After weeks of tension building between the two, Carole Radziwill and Bethenny Frankel finally came head-to-head on Wednesday’s episode of The Real Housewives of New York City to address the fractured state of their friendship — and “honey,” did things get heated fast.
It all started during the annual Christmastime cast trip to Dorinda Medley‘s Berkshires home, where the New York City Housewives kicked off the evening in a 1920s themed murder mystery party.
With the game over and the ladies ready for dinner, all — including Ramona Singer, Luann de Lesseps, Tinsley Mortimer, and Sonja Morgan — were seated when Medley casually asked Radziwill and Frankel, “Do you think you have tension?”
Frankel began by denying there were any problems. “I don’t feel tense, I really don’t feel tense. Our vibe is different, there’s a shift. And in a group, everyone feels the shift,” she said, before telling Radziwill, “I don’t have a problem with you.”
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But that was a different story than the one Frankel had previously been selling.
Why, just last week, she spewed criticisms about Radziwill to Medley.
“We’re totally on different pages,” Frankel said on the May 16 episode of RHONY, 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.”
Frankel had also insulted Radziwill’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Adam Kenworthy. She called the 32-year-old photographer “a bit of an operator” because he had asked to be compensated to shoot Frankel while she went to Houston with her charity to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
This being reality television, Frankel’s complaints got back to Radziwill — who was happy to bring them up at dinner.
“I heard that you were either upset with me about something to do with Adam not going and working for your charity for free or you are upset with me and my level of financial support for your charity,” she told Frankel.
The accusation threw Frankel. “I didn’t ask for more financial support,” she quickly responded. “I don’t need any support for your charity. You didn’t ask me about it once. Never. This summer, you didn’t ask me about it all.”
“Truthfully all I said is that I didn’t really hear from Carole really ever about Puerto Rico and she didn’t see really interested in it,” she explained to audiences. “It’s the honest truth.”
Radziwill had a different version of the story, though. “That’s not true, Bethenny,” she said in response. “Don’t lie, don’t lie.”
She then brought up an article about their broken friendship that tabloid reporters had been chasing months prior. “I killed the story because I said there’s absolutely no way the story is true,” Radziwill recalled. “Now I hear these rumblings that it actually might be true. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t come to me. We had conversations over the summer!”
From there, things got messy. When Radziwill pointed out how Frankel hadn’t told her she was contacting Kenworthy, Frankel began nitpicking her words — clarifying that she “never called him” and “never emailed Adam.”
“Okay so what did you do? Smoke signals? Whatever it was, you did not tell me,” Radziwill said. “You can’t parse out people’s words like that. No, don’t do it. It’s not nice. Friends don’t do that. If this is the vibe, I don’t like it. And I don’t think it’s just a shift.”
“You know who parses people’s words out and tries to trip them up? People who aren’t telling the truth,” Radziwill added, in confession. “Liars.”
As much as she wanted Frankel to quit it with the minutia of words, Frankel wasn’t going to. “You cannot say something, be wrong, and then start whining to get out of it,” she told Radiziwill — later barking back at the What Remains author when Radziwill said Kenworthy couldn’t make the trip on a Sunday because he was working with another client. “It was not a Sunday, it was a Saturday, so already you’re wrong. You can’t be so commandeering when you’re not telling the facts. … I care because I am accurate in every single detail.”
“It doesn’t matter if it was a Saturday or a Sunday or a goddamn Tuesday,” Radziwill said in a response. “I’m just trying to understand why this happened and how it has affected our friendship.”
The back and forth continued, with Radziwill telling Frankel, “Every time we’re together you’re kind of aggressive with me and kind of dismissive. … Honey, it is [true]”
And then it got pointed, with Frankel telling Radziwill she was “freaking [her] out” and that her “honey” comment was “condescending,” and Radziwill reminding Frankel that “no one whines or screams like you … you talk a lot. Really.”
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The episode ended with a “to be continued,” but it’s clear Frankel and Radziwill’s damaged relationship hasn’t been repaired yet.
Meanwhile, Frankel told PEOPLE prior that watching their fight play out “can be challenging because [she’s] not one of these people who’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.”
“It’s a little bit difficult,” she said. “The whole season was a little bit challenging for me, truthfully. Working so much, I’ve filmed [other] television shows and I’m a mom, which is very important to me, obviously — and I just cracked at the end of the season. I’m not used to that either, so it’s a very different, unsettling season for me.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.