Inside Bethenny Frankel's Relationship History

You don't have to be a "Real Housewives of New York City" superfan to know who Bethenny Frankel is. Whether you've seen her pop up on "Shark Tank," perused her line of alcohol (and beyond), or stumbled upon clips from her short-lived talk show, there is a good chance you have come across the fast-talking businesswoman.

During her time on "RHONY," Frankel was often characterized as "the single one" thanks to the fact that she was the only original housewife to be unmarried. And while she did spend many seasons after that first one legally single, she was rarely ever alone. In fact, her ever-evolving dating life was often a plot point in the series. What's more, she even put out a dating advice book titled "I Suck at Relationships So You Don't Have To: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After." Needless to say, she's worked her love life into her ever-growing brand. 

So in honor of our favorite Bravolebrity whose single days may finally be behind her if that whopper of an emerald-cut sparkler on her ring finger has anything to say about it, here is a closer look at Frankel's long and occasionally complicated relationship history.

She married Peter Sussman in her 20s

Way back in 1996, before "The Real Housewives" was even a twinkle in Bravo's eye, Bethenny Frankel was a real wife. That year, the New York native tied the knot with her self-described best friend, Peter Sussman. It's unclear how the pair met, but Frankel told Life & Style (via Daily News) that the producer had harbored a crush on her over the course of their friendship, and eventually convinced her to give him a shot. One thing led to another, and before they knew it, they were getting hitched at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles. 

By all accounts their marriage wasn't a bad one — Frankel only had positive things to say about Sussman as a person — just a little lackluster. She told the magazine, "I felt like, 'This is really it? This is the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with?' ... I loved him because of how much he loved me. I got married too young. I didn't wait for the great love of my life."

Unsurprisingly, given those sentiments, the couple divorced less than a year later. Sussman seems to have moved on just fine, having relocated to LA full-time where he runs a clothing and lifestyle brand called Under the Influence of Happiness. Sounds like he's found his own happiness.

Jason Colodne's company took issue with RHONY

It's unclear who all Bethenny Frankel was seeing between her 1997 divorce from Peter Sussman and her 2008 debut on "The Real Housewives of New York City," but, knowing her, she likely wasn't hurting for dates. Case in point: by the time she made her Bravo debut Frankel had settled down with a new man, financier Jason Colodne. He made a few appearances alongside Frankel on Season 1 of the reality series, but by the time the next season rolled around, their relationship was a thing of the past. 

Although his time on the show was short, it had a lasting impact on Colodne's life. According to Page Six, shortly after the series started airing, Colodne was fired from his job at the Wall Street firm Patriarch Partners LLC. An unnamed source said, "He cannot be on television because the firm is very private"; an attorney for the company told the outlet that he wasn't totally forthcoming about his involvement with the series. Per Reuters, Colodne went on to hit the company with a $55 million lawsuit, claiming his contract wasn't upheld when he was terminated. 

All that said, he landed on his feet. Colodne is the co-founder and managing partner at Colbeck Capital Management. Given that very prominent and public role, it seems unlikely that we'll ever see him on reality TV again.

What happened with Alex Rodriguez?

For years, rumors swirled about Bethenny Frankel dating Yankees shortstop Alex Rodriguez during her unsigned season (i.e., when she was in between dating Jason Colodne and marrying Jason Hoppy). It turns out, those rumors were true.

On a 2017 episode of "Watch What Happens Live," Frankel admitted to host Andy Cohen that the pair had gone on a couple of dates. When quizzed about the details of their fling, she largely kept a lid on it, claiming she didn't remember things like how good of a kisser the baseball player was. And while she didn't specify whether things between them ended amicably or not, we have a hunch there might have been a bit of drama at the close of their inning.

Why, you might ask? Well, that same year Page Six reported that Rodriguez had gone out of his way to dodge his old flame while filming a commercial across the hall from her Soho apartment. One source claimed when Frankel passed by, Rodriguez, who would have been dating Jennifer Lopez at the time, was desperate to avoid a face-to-face interaction. He supposedly went so far as to, as the outlet's source put it, "lunge for the apartment." This may just be us reading more into a situation than is there, but that doesn't sound like the ex-couple was particularly excited to revisit their short-lived romance.

She started a family with Jason Hoppy

At the end of 2008, Bethenny Frankel met a man named Jason Hoppy, and sparks flew. By the time Season 3 of "The Real Housewives of New York City" hit the airwaves, Frankel and the pharmaceutical salesman were in a full-fledged relationship.

Things moved quickly between the loved-up pair who announced their engagement after just 11 months of dating. Then, just a few weeks after sharing that milestone, the couple confirmed to People that Frankel was pregnant. She was only two months along at the time, and admitted that she would have preferred to keep the news quiet for a bit longer, but felt she couldn't after a blogger spilled the tea online.

Eager to solidify their relationship before the arrival of their daughter Bryn, Hoppy and Frankel tied the knot in early 2010. Their wedding was held at the Four Seasons in New York City, in a completely over-the-top affair that was chronicled for the Bravo limited series "Bethenny's Getting Married." After her big day, Frankel tweeted, "best night of my life," and fans were thrilled that the housewife seemed to finally be getting everything she had wanted for so long: a man who loved her and a growing, stable family.

Things with Jason Hoppy took a turn

As good as things were in the beginning, Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy's relationship just wasn't meant to last. By 2012, the couple had separated and Frankel filed for divorce. 

It took four years for them to come to a financial agreement, and in the interim tons of sordid details about their relationship were made public. According to People, Frankel made accusations about abuse and manipulation on the part of her ex-husband, even going so far as to compare the couple's former home to "a torture chamber" when speaking to a judge. Things were especially tumultuous when it came to agreeing on custody arrangements for their daughter, Bryn, and it was that particular dispute (or, more accurately, their inability to resolve it) that kept the couple legally married until 2021.

On her podcast "Just B with Bethenny Frankel," the reality television star offered her own perspective on why the dissolution of her marriage took four times longer than the marriage itself. "I am always very trusting," she said, later adding, "If I had known that getting into marriage was getting into business together, with a business partner, my eyes would have been more open." The pair are now able to co-parent Bryn in a manner that, as Frankel described on "Watch What Happens Live" in May 2022, makes her feel loved and safe.

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A rebound with Michael Cerussi III

It took about two years after Bethenny Frankel filed for divorce from Jason Hoppy for her to be publicly linked to another man. In late 2014, rumors began swirling that the Skinnygirl founder was dating businessman Michael Cerussi III.

The couple's relationship coincided with Frankel's return to "The Real Housewives of New York City" following a four-year hiatus, but she kept her new man far from the cameras' watching eyes. The why's of that situation vary widely depending on what sources you listen to. E! News reported that Cerussi never appeared on the show because he and Frankel were fairly casual and he had no desire to live the type of public life she did. Meanwhile, a source claimed to the Daily News that it was Frankel who made the decision to keep Cerussi off of the show because there were concerns about whether he was in it for the right reasons or just wanted to catch a ride on her fame coattails. 

It's hard to know the truth about the couple's relationship, but either way, they were done by 2015. When making the announcement on an episode "Watch What Happens Live" Frankel might have inadvertently shed a little light on the reasons for their breakup, telling Andy Cohen (via E! News), "I think people should be in relationships with people that really accept them and understand them. I think fame and attention and money does not bring out the best in everybody."

She hit it off with Eric Stonestreet

That acceptance and understanding may have been what drew Bethenny Frankel to her next (surprising) boyfriend, Eric Stonestreet. In a move literally no one saw coming, the Bravolebrity dated the "Modern Family" actor for a couple of months in 2015.

In 2016, Stonestreet made an appearance on Frankel's Sirius XM show, "B Real with Bethenny," and the couple discussed their brief, casual affair. The two public figures met at a Hollywood party that neither one of them had very much interest in attending and started making small talk. Stonestreet only knew her from her Skinnygirl alcohol line, and Frankel was under the impression that he, like his on-screen character, was gay. The next day, after an assistant told her that Stonestreet was, in fact, straight, their banter took on a whole new meaning for Frankel who then agreed to a lunch date.

They were spotted together a number of times over the following months — having lunch, going for neighborhood walks, and attending baseball games — but it seems things never really got off the ground for the couple. But that's not to say things ended poorly for the two public figures. As Stonestreet said on a 2017 episode of "Watch What Happens Live," "I think we both decided that we make much better friends." 

A rumored thing with Marcus Lemonis

Following her split from the "Modern Family" actor, Bethenny Frankel began another casual relationship with "The Profit" host Marcus Lemonis. Us Weekly broke the news initially, with a tipster telling the outlet, "They met over the summer and have been seeing each other. He's really smart, successful, and so nice. They really like each other."

On the surface, the two seemed to have quite a bit in common: both are well-followed TV personalities, entrepreneurs, tough-talkers, "The Apprentice" veterans, and avid social media users. In fact, it may have been a Twitter interaction, rather than an in-person introduction, that put them on each other's radars. A month before dating reports broke, Frankel tweeted, "Couldn't sleep. Found Marcus Lemonis on 'The Profit' CNBC. I like him & his way of doing business." He replied swiftly, inviting Frankel to an event.

Despite how perfect they may have seemed on paper, the couple didn't last long, and by all accounts, it only took a few months for things to fizzle out between them. This may have been because Frankel wasn't looking to get serious with anyone — she told E! News a few months prior that she was dating and having a great time, working all her burners but not seeing anyone seriously — or because Lemonis was still married to his first wife (their divorce wasn't finalized until 2018), and not in a place to really settle down.

She royally connected with Trevor Engelson

Being the Queen of Bravo may be an unofficial position, but that doesn't mean titleholder Bethenny Frankel doesn't have things in common with real-life royalty. Or at the very least, one six-foot-something, blond, blue-eyed thing.

Sometime in 2015 or 2016 (the timeline is a little unclear), Frankel went on a date with Meghan Markle's ex-husband, Trevor Engelson. At that point, Engelson had been divorced from the "Suits" star for years, but as the future Duchess of Sussex had yet to, you know, marry Prince Harry, Engelson wasn't quite as well-known as he is now. That made it a lot easier for his and Frankel's relationship to fly right under the public's radar. 

According to an interview she gave on the "Kyle and Jackie O Show," Frankel had a brief thing with Engelson. While she said she and the producer connected both professionally and personally, things fizzled out before they could get too serious. That might be for the best, though, as Frankel tweeted some unkind things about Markle later on. We have to imagine that would have caused some tension between her and Engelson if they had decided to pursue a relationship.

Her relationship with Dennis Shields ended in tragedy

In 2018, tragedy struck when Bethenny Frankel's partner of two years, Dennis Shields, died unexpectedly. As the reality star told People, they first crossed paths when Shields married someone she knew from high school in the early '90s, but they didn't start dating until after he and his wife separated in 2016.

On "The Real Housewives of New York City," Frankel often discussed the pair's on-again, off-again relationship, admitting that it was far from perfect but also delighting in the love, trust, and history they shared. In a scene depicted on the show, shot in the months leading up to his death, Shields proposed to Frankel, and while she never gave him a clear yes (quipping instead that some conditions had to be met and changes made before they could take things further) she wore his ring for months.

Her emotions surrounding his death were made all the more complicated when she admitted in a "RHONY" confessional that she had been considering ending things with him right before he passed. In the end, her indecision over where their relationship was headed seems to haunt her a bit. As per People's recap, she told the cameras, "He was really someone that I went to for everything. So him being gone is a massive void. I really can't believe he's gone." 

She found love again with Paul Bernon

As of this writing, Bethenny Frankel is engaged to film producer Paul Bernon. The couple met on a dating app in 2018, and, following a brief split, got engaged in early 2021.

For those who have been following Frankel for years, the relationship may feel surprising. Bernon is a fairly private person, but from the few glimpses we have had of him, he seems pretty low-key and laid back, which aren't exactly words you'd use to describe Frankel. But according to her, that's exactly why they make such a good match. During a 2019 appearance on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," Frankel told the daytime hosts, "I'm happy in a way that is different. Not a high or a low, just a balance, which if you know my personality at all, it's not often balanced. But I just feel balanced and healthy."

While the pair have yet to set a wedding date, they seem incredibly happy and are reportedly very in love. In fact, Frankel herself told ET in March 2022, "We are happy with where we are. We're honestly just so happy that we're being in the moment." So here's to hoping our favorite housewife finally gets that happily ever after she so deserves.