Bethenny Frankel shocked fans last week when she announced that she was leaving Real Housewives of New York. Though the 48-year-old didn't say exactly what caused her to step away from the show that made her famous, except that she wanted to focus on her career and family, a source revealed to Page Six that it allegedly all came down to money.
Reportedly, Frankel was in negotiations with Bravo for her ninth season on the show - the 12th season of the series - when things fell apart. While the Skinny Girl mogul was willing to appear on the show, it seems that she was also ready to leave if things during negotiations didn't go as planned.
Frankel "was confident there were options out there for her. She's happy in her personal life with [real estate exec and film producer] Paul Bernon," said a source.
Given her strong starting position, the insider says that Frankel offered up a seriously impressive number that Bravo would need to meet in order to keep her around, and when they refused, she left. In fact, she made the announcement that she was taking off to Variety magazine so quickly that her fellow castmates on the show are apparently still in shock, according to Hollywood Life.
"They felt blindsided and shocked with the exception of the couple she told," a source said.
Some of her castmates doubt that the decision was last minute and suspect that Frankel had been contemplating the move for some time.
"The ladies don't believe it was a last-minute decision on her part and wished that she would've shared with all of them as they were all under the impression she was coming back since that's what they were told," the insider added.A source close to Frankel said that the reality star wanted to be sure that she controlled the narrative of her exit and that she did it decisively.
"She wanted her departure to be communicated in her own words. This was a business decision and action, and Bethenny makes those choices on her own," the insider said.
As for what she plans to do with her new-found free time, Frankel says that she is focusing on her family as her battle to divorce her ex-husband Jason Hoppy and to get custody of her daughter continues. She has also signed on with MGM Television and Mark Burnett to create her own reality television.