Bethenny Frankel Sets the Record Straight on Her Relationship With Jill Zarin (Exclusive)

By

Bethenny Frankel calls reconnecting with her former Real Housewives of New York City co-star, Jill Zarin, a “progressive situation.”

The besties-turned-frenemies reunited earlier this month at Jill’s husband, Bobby Zarin’s, funeral in New York City. The pair had not really spoken since 2010, when the Skinnygirl mogul left RHONY following an emotional falling out with Jill. Bethenny tells ET the pair started communicating near the end of Bobby’s battle with cancer.

“I sent Bobby some of his favorite things months ago when I knew he was sick, and then I wasn't sure how to handle the funeral and the shiva,” Bethenny shares. “I wanted to sort of dip my foot in … I didn't want to intrude.”

“So, I went to the funeral, which was very emotional,” she adds. “I thought I would stay for 15 minutes. I ended up staying, I couldn't -- I didn't -- want to leave. I felt definitely part of it when I was there, and I, you know, definitely did know Bobby. I experience death in a very interesting way, because I don't have that much experience with it, so it was a very emotional week. And I think it was nice.”

When news of Bobby’s death broke, Bethenny took to Twitter to pay tribute and to share an anecdote she had just learned about the late entrepreneur.

“The first Housewives producer who found me in the Hamptons just emailed me to tell me that it was Bobby who suggested me to her for RHONY,” she wrote.

“I didn't realize how many conversations Bobby and Jill had had about our situation,” Bethenny tells ET. “So, Jill sort of filled me in on that.”

“The first thing she had said to me was, 'Bobby was so proud of you. Bobby loved you,’” she adds. “And that [Jill said], ‘I kept asking him to fix it, fix it. Call her, you have to fix it.’ And Bobby said, 'I can't fix it for you, you have to learn your lesson.' So, I thought that was really evolved and interesting and surprising.”

Bethenny says Jill appears to be doing “OK” following Bobby’s death, noting that it was expected and not sudden. Earlier this week, a source told ET that Bethenny “has gone above and beyond in private to be there for Jill since Bobby passed.” Still, the reality star admits she doesn’t know everything that’s going on in Jill’s world.

“We’re not in each other’s lives in the same way,” Bethenny says, shutting down reports that she’s going so far as to bring Jill meals. “I wish her family the best.”

ET was with Bethenny to chat  about her new Bravo show, Bethenny & Fredrik. The series documents her new business partnership with Million Dollar Listing: New York star Fredrik Eklund, namely the renovation of a luxury New York City apartment the pair went in on together.

“The best thing about Fredrik is that, he's a clown,” Bethenny says. “And it's hilarious. He really is a clown, and I mean that in the nicest way. I am an idiot and I am attracted to other idiots, and so we really couldn't -- we could be in the biggest fight ever and we'd start laughing. I could cry right now. I peed my pants multiple times. I mean, we laughed. How hard did we laugh? We laughed so hard. So, the most annoying thing about Fredrik? I'll be gentle. The most annoying thing about Fredrik is that he is a real estate broker and it is his job to always be selling. And I'm a little more direct and I don't like to sugarcoat things.”

Bethenny & Fredrik premieres Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.

RELATED CONTENT:

Bethenny Frankel Is Going 'Above and Beyond' for Jill Zarin Following Death of Her Husband (Exclusive)

Jill Zarin Breaks Her Silence Following Death of Husband Bobby: ‘Thank You For My Love’

Bethenny Frankel Gives Skin Cancer Update, Talks Return to 'Real Housewives' (Exclusive)