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Bethenny Frankel has spent her summer where all fabulous New Yorkers head: the Hamptons! But Frankel is far from chipping in on a share house -- she bought a gorgeous Bridgehampton home last year, which was seen on this season of The Real Housewives of New York. She welcomed ET inside her house earlier this month, taking us into rooms that even Bravo’s cameras have never seen.
“I'm just happy here,” Frankel says of her home, which is almost 4,000 sq. ft. “New York is where I work, and here is where I really live. I feel very settled.”
The Skinnygirl mogul has spent the summer with close friends, her 6-year-old daughter, Bryn, and her boyfriend, Dennis Shields. “Everyone’s stopping by all day long. At any given day, there are at least five to 10 people,” she explains. “They just come in, they have a coffee, they take a swim -- it's just very easy.”
The décor is a combination of kitschy and elegant, with plenty of personal touches. In the kitchen, there’s a ceramic peanut, representing Bethenny’s nickname for Bryn. An art piece in her stairway spells “FAMILY”, and the living room bookcase shelves are covered with photos of the most important people in the 45-year-old reality TV star’s life: Bryn, her dog, Cookie, and pals like Andy Cohen and Carole Radziwill, the latter being an “easy guest” who had just come to stay with Frankel.
Two of the most used areas are places Frankel spends time with Bryn -- baking together in the kitchen and tending to the garden. “My daughter never wants to go out to dinner,” Frankel says. “She wants to have friends over. She spends the whole day in the pool!”
There’s a full guest cottage on the property, which backs up to a nature reserve that Frankel jokes is the “poor man’s ocean.” She also revamped an old shed into a poolhouse bar, where celebs like Christina Aguilera and Jamie Foxx have partied. It’s complete with a popcorn machine and one for snow cones too, and, of course, lots of Skinnygirl beverages -- including her latest, the refreshing Watermelon Lime Margarita. “It’s just unique,” she reveals of choosing the new flavor. “Everyone does the strawberry margarita. Watermelon is good -- it's great to have a little extra taste!”
The entrepreneur has come a long way from her first season on RHONY, when affording rent was a constant struggle. “Everything in this house I bought,” she says. “And I don't rely on anyone, so that's a very, very good feeling.”
But Frankel is still a bargain hunter, and a nostalgic one at that. Both her and Bryn’s bedrooms feature a wall of wallpaper from her apartment in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood, because she wanted to “acclimate my daughter to a new home and make her feel comfortable.”
Additionally, some of her favorite artwork upstairs is two paper bags that she loved and had framed. The quilt on Bryn’s bed is made up of some of her old clothes stitched together and the chandelier in Frankel’s bedroom cost about $100. “Nothing’s not a bargain item in this house,” she says.
That’s not entirely true, however. Nestled in the jewelry box in her master bedroom are multiple massive diamond rings, including her pear-shaped engagement ring from ex-husband Jason Hoppy. Their divorce was settled earlier this year, though not completely finalized. While Hoppy was a fixture on Housewives when the two were dating, Frankel didn’t bring Shields on camera this season. If she returns for a season nine, that might change.
“I wasn't really in a serious relationship this season,” she says. “If I am in a serious relationship when I am on a reality show, then I will choose how to handle that, because you have to address what's going on. That wasn't really the case while we were filming.”
Frankel calls this season a rough one and says she isn’t sure if she’ll go another round, explaining that the show “started out fun when I came back, and it hasn't been so fun lately, so I don’t know.”
On Wednesday night’s finale, Frankel will reveal photos of Luann de Lesseps’ fiancé, Tom D’Agostino, kissing another woman. De Lesseps and D’Agostino are still together today, but de Lesseps and Frankel’s relationship is a different story.
“Luann and I are nowhere today,” Frankel tells ET, teasing that the two have a falling out after the big reveal. “I hope that's she's happy. I really do wish her well. I hope that she will get there. I hope she will get married.”
“I think that Luann and people are more focused on how I used this information versus the fact the information itself existed,” she adds.
For more from Frankel on why she may not return to the show, watch the video below.