The real reason why Bethenny Frankel is quitting The Real Housewives of New York

Many Bravo fans were left devastated when The Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel announced her shocking departure from the long-running reality TV series in August 2019. Not only was Frankel a longtime cast member (she starred on the show from 2008 to 2010, before returning in 2015), but she wooed fans with her sarcastic humor and straightforward reads of her co-stars. Frankel was our Greek chorus, to put it simply, guiding us through the wilderness of RHONY with her hilarious wit. But all good things must come to an end, as the saying goes, and it's a sentiment the star addressed in a goodbye message to fans. 

"My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride," Frankel released in a statement to Variety. "I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come." Although she might be looking toward the future, fans in the Twittersphere have kept busy trying to figure out what prompted the decision to leave. We can't pin down one concrete reason for the exit, but we do have some juicy theories to run by you. So, put on your investigator's hat and let's uncover the real reason why Bethenny Frankel is quitting RHONY.

Bethenny Frankel inked a lucrative production deal

During Season 11 of RHONY, Bethenny Frankel quietly signed a multi-year deal with MGM Television and famed television producer Mark Burnett. Responsible for hit shows like Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice, Burnett teamed up with the studio to launch a new division: MGM Global Formats and Unscripted Content (via The Hollywood Reporter). Frankel will seemingly play a role in this sector, as she is set to create, produce, and star in unscripted TV projects as a part of the deal. 

"I am truly honored, humbled and grateful to be working with the powerhouse game changer Mark Burnett, the innovative Barry Poznick and to have access to the unparalleled resources at MGM television," the reality star released in a statement to Deadline in March 2019. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I intend to maximize its potential." At the time of this writing, Frankel's projects have yet to be revealed. However, it's fair to assume she'll be incredibly busy working for MGM and Burnett for the foreseeable future. Since this reality TV vet puts 100 percent into everything she does, we wouldn't be surprised if she stepped away from RHONY to focus on her new venture. Good luck, girl.

This RHONY star is already rolling in dough, people

Some Real Housewives stars rely on their franchise to make a paycheck, but this is not the case for Bethenny Frankel. The business mogul operates multiple ventures, including her well-known Skinnygirl brand. In 2011, Frankel made a nice chunk of change when she sold Skinnygirl Cocktails to Fortune Brands' Beam Global for a reported $100 million, according to People. She was also ranked one of the highest-paid reality stars of all time, as a 2016 article in Forbes noted, which is pretty darn impressive. 

But wait — we're not done rehashing Frankel's riches just yet. Not only is she a money-making powerhouse (she raked in $8.5 million from June 2015 to June 2016), but her net worth is an estimated $25 million. Although Frankel reportedly made $40,000 per episode after her return to RHONY in 2015, we don't think she necessarily needs the Bravo show to bring home the bacon. In fact, it's possible her Real Housewives gig was holding her back from other lucrative business deals. Get that paper, B.

Bethenny Frankel's in L-O-V-E

Dating can be tough when you're a reality star, which is a sentiment Bethenny Frankel knows all too well. We've watched her struggle with countless relationships on RHONY, all the way from her explosive divorce drama with ex-husband Jason Hoppy to her many mishaps dating in New York City. However, Frankel's bad luck in romance took a turn for the better when she started dating film producer and real estate exec Paul Bernon sometime in the summer of 2018. Given the toll TV can take on a relationship, it's possible she's leaving RHONY behind to focus on her new relationship. Co-star Ramona Singer hinted at this possibility while speaking to People about Frankel's exit, noting: "Bethenny found love in her life, and it's so fantastic that she'll be taking the time to grow that relationship away from the cameras and to explore other business opportunities."

It's safe to say Frankel really adores Bernon, as she credited him for restoring her faith in love. "I have a career, I have a daughter, I've had a nasty divorce," she said during a July 2019 appearance on Live With Kelly and Ryan. "So I wasn't sure that I could kind of have just that normal, beautiful, loving relationship that you remember from high school or college or something. And that's what it feels like." Aww.

We're thrilled Frankel has found love, and we hope this relationship will continue to flourish off-camera.

Hold the phone — is Frankel married?

Speaking of being in love, it's also possible Bethenny Frankel left RHONY because she's apparently already married. Yep, this story got even more wild when the Bravo star sent out a very interesting tweet just days after her announcement. "To my NY hwives: GO GET EM! I had to go since I'm the only one that is actually married...that's how crazy this ride is," she wrote. "You are all amazing, beautiful and strong. Spread your wings and fly! Xoxo." Um, say what now?

Frankel has yet to comment on the status of her possible marriage as of this writing, but we wouldn't run this past her. The business mogul is madly in love with Paul Bernon, after all, and they clearly get along well. Although this would be a fast turnaround given their dating timeline, there's no "right" time to get married. And if Frankel did get hitched, we're not surprised she decided to leave RHONY, because it would signify the start of a new chapter. Stay tuned.

Did Bethenny Frankel quit RHONY because she's embarrassed?

If you watched Season 11 of RHONY, then you probably remember Bethenny Frankel's epic fight with Luann de Lesseps in Miami. While out to dinner at a restaurant, Frankel launched into a tirade about de Lessep's supposed narcissistic ways and her obsession with cabaret, a monologue that ended in tears. The meltdown was a hot topic among fans for weeks, with Frankel having to address the controversy on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in June 2019. "It was an explosion and a reaction to many things, obviously," she said. "No one acts like that in any restaurant no matter what's happened ... There was a boiling point. But there was really something that I was observing in her that just really triggered me."

Although Frankel has appeared to move on from the drama, a source later claimed to In Touch that she didn't feel great about how she acted on screen. "Bethenny's multiple meltdowns last season were not good for her brand, and not good for business," the insider alleged while sharing Frankel's supposed reason for leaving. "She's embarrassed by her behavior. The show brought her fame and success, but she doesn't need to be on a reality show anymore. She should be on Shark Tank, or something like that. Not fighting with catty Housewives." 

We're not sure if we buy this story, but it could be true. You never know, right?

This RHONY star could use some R&R

We previously mentioned Bethenny Frankel's explosive meltdown during a fight with Luann de Lesseps while filming Season 11 of RHONY, but that wasn't her only breakdown of the season — prior to the blowout, she fell apart when discussing the potential sale of her Skinnygirl business. Through tears, the reality star explained via an emotional phone call to a business associate that she needed a break ASAP. "I don't have time to drink water," she said about juggling her many responsibilities (via People). "I want to get off this. I need a break."

Frankel then admitted to needing help, saying, "I'm realizing, I'm taking on too much and I'm burnt. We need to let some air out of the tires. I need some support and help. It's all been too much. I can't breathe." Given how much Frankel has going on, we would understand if she took RHONY off of her plate for mental health reasons. It's never a good idea to overburden yourself with work, right?

Beth Frankel's custody battle has taken a toll

When Bethenny Frankel returned to RHONY in 2015, she was in the midst of finalizing her divorce from her ex-husband, Jason Hoppy. As wild as it might seem, Frankel was still fighting with Hoppy during Season 11 of the show in 2019, as the two couldn't agree on custody of their daughter, Bryn. The long and difficult battle undoubtedly took a toll on the entrepreneur, with Frankel often breaking down in court. E! News reports that in one particular instance, the mom lost it during Hoppy's May 2019 testimony about sending his ex inappropriate emails and voicemails years prior, screaming, "You tortured me, you tortured me." 

Frankel also discussed how she felt about Hoppy's arrest for alleged stalking and harassment in January 2017, telling the presiding judge through tears in March 2019, "Until something stops, you don't realize how traumatic and damaging it is. When that person is arrested, you're sleeping better, you're not stressed. You're physically, more psychological healthy. You're not a wreck all the time" (via Us Weekly). She added, "It's like you can have a slightly normal life and you're more connected with Bryn because you're not in a panic about what will happen with the emails."

We're not sure when this custody battle will end, but we think it's clear Frankel deserves some time and space to heal. 

Proud mom Frankel wants to focus on her daughter

As many fans already know, Bethenny Frankel is devoted to her young daughter, Bryn. From celebrating special occasions together to mommy-and-me dates, the business mogul is very hands-on when it comes to her child. In July 2019, Frankel took to Instagram to reveal her plans to take more personal time for Bryn and herself. "Really taking this summer thing seriously ... I made a personal commitment to change my life, slow down, say no more, do less, and focus on my health," she captioned a pic of herself lounging outside. "Without it, we have nothing. I am having the most incredible summer with my daughter, the greatest joy of my life."

Frankel also referenced Bryn in her goodbye statement to fans, telling Variety it was "time to move on" and "focus" on her daughter. Considering Bryn is getting older (she was born in 2010), we understand why Frankel is eager to spend more time with her.

Bethenny Frankel suffered a great loss

Bethenny Frankel suffered a devastating loss when her on-and-off boyfriend, businessman Dennis Shields, tragically died of a suspected drug overdose in August 2018. Frankel was crushed by Shields' passing, sharing a heartfelt photo of him with her deceased dog, Cookie, shortly after his death. "Rest In Peace my sweet babies who gave me endless unconditional love, she captioned the emotional shot, alongside the hashtag, "#nowandforever."

Although Frankel has found love again and is in the process of healing, she admitted that the pain still lingered one year after Shields' death. "He was a loving, sweet, gentle, brilliant, complicated, hilarious, creative and supportive man," she wrote on Instagram on the anniversary of his passing. "He is missed terribly by so many but lives on in his friends and family and furry loved ones. I am a different person and in a different emotional place than I was a year ago, and the wounds have begun to heal but the scar will remain on my heart forever."

We can't say for certain, but maybe Frankel has stepped away from RHONY to focus on her healing. Suffering a major loss isn't easy, and we wish her the best as she continues on this journey.

RHONY's own Bethenny Frankel is busy running her charity

Outside of being a successful businesswoman, Bethenny Frankel is also dedicated to philanthropic efforts — so much so that it might just be why she quit The Real Housewives of New York. Case in point: In 2017, she launched the B Strong: Find Your Yes initiative, which aims to support "women who face crises on their road to success." Frankel later expanded her efforts to include B Strong: Disaster Relief, a program that "provides people with much needed gift cards, bank cards and critical supplies so they are able to deliver in real time," according to her website. B Strong also helps out domestically, as the organization stepped in to lend a hand when wildfires ravaged parts of California in November 2018. "BStrong is on the ground to determine precisely where to expend our efforts," Frankel tweeted at the time. "In addition to supplies and cash cards, pets are a particular focus in this mission. What a crazy past year this has been. Hopefully, the tide turns soon."

It's clear Frankel is dedicated to her philanthropic efforts and intends to put more energy towards this charity going forward. Keep up the good work, girl.