Bethenny Frankel‘s outspoken personality and no-nonsense attitude made her a star on The Real Housewives of New York City. But her “mention it all” mouth might have gone a little too far with Carole Radziwill.
On Wednesday’s episode, the 47-year-old Skinnygirl mogul admitted to fellow New York Housewife Dorinda Medley that she might have crossed the line with Radziwill when she criticized her on-again, off-again boyfriend Adam Kenworthy.
It all started when Frankel and her charity organization B Strong were beginning their relief efforts in Houston, Texas, for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Category 3 storm that left 336,000 residents without without electricity in August and led to the deaths of 103 people.
Of course, the 2017 Hurricane season would produce two more hurricanes, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. And the devastation both left behind in their wake would become a major focus of Frankel’s time, especially in Puerto Rico — where Frankel started a movement, raising money, gathering resources and making multiple trips over many months to offer hands-on help and support.
But back then, it was just Houston, and Frankel was hoping 32-year-old Kenworthy — a skilled photographer — might be able to come along and help document the process.
“I asked Adam to be part of this whole journey as a photographer,” Frankel recalled. “I emailed him when we were going to Houston and I said, ‘Are you available to come on a mission.’ He said, ‘What’s the [compensation]?’ “
The question was something that took Frankel aback. “In the entire process of this charity, not one person has said, ‘What’s the comp?’ ” she told Medley. “All the people you met at the warehouse, they’re all nurses, teachers — they have nothing. They’re not as rich as Adam.”
When Frankel told Kenworthy, “there is no comp,” he declined — allegedly telling her, ” ‘I can’t really afford to not work next week.’ “
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That didn’t make Frankel feel good. “It just rubbed me the wrong way,” she told Medley.
Frankel told Radziwill so much, but Radziwill, 54, didn’t mind it at first. But then Frankel said she got really real. “There’s been other things I’ve personally felt and I said, ‘I think he’s a bit of an operator,’ ‘ Frankel recalled. “And she goes, ‘Everyone’s an operator. Everyone who is successful in business is an operator. It’s good that he’s an operator. I’m glad that he’s a hustler.’ “
“I aborted. I was like, ‘I shouldn’t have said anything,’ ” Frankel said. “I was trying to jam it back in. It’s honest but you don’t have to say everything you feel. It’s like if your mom likes your boyfriend, she doesn’t need to tell you everything she thinks.”
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Whether or not that comment pushed Radziwill away wasn’t clear, but there was no denying the once inseparable BFFs have been distant this season.
“We’re totally on different pages,” Frankel said, adding that Radziwill didn’t take any interest in her B Strong relief efforts. “It occurred to me that we don’t have that much in common. She does have more in common with Tinsley [Mortimer] in the fact that Carole isn’t married, doesn’t have kids, and doesn’t have a career. … She knows [we’re] a little off.”
“You know, listen, I care about Carole,” she told PEOPLE on Monday. “We met on the show, and so our interactions will air in real time on the show. That can be challenging because I’m not one of these people that’s going to hide what’s going on with my friend and not have it on camera, because we both made this commitment to viewers to be honest, and it can be challenging.”
That may be the problem in Frankel’s eyes, but on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen last month, Radziwill shut down many of those points — especially the fact that her friendship with Mortimer, 42, caused her to push away from Frankel.
“Everything she was saying [in interviews] that I wasn’t excited to see her, that I’m thick as thieves with Tinsley — I wasn’t then and I’m not now, we’re not thick as thieves,” she said. “I’m friends with her, of course — I’m not thick as thieves, although that sounds fun.”
“None of that was true, and that wasn’t the friendship I was having with her at the time, so I was just as surprised as the audience was to hear all of that,” she continued. “In fact, I was being a really good friend. I remember at the same time I was trying to figure out dates that we could go to Golden Door together, I had sent her flowers when [her dog] Cookie died, wrote a lot of checks for her charity. I was just being a really good friend.”
Speaking to PEOPLE Now last month, Mortimer also denied she has anything to do with the rift.
“The Bethenny-Carole situation is completely separate from my relationship with Carole,” said Mortimer. “Of course, I am Team Carole — always will be. But you know, honestly, their relationship — it’s sad. I really hope that they work things out. I have only known them being so close. When I came into this, they were best of friends, so I don’t like to see anything deteriorate or fall apart for some reason. I just hope for the best for them.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.