Childhood & Early Life
Bethenny Frankel was born in Queens, New York City, on November 4, 1970, to Robert J Frankel and Bernadette Birk. Her father was a renowned figure in horse training and was a recipient of several ‘Eclipse Awards.’ His mother was an interior designer. She was the only child in the family, and soon after she was born, the domestic environment in the house turned hostile. Her father left her mother when Bethenny was 4 years old.
Soon, Bethenny’s father stopped providing money to them, and this led to a financially distressed time for the mother–daughter duo. A year later, Bethenny’s mother married another horse trainer named John Parisella, who was, unfortunately, worse than her biological father. John treated them poorly, and Bethenny watched her mother drowning in depression and getting addicted to alcohol.
Due to financial distress, Bethenny started working with her biological father at his stable. Meanwhile, she continued her education. Once she attained teenhood, her mother started moving quite a lot, and Bethenny accompanied her and changed many schools in the process. Eventually, in the mid-1980s, her mother got her enrolled at a boarding school to stabilize her academic career. In 1988, Bethenny graduated from ‘Pine Crest School’ located in Florida.
Although she had many interests as a teenager, acting was her first love. She was a health-conscious and physically fit girl. This made her consider modeling as a career option. However, she chose to side with acting. She studied psychology and communications at the ‘New York University.’ As soon as she finished college, she moved to Los Angeles to give her acting career a real shot.
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Bethenny landed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and started auditioning for small TV and film roles. Soon, she was plagued with failure. After quite a lot of struggle, she found work as a production assistant on the set of a sitcom named ‘Saved by the Bell.’ However, Bethenny was broke soon after the job ended. This made her do a number of petty jobs to make ends meet, as affording a good life in Los Angeles was not easy.
Soon, she began working as a nanny, and on one occasion, she tended to Paris Hilton, who was a teenager back then. Through some more struggle, she eventually found a steady job as ace producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s personal assistant. The job paid her a decent sum and exposed her to many industry stalwarts, which held a promise of a bright entertainment career.
She soon began venturing into business. She launched a party-planning business in the late 1990s, which failed miserably. She then started a venture selling pashmina scarves, which, too, did not take off. Tired of constant struggles, she decided to go back to school to get a specialization in gourmet at the ‘Natural Gourmet Institute’ in 2002.
She aspired to become a chef. Her own struggle with poor food habits as a kid motivated her to enter the culinary world. As a child, she had low self-confidence due to her family struggles, and this led her to become particularly conscious about her body, forcing her to follow extreme diets at times.
She graduated from the institute and started a company called ‘Bethenny Bakes.’ Her company provided healthy and delicious cookies and catered to lavish parties of New York City. However, like all her former ventures, ‘Bethenny Bakes,’ too, was a colossal failure, thrusting Bethenny further into heavy debts. However, her venture helped her pave her way into the American reality TV scene.
In 2005, Bethenny’s baking background helped her become one of the contestants on the reality show ‘The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.’ By the end of the show, Bethenny became one of the two finalists. This stint helped her become a household name in the US and paved her way to appear in more reality TV shows, such as ‘The Real Housewives of New York City.’ The hit show aired in 2008, and Bethenny was the most popular contestant on the show.
Bethenny soon became a highly popular face in the US, and the producers cashed in on her popularity by creating another show featuring her. The show was named ‘Bethenny Getting Married?’ and focused on her journey toward marriage. The show premiered in 2010 and earned high ratings, eventually becoming a hit with the audiences. The second season of the show released in 2011, with the title ‘Bethenny Ever After.’
Following the success of the show, Bethenny decided to utilize her image and wrote a book titled ‘Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting’ in 2009. The book was a major bestseller and ‘SkinnyGirl’ became Bethenny’s brand, with Bethenny releasing three more books in the years that followed.
In 2011, Bethenny came up with her most profitable business venture to date. She laid the foundation of ‘SkinnyGirl Cocktails,’ a drink company which dismissed the risk of gaining weight while offering its customers low-calorie alcohol with exquisite taste. Bethenny extended the brand and started selling women’s accessories and shapewear, under the same brand.
Exuberated by the success of her brand, she began her very own talk show in 2013, titled ‘Bethenny,’ which aired only for one season.
Bethenny Frankel married Peter Sussman, a Hollywood executive, in 1996, and divorced him a year later. In March 2010, she married pharmaceutical sales executive Jason Hoppy, when she was a few months pregnant with his child. Her second marriage was a major affair that was telecast on TV through her reality show ‘Bethenny Getting Married?’ The same year, she gave birth to her daughter, Bryn. Bethenny filed for divorce in January 2013. An agreement for Bryn’s custody was finalized in 2014. The divorce was finalized in July 2016.
She has been working extensively toward providing relief to victims of the hurricanes of 2017 and other natural disasters.