Bethenny Frankel Biography

Talk Show Host, Author, Chef, Reality Television Star, Journalist(1970–)
Bethenny Frankel starred on the reality-TV show The Real Housewives of New York City and two spinoffs. She also launched the brand Skinnygirl.

Synopsis

Bethenny Frankel was born in New York City on November 4, 1970. The health-conscious chef and entrepreneur became a TV celebrity on The Real Housewives of New York City in 2008. Other reality shows followed, as did her Skinnygirl brand of cocktails and other products. This millionaire mom also made headlines for splitting with husband Jason Hoppy in 2012. Following a successful test run of her own talk show, bethenny, in 2012, Frankel began planning to take the show national in 2013.

Early Years

Bethenny Frankel was born on November 4, 1970, in New York City, to renowned horse trainer Bobby Frankel and his wife Bernadette. Her father left when she was only 4 years old, and Frankel's mother married another horse trainer, John Parisella. Her youth wasn't easy, partially due to seven moves in 10 years. The instability caused adolescent self-loathing and a dieting obsession.

Her troubled teen years didn't hinder Frankel from graduating from New York University with a degree in communications and psychology. Education aside, Frankel possessed Hollywood dreams. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. But when her on-camera future wasn't panning out, Frankel took nanny jobs, including tending to a teenage Paris Hilton. She also was employed as television/film producer Jerry Bruckheimer's personal assistant. The go-getter used her powerful connections to launch a party-planning business and later a venture selling pashmina scarves. Both faltered.

Makings of a Chef

Frankel switched gears, returning to the Big Apple and school. She studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in 2002. The newly trained chef started Bethenny Bakes, specializing in healthy cookies for New York's society crowd. But this business didn't prosper, either. However, it was her gateway to TV notoriety.

Reality-Television Stardom

In 2005, Frankel's high-profile baking background led to her being selected as a competitor on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. A natural on TV, she made it as a finalist. As a result, Bravo cast Frankel on The Real Housewives of New York City. The reality show debuted in March of 2008 and was an instant hit. Suddenly, the only singleton of the series was famous. Frankel appeared on the program for three seasons.

Recognizing Frankel's popularity, Bravo created Bethenny Getting Married?, a spin-off following her journey into marriage and parenthood with pharmaceutical exec Jason Hoppy. She tied the knot with Hoppy on March 28, 2010, while seven months pregnant. Her daughter, Bryn Casey Hoppy, was born just weeks later, on May 8.

The premiere of Bethenny Getting Married? earned record-breaking ratings for the network on June 10, 2010, and ran for a second season, when it took on the title Bethenny Ever After.

The Start of Skinnygirl

While achieving celebrity status, Frankel focused on creating her own brand, Skinnygirl. It took off with her 2009 bestseller, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting. She became known for her low-cal cocktail recipes, especially her margarita.

Frankel kept writing, including the recipe guide The Skinnygirl Dish, the autobiographical A Place of Yes and the novel Skinnydipping. Her Skinnygirl brand also included premixed cocktails. (Fortune Brands Inc. acquired the beverage line for an estimated $100 million). Plus, Frankel branched out into exercise accessories, undergarments and other creations. In 2012, Forbes estimated her yearly earnings at $12 million.

Divorce and Beyond

While business was booming, her relationship with Hoppy was tanking. The 42-year-old announced their breakup on December 23, 2012. On January 5 of that year, she filed papers. Three weeks later, Hoppy did the same. Their split may get ugly, as both are seeking primary custody of their daughter.

Frankel's TV career continues despite her impending divorce. Following a successful test run of her own talk show, bethenny, in 2012, she began planning to take the show national in 2013. It is executive-produced by Ellen DeGeneres. The goal, Frankel told USA Today, "is to have DeGeneres Oprah me, which means putting her stamp on bethenny, as Winfrey did for protégé hits Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz."

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