Former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel opened up about how much money she made on the reality franchise. Frankel confessed she was offered a $7,250 contract for her first season in 2008. “When I signed on to the Housewives, the contract said $7,250 for the entire season,” she said on The Tamron Hall Show on Thursday, January 14.
Frankel added that while she knew the money was valuable in the moment, she knew it would be even more valuable later on. “I wasn’t looking at the money, because you can’t always look at the money” she continued on The Tamron Hall Show. “You can’t always look at the money, you have to look at the big picture, the other opportunities, you have to look at the whole board, not just the pieces — and the money was just the pieces.”
The 50-year-old entrepreneur revealed that she used her time on the show to help elevate her Skinnygirl business. Frankel temporarily left RHONY in 2010 after her third season. “I ended up being the highest-paid ‘Housewife’ when I left because I had leverage and I left [in 2010], and the ratings were affected and they wanted me to come back,” she said.
Frankel then decided to rejoin the cast in 2015 for its seventh season, but she left for good in 2019. “And when I did ultimately leave this last time [in 2019], people thought I was leaving because I wasn’t getting more money,” Frankel said on The Tamron Hall Show. “I was leaving because I was staying because of the money.” She added, “Nothing’s worse than staying for the wrong reasons…I was staying because of how much I was being paid.
Frankel Confessed It Was ‘Difficult’ to Leave
When Frankel did make the decision to leave RHONY for good, she acknowledged she was also leaving behind a serious paycheck. “It was a difficult paycheck to walk away from, but it really made me again hit my stride,” she added on The Tamron Hall Show.
Frankel elaborated on how she increased her smaller salary to one of the highest paid salaries. “I wasn’t focused on the money then [on the first season of RHONY], I was focused on what ideas I could keep, and that I could keep my business and no one before has ever done that,” she said. “And now there’s a clause in the entertainment industry called the Bethenny clause which means that if you go onto a reality show that the network takes a piece of your future businesses.”
She continued saying that being a Real Housewife didn’t help her in the long-run. “Doing the show that I was previously on was not really enjoyable,” she explained. “It’s not where I wanted to be, and it affected other areas of my life, just in feeling not good about myself, and then you’re stretched so thin you’re not able to focus on the things you really want to focus on.’
Frankel Will Star in a New Show
Frankel may be done with RHONY, but she hasn’t totally crossed off television. Frankel has a new show called The Big Shot With Bethenny, an eight-episode reality competition series on HBO Max. The Big Shot With Bethenny features contestants that compete to work for Frankel.
“So long story short, I wanted to find my successor, and I realized that that would be an interesting show,” Frankel told Variety on the concept of the show. “Because the No. 1 question that I get at signings or in my messages is ‘How can I work for you? I’m obsessed with working for you.’ And I think to myself, ‘Oh, God, be careful what you wish for.'”
She added, “People always say, ‘it’s not personal, it’s business,’ but for me, my business is very personal. So the lines are very blurred. And so you will have the opportunity to sit down with people at multi billion dollar companies and talk about brand strategy. But if my dog needs to walk, you’ll walk my dog. There’s nothing I ask anybody to do that I don’t do myself, even now.”