Bethenny Frankel Has Left the Building

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Bethenny Frankel Has Left the Building

In 2008, two things changed the fabric of politics and pop culture: Barack Obama was elected as President and the Real Housewives of New York premiered. But Bethenny Frankel, one of the last remaining vestiges of RHONY’s first season, has now joined the rest of that era as a distant memory you mention only when you’re high and commenting on the slow, unending passage of time. In a statement to Variety Wednesday evening, the reality television powerhouse announced she is leaving the Real Housewives of New York permanently:

“I have decided to leave the ‘Housewives’ franchise to explore my next chapter. It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women. With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”

Variety reports that the self-described mogul has signed a television deal with MGM for unscripted reality shows. Cable networks and streaming sites are also pursuing Frankel as she is (arguably) the Housewives’ most famous alum. On Instagram, she expanded her original statement with a throwback to her very first tagline: “New York City is my playground.”

You started this journey with me in my tiny apartment in my late 30s, wondering what would happen to me. I was broke, single, had no family and no idea what the future held. I had big dreams and I never stopped, but I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get here. You helped me to get here. I would read your letters and messages and grow from your struggles. You would give me your honest opinion about my products and projects and helpful advice about divorce, relationships, motherhood, miscarriages, health, and surviving the death of a loved one and almost my own. […] I had a beautiful baby girl who is now 9 years old, and she has changed me as a human being. I was able to give back and help people all over the world who have been hit with the worst of unforeseen circumstances, which we will all continue together. GO for it. Whatever it is. Reach for your dreams in life and love and make the impossible happen, because it can happen and it WILL happen. Come from a place of yes and it’s yours for the taking.

Meanwhile, Entertainment Tonight reports that sources close to the production staff allege her castmates learned of her departure from the press, explicitly describing it as “blindsiding.” Many, many Housewives have struggled to spin legitimate careers from their time on RHONY. Whether Bethenny’s renown will endure without her presence on a reality show that airs four months a year and draws millions of viewers—who knows! [Variety]

Would you like to feel old? Maddox, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s 18-year-old son, was dropped off at college in Seoul, South Korea this week. He will be attending Yonsei University to study biochemistry. Maddox and his mother were seen touring the campus, and even photographed by various students (who conveniently documented the experience on Instagram.)

Thankfully, People reports that Maddox’s university is “close to Jolie’s Cambodian home,” where the family hopes to visit often. Don’t expect Brad Pitt to show up in South Korea, though! Sources in Us Weekly claim that Maddox’s estrangement from his father continues after an alleged altercation on the family’s private plane. (Despite being cleared of wrongdoing, the event famously spurned Jolie to end their 13-year relationship.) Jolie even described her ex-husband as a “big yeller”—a detail that later emerged in many reports surrounding the incident. Regardless, I hope that living for a short while on the other side of the planet will afford Maddox a few years of respite from the tabloid maelstrom he was raised in. [People]

  • Barack and Michelle Obama are probably going to buy a $14,850,000 estate in Martha’s Vineyard. [TMZ]
  • If you’re ever caught making out on vacation after filing for divorce from your husbands, follow Kaitlynn Carter and Miley Cyrus’s example and send them “weed bouquets.” [Us Weekly]
  • Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom write love letters to each other on a chalkboard. [ET]
  • Uh… were the rumors actually true that Harry and Meghan might be forced to move to Africa, or has the British press spiraled into further racist depravity? [Page Six]
  • Lori Loughlin is printing this article out as we speak for her “meticulous records” of the college admissions scandal. [People]
  • Jamie Foxx moved in with Sela Veve. [Page Six]
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