Things for Bethenny Frankel have not slowed down at all recently after coming off another tumultuous season on "The Real Housewives of New York City" and recently kicking off her own Bravo reality show "Bethenny Getting Married?" With all the battles between the other Housewives, Frankel is more than happy to be focusing on her new show, which follows her journey to the alter with Jason Hoppy while being pregnant with their first child. One thing she doesn't have to worry about are the ratings for her television endeavors because audiences are clearly up for following Frankel wherever she goes. Case in point, not only are her 'SkinnyGirl' brand and fitness DVD a hit with consumers, the premiere episode of "Bethenny Getting Married?" marked a record in Bravo history for the highest rated series premiere with over 2 million viewers.
Our Jim Halterman recently talked to Frankel, who, in real time, has finished filming the first season of the show and is happily married to Hoppy and gave birth last month. As she literally held baby Bryn during our chat, she touched on how 'Bethenny Getting Married?' is different from 'Housewives,' the drama leading up to her wedding and the latest on her claim to have no desire to return to the "Housewives" franchise that made her a household name.
Jim Halterman: How does it to feel to have so many viewers turn out for the premiere of your new show?
Bethenny Frankel: It's a little like having the meal and then the dessert. With 'The Housewives' a lot of people got a little tired or exhausted with all the fighting and the big drama. You don't have to rely on slapping someone or flipping over a table or cursing somebody out for a show to be good. I think it's more about the devil in the details. This show is really about what's going on in my life and my relationship and I think if it's done well and truthful it makes it more interesting. It's really just completely the truth and what my life is everyday. I'm happy that people are watching.
JH: The fans really seemed to respond to you from the get-go with 'Real Housewives.' Why do you think you appealed to them so quickly?
BF: I think it's because I'm flawed. People respect someone who works hard and tells it the way it is. I show all my flaws and it's not just showing the pretty picture. I do have commitment issues, I have been blown off and I have done some things later in life. A lot of women feel like they have to be put in some box about what they should be doing and it makes them feel better to know that not everything is in a perfect little Tiffany box with a bow.
JH: Congratulations on your new addition. How are you adjusting with Bryn being in your life now?
BF: You know, you just really have to try to sleep! But she just quiets everything down and makes everything so simple. It could be something so stupid or something so inconsequential that seemed so important before but then you look at her and everything just kind of melts away. She's a happy little baby who has the whole world in front of her.
JH: You talk on your new show about how you've been bad at relationships in the past but now you have a husband and a child. Is it safe to assume things have gotten better for you in that area?
BF: I've gotten so much better! I was never content and I was never at peace. It was never good enough. It was never like 'This is it! I'm happy! This is what I want!' It was never like that but now it is like that. It's so much easier because I don't have all that anxiety I had lived with everyday. I'm happy and love my husband and my baby and the rest I don't really care. I have a pretty small circle besides that so it makes it pretty simple. I worry about her, him and work. That's all it is.
JH: Did it make you at all self-conscious having cameras in your therapy sessions?
BF: The cameras are really invisible to me at this point, I have to say. You'll have a moment of being aware that they're there, obviously, but you really do forget it. If you didn't forget it then it would be obvious to the viewers. It really just kind of melts away. I remember maybe when I was first in front of the cameras in this way it was a little awkward.
JH: Did your upbringing help ground you so you could handle what's happened in your life with the shows and your celebrity?
BF: It's not like I grew up poor but it was just never consistent. It was never something you could rely on. When you're young you don't really realize the importance of money and how it makes things happen and affects how you eat and how you live. I have a strong work ethic and it makes me really appreciative because I know what's like to not be able to pay my rent and know what it's like to live in Manhattan and not afford to go out to dinner or take a taxi. I was not on welfare - I don't want to make it like 'woe is me' - but in this nonsensical world that we're in where you can do what you want to I was definitely financially insecure.
JH: What are we going to see on the show leading up to your wedding?
BF: The 'Bridezilla' train has begun but I have to believe that a lot of it is that I was pregnant and busy and hormonal and I have a bit of a meltdown slightly. I'm sure it comes to a crescendo coming up but I don't know... I don't like to see the episodes early. I like to see them with the audience and be in it with them a little bit so I don't remember everything that happens. There's a lot going on. Planning a wedding that is happening in four weeks would be intense even if you weren't pregnant.
JH: Another new addition in the office is Max , who is this cute, straight 24-yr old guy. Has Jason gotten more comfortable with him since he was a little nervous about him being around at first?
BF: Jason has adjusted. Max thinks that they are the same age, which they're not, and he wants to be one of Jason's boys, ya know? He's new and Julie [Bethenny's primary assistant] is hard to live up to because she takes the job very, very seriously and she's great at running the business. He's a little more green and immature so we'll see if he's got it. It's an internship so we'll see how he fares.
JH: Jason has his own fans from them seeing him on the show. Do you have any jealousy when he gets attention from the female fans?
BF: I don't because I don't really know it's going on. We're at home a lot but he is a good looking guy so I'm sure women would like him with or without him being on the show. I don't really think about it. He's so grounded. I don't want to have to kill somebody in season three but that might be a good season three, right?
JH: Your SkinnyGirl brand is going really well. What's next for you?
BF: As far as the SkinnyGirl cocktails there are going to be a Mojito and additional flavors like Vodka Lemonade and small sizes, Skinny Minis. My skincare line called Honest by Bethenny, which will be out in the fall. Just a very straightforward skincare. Nobody is going to end up looking like Heidi Klum unless they have a facelift. My DVD, Body by Bethenny is doing really well. It's the same kind of thing. It's what I try to do when I work out and it's not something maniacal but it's still challenging. And I'm working on my next book.
JH: You've said recently you're not coming back to the next season of 'The Real Housewives of New York.' Where are you at with that?
BF: I don't know. Right now, I don't think I'd want to go back. The dynamics were really at a fever pitch and this dynamic... I really don't think it's for me.
JH: Did you get any sense of closure on the reunion show recently?
BF: Here's the thing. I feel closure with the audience because I can let them know what happened. I feel like they invested 14 weeks of their lives [in the show] and they deserve an answer, which is why I'm there. I'm there to say this is what happened with this one, this is what happened with this situation, this is why I did this and that. As far as the other women, I don't need that. That is inconsequential. I have a brand new baby and I'm only concerned with her. Ramona and I are good and Alex and I speak a lot so there's no closure needed there. As for the other ladies, not so much. It is what it is.
"Bethenny Getting Married?" airs every Thursday on Bravo at 10:00/9:00c.