Bethenny Frankel is opening up about life after divorce and the lessons other women can learn from her own contentious split.
The Real Housewives of New York star sat down with ET's Jennifer Peros at her New York City apartment on Tuesday to discuss B Strong -- a crisis intervention initiative for women she has launched in partnership with the international non-profit, Dress For Success -- but she also dished on moving forward after her tumultuous divorce from ex-husband Jason Hoppy.
"The situation that I've been in and continue to be in is really challenging and it was unexpected," Frankel admitted. However, her own emotional struggle is allowing her to expose a truth about gender relations in this age.
"I think that society is confused by women in power and with money, and I think that men have to get used to that," she said. "I think that it's empowering to be self-sufficient. I think that it's my job to really tell women to not be dependent on a man and to go get your own."
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The 46-year-old TV personality stressed that she doesn't think there's "anything wrong with marriage or being a partner with someone," but people have to remember that you never really know what's going to happen in life and "women have to have their own lives and their own jobs."
As for her advice for other women going through a similarly difficult time in their lives, Frankel has some core tenants for dealing with emotional stress. First on her list? Get lots of rest.
"Making sleep a priority [allows] you be able to have, you know, sensible, balanced thoughts," she shared. "A lot of times women, when they're in a bad situation, they go out and they party, they don't sleep as much, they run around, they want to kind of distract. And I think that exercise and eating and being healthy kind of keeps your mind together."
Another way Frankel says she's been able to manage her stress is by spending "quality time" with her 6-year-old daughter, Bryn, whom she welcomed with Hoppy in May 2010.
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"She's very artistic. She's very creative," the proud mama marveled. "She's really funny and sassy and sweet and it feels like this is the age [where] it keeps getting better."
Due to the caustic nature of their divorce, Frankel said she doesn't like talking about her ex-husband -- mainly because "there's not much to really talk about" -- but says when it comes to co-parenting, she stops at nothing to be the best mom possible, and to make sure her daughter is "a very happy, well-adjusted child."
"I own my side of the street," Frankel said. "I am with my daughter whenever she's not at school [and] I work when it's not my time with her."
"I really kind of have two different lives. The minute that my daughter's at school or not with me, that's when I go and do appearances and do work," she added. "And then the minute that she gets out of school it's [playtime] and go see Santa, and go to bed at 8:30."
"So she's actually been great for me because I go to bed when she goes to bed so," Frankel quipped.
In fact, the thing that makes the reality star feel the most confident is when she's spending time with her daughter, "Just like, snuggling and laughing."
"When you do things with your kids, afterwards you feel the way that I think some people feel after they run or they workout," she explained. "You just feel good, you feel like, 'I did something great.'"
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Frankel says that her dedication to being there for others, especially other women, is what the B Strong initiative is really about.
"I've been partners with Dress For Success with for years, where I have tried to create awareness, and donate money and help them out," Frankel explained. "It is an amazing charity that people think is about donating clothes for women's interviews, but it is really about helping them get jobs, and helping other women get jobs."
"A couple of months ago I approached them and asked them if I could do a charity within theirs, called B Strong," she added. "For women in crisis, to council them... There are moments, crossroads moments, where people are really in crisis and it could be medical, financial abuse, emotional abuse… going through a really difficult time. It is really important to be open about it, and to talk to other people about it."
Beginning in 2017, and available to current members of the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group, the B Strong program will provide a multi-layered support system, resources and financial assistance to women coping with crisis situations.
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