “really happy” to be on the other side of it.

“My summer of freedom is lighting me up,” she added. “I am in a really happy place.”

The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.

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