Bethenny Frankel Dishes on Motherhood, In-laws and Her Latest Book
The reality star, natural foods chef and best-selling author soon scored her own spin-off, "Bethenny Getting Married?" -- in which she wed love Jason Hoppy and delivered their daughter, Bryn -- and currently stars in "Bethenny Ever After."
In her latest book, "A Place of Yes," Frankel, 40, lists 10 rules "for getting everything you want out of life."
ParentDish recently spoke with Frankel about her latest book, motherhood and dealing with her in-laws. An edited version of the interview follows.
ParentDish: What does the title "A Place of Yes" mean?
Bethenny Frankel: It does not mean a way to the power of positive thinking. It means a way to get there. You don't have to want what I want. It's about how to plow through and get there. It's how I got to where I am from coming from a place of yes. So many people told me no and how it couldn't happen. I kind of just knew in my gut that I could make things happen.
PD: There are 10 rules in the book. What do you think is the most important one?
BF: I would say maybe all roads lead to Rome, because people worry about the right job and it has to be the perfect situation. And all roads lead to Rome is kind of about getting on the road; it doesn't matter if you get derailed or have to stop, as long as you are moving forward, you can get to your destination one way or another.
PD: You talk a lot about your dysfunctional childhood. What do you carry over from it?
BF: I'm controlling and micromanaging and I have a hard time just being in the moment and I'm obsessive.
PD: You don't speak to Jill from "Real Housewives" at all anymore, right?
BF: No, we don't speak at all. Listen, I have boyfriends that I lived with that I broke up with that I don't speak to, you know. We met briefly before the show, but ultimately our friendship began and ended on reality TV. The way it went down was extremely difficult because my father passed away, I was in a new relationship and being pregnant. The way it went down was really not ideal.
PD: Do you think the housewives are getting out of control?
BF: I think, in a lot of cases, housewives get rewarded for bad behavior, me included. Reality TV is a stressful situation, and, for some people, they act in very different ways and I don't think it's necessarily ideal for everybody.
PD: How has motherhood changed you?
BF: My priorities totally changed. I wake up in the morning and the minute I hear her I want to run to her. If I go to L.A. for work, I'll take a red-eye and not stay overnight so I can come back and see her. I just want to be with her every single minute. I've been listening to every woman who says it flies by, and it really does. That will be problematic for me; I can already see that being my issue. I'm going to have a really hard time letting go.
PD: Your mother has said that you aren't telling the truth about your childhood. Does that bother you?
BF: No, it doesn't upset me at all. Did she have any idea I would become this successful and have an audience that listens to what I say and that I would write books? No. I feel compassion for her, because in order for me to tell my story in my book, in order for me to write about how I got here, I can't just leave a giant chunk of my life out.
... That was a choice I had to make. I don't really blame people for their actions that much. I understand why she provided photos of me to different outlets when I was younger. While I was in my childhood, I didn't think it was all that traumatic. It's just what I knew and there were a lot of really great times, especially with my mother, because we were definitely more friends than a mother-daughter relationship.
PD: Do you realize now that it wasn't a healthy relationship?
BF: Yeah. My mom was the cool mom. I was going to nightclubs when I was 13 and all that stuff. I was quite advanced at a young age. I heard every argument that ever happened in my house. If Jason and I are even raising our voices, I don't want Bryn to hear that. Not that I want her to think she's growing up in some perfect life or anything. It's just that I don't want a baby to hear any kind of raised voices.
PD: You also write that women should have sex with their husbands even when they're not in the mood.
BF: You just don't want to be the girl five years in, always saying no and in a raggedy robe. You want to try and come from a place of yes.
PD: So, do the producers want you to do goofy things on your show?
BF: Not on my show. That's why Max got fired (recently), to be perfectly honest. I didn't want someone who wanted to be funny and come up with quips. It actually really annoyed me. In reality, he'd be two hours late and he'd want to take a cab instead of the subway and I'm big on work ethic. You think this is a TV show -- this is my life. I get in wicked fights with my producers. There will not be a word out of place. If it's not something I said or did, it will not be on the show or I'll never do the show again. I have a serious foot-down mantra.
PD: I hope you're not offended, but I'm on Team Jason regarding issues with his parents. Your daughter is so lucky to have grandparents who adore her.
BF: I'm not offended. I do understand and I love them and they're wonderful. I don't need them to be here every two weeks staying over and vice versa. It's a 50/50 split as to what people think. Guilt shouldn't be a reason for doing things. I want my family and I have to have quality time, too. We need to have our own life. We need to have our own moments together and then share them with other people. I totally get where you're coming from, but it's a balance. Jason and his parents are very talkative and, on a TV show, that's really nice for an hour, but when you've been together for three days in a row you can imagine. That's fine if it's occasional, every week it's too much.
PD: How old were you when you got over your eating issues?
BF: In my early 30s. It was a trip to Italy where I decided I'm going to eat and my jeans are going to zip up the same. I'm going to have wine and gelato and that's where your diet is a bank account was born. Before this book of yes, "Naturally Thin" was my single greatest work achievement. It just changed people's lives. It's years later and it's still in the top 500 books on Amazon. I wouldn't change a word and it's years later. It just helps so many people with their food noise.
PD: Isn't it amazing that five years ago you were broke?
BF: Four years ago. My accountant came to me the other day and said your tax return in 2007 was negative $50,000, and it was way worse the year before.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.