You probably best know Bethenny Frankel from her role on the Bravo TV reality series The Real Housewives of New York City and the many reality programs Frankel starred in during and after leaving that hit show. Or maybe you're one of the legion of fans dedicated to Frankel's Skinnygirl brand (though she sold the brand in 2011 for an estimated $100 million).
No matter how you know her, you'll soon see a new side of Frankel, when she launches a new daytime talk show, Bethenny, in 2013.
Frankel was born on Nov. 4, 1970, to Robert J. Frankel and Bernadette Burke. Her father was a horse trainer and her mother a homemaker, and, according to Frankel, she did not live in a happy home. By the time she was four years old, her father had left the family. And as time passed, he disconnected entirely, no longer supporting her financially or emotionally.
Within a year, Frankel's mother remarried. But that marriage was just as troubled. The TV star says her mother was regularly drawn to drink, and her penchant for alcohol would translate into loud arguments with her stepfather and, in some cases, would manifest itself as violent behavior.
Life outside her home was better. After graduating from the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she studied at the National Gourmet Institute for Healthy and Culinary Arts in New York City, New York University and Boston University.
Before she became one of the most outspoken original cast members of The Real Housewives of New York City, Frankel starred in a handful of low budget spoolers, including 1994's Hollywood Hills 90028, a spoof of the hit show Beverly Hills 90210, Wish Me Luck, a 1995 film about a genie on a quest to turn a college nerd into a handsome man.
She switched careers and became a chef for Natural Foods before the call of television lured her back. Frankel became a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and made it to the finals before losing to Dawna Stone.
Her strong showing and screen presence led to her casting in Real Housewives, and she capitalized on both the notoriety and her business sense. In terms of notoriety and fan appeal, Frankel turned her success on Housewives into a number of spin-off series.
Those series followed Bethenny's personal life. The first spotlighted Frankel's dating and engagement to husband Jason Hoppy (Frankel was previously married to Peter Sussman), titled Bethenny Getting Married? The next, Bethenny Ever After, followed Frankel as she settled in with her new husband and newborn daughter.
Frankel capitalized on her notoriety when she launched her own company, Skinnygirl Cocktails, in 2009. The company offers low calorie, naturally flavored drinks and drink mixes.
The success of Skinnygirl inspired Frankel to author of series of weight conscious books, including Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting, and its follow-up, The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life.
Return to TV as a Talk Show Host
During the summer of 2012, Frankel launched a pilot talk show, titled Bethenny. The show was broadcast on select Fox-owned television stations during the summer months to see if audiences would respond to Frankel in daytime.
They did. And the show received a commitment for a nationwide syndication run in 2013.
The show, executive produced by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, varies from day to day, showcasing topical news discussions one moment, then diving into the exploits of her family the next. In a way, it's a hybrid of Frankel's reality show background and new presence as a talk show host.