It’s the end of an era: Bethenny Frankel will not return for the 12th season of The Real Housewives of New York City. Bethenny, the ne plus ultra of Housewives, parlayed reality-TV success into the $100 million Skinny Girl brand, best-selling books, a failed talk show, and several incredibly embarrassing performances at Dorinda Medley’s Berkshires home. In an Instagram post, she said she is leaving the show to focus on her daughter, her philanthropy, and her development deal with Mark Burnett.
Bethenny’s announcement, which came days before the women traditionally start filming, rocked the franchise’s extremely ardent fan base. But we’re still left with a big question: What do all the other Housewives think? Below, we have their exclusive reactions, moments after they scrambled to their tabloid or online birdcage liner of choice. (Okay, okay, the rest of this is totally made up. But Bethenny really is leaving RHONY.)
“Wow, Bethenny, wow,” Ramona Singer said in front of Beautique when a reporter informed her of the news. “What? She couldn’t even send a text? She couldn’t let me know? She just doesn’t support women. You would think that when she was making this decision, she would consider the affectation it would have on me.”
Former Countess LuAnn de Lesseps D’Agostino de Lesseps did an Instagram Live video from the dressing room of her cabaret show in Des Moines. “Hey, everyone,” the message started. “I can’t believe the news today, oh boy. Wait, that’s a Beatles song. Ben! Put that in the act! Anyway, I’ll be sad to see my co-worker of so many years leave. Sure, she’s called me a slut and a whore and an alcoholic. Maybe I’ve been all of those things. I don’t know. But I’m going to focus on delivering my fans the best show possible and also my cabaret act. Tickets on sale now for Ronkonkoma, Walla Walla, Tuskaloosa, the Wal-Mart outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, an Indian casino whose name I can’t legally mention because of my parole, and the North Dakota State Fair. See you there. Mwah!”
Tinsley Mortimer called Page Six to let them know that she was bereft by the news. “I got a text at my home in Palm Beach. Wait, I mean New York. I live in New York. I’m a Housewife of New York,” she said. “Anyway, I cried a little bit after I found out because Bethenny always reminds me of my dead dog Bambi and whenever I think about her, I cry until I can put on the Gucci shoes that my ex bought me to remind me of my chihuahua fur baby.” Tinsley added that, in solidarity with Bethenny, she would name one of her frozen embryos after her.
Since the news came on a Wednesday, Sonja Tremont Morgan of the News of the World Morgans was hosting one of her famous parties for gays in her Columbus Circle apartment. One of the attendees leaked to Queerty that Sonja slurred, “I’m gonna mish that bish. She was my snatch guard. She always said to me, ‘Sonj’ — that’s what she called me, Sonj — She said, ‘Sonj, I learned everything about bizzzness I know from yoooouuuu.’ I didn’t say it. She did. It was at a party with Madonna and John John in Gstaad. Know where that is? Look it up.”
Dorinda Medley simply tweeted, “I’ll tell you how I’m doing: not well bitch. #CLIP! #MakeItNice #WhatAreYouDoingHereWithoutBethenny”
In what some are considering a veiled reference to the situation, Bethenny’s friend turned foe Carole Radziwill posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a Kamala Harris 2020 T-shirt. The caption read only, “Time for a new era to begin.” Twenty minutes later, the shirt was then added to her page on the fashion reselling website Poshmark.
It wasn’t just the cast reacting to the news. Real Housewives wrangler and patriarch Andy Cohen made a comment on Watch What Happens Live!, where he gave Bethenny the Mazel of the Day for the great seasons she gave to the show. His Jackhole of the Day was much more interesting. “Today’s Jackhole is famous reality TV producer Mark Burnett,” Cohen said on air. “I put 12 years into making this woman a star and you snatched him away from me like a bisexual stripper at a Miley Cyrus concert! The tribe has spoken, and we want residuals.”
While the cast of RHONY is obviously most affected by this tragic decision, Real Housewives far and wide responded to the news. Bethenny’s old friend Kyle Richards posted a picture of them in their presurgery and stylist days along with a Notes App statement. “I have always appreciated her wit, talent, and relentless branding that inspired The Agency hat. Speaking of hats, does anyone know what she’s doing with her fedora collection?”
Caught by TMZ outside of Swag Boutique in Miami, NeNe Leakes revealed what she thought of Bethenny leaving. “Who?” she asked as she pursed her lips and rolled her eyes. “I’m not sure who you’re talking about? I don’t know any Bethenny. I don’t know her.”
Real Housewife of Orange County Kelly Dodd let loose on Bethenny in a late-night Twitter screed, cursing her out for calling her a cocaine addict and sexual deviant. She called Bethenny a lantern-jawed pig, a bad mother, and a liar, only to realize in the morning that all of those tweets were meant to be directed at Vicki Gunvalson. She deleted most of them, except the one calling Bethenny a bad mother.
Both RadarOnline and DailyMailTV had stories about Bethenny’s awful, behind-the-scenes behavior, which were attributed to a “source close to the show.” On the same day, they published 17 articles about Lisa Vanderpump’s dog charities. (Lisa said on Twitter those articles were not related at all and she does not leak to the press.)
Bethenny’s departure rippled through every corner of New York City, from the Brass Monkey, where Bethenny famously feuded with traffic runner Kelly Killoren Bensimon, to the Regency, which made itself all about Tom. But nowhere was the noise louder than on the Upper East Side, where a redheaded woman was spotted outside of her co-op shouting into her iPhone, obviously on speaker, “Andy, you promised. You said when she left I could come back. Call me, Andy. I’m ready.”