‘Wives’ Tales: The Skinny on Bethenny?



Desperate "Housewife"? Certainly not for attention; Bethenny Frankel has all she can handle: ex-"Real Housewives of New York" co-star Jill Zarin; star of "Bethenny Getting Married?" (she did! she did!); entrepreneur ("The Skinnygirl Margarita"); author (Skinnygirl series); and columnist (Healthmagazine; contributing editor, OK!)

OK, what's the skinny on Bethenny, this much publicized — sometimes vilified — gorgeous runner-up on both "Skating With the Stars" and "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," but second to none on tabloid tidbits and with gossip gurus?

Do tell — and she will — this weekend, when the native New Yorker brings her new one-woman show of gossip and good health to the Merriam Theatre www.kimmelcenter.org, in Center City, where she invites fans to "throw on your best pumps."

But pump her on her inbred imbroglios with Zarin? Bring out the flats. No, she says flatly, she won't get into that.

She's about into everything else as the 40-year-old beauty, once a production assistant for TV's "Saved by the Bell," is saving the best for the stage.

A Place of Yes may be more than the title of her upcoming book; it's a place she finds herself now, "having the best time of my life."

She's happily (second time around) married since last year to Jason Hoppy — "He drives me crazy!" she says joyously.

And she's says she's having a ball doling out advice on "being the best soccer mom" and warning women about "taking on too much" — an irony, she concedes, given that her career's a well-built billboard for abundance.

"I run life like a horse race," she says, more winner than whinny, which is telling coming from a woman whose dad, Robert Frankel, was a prominent horse trainer inducted into the National Museum of Racing.

Her own gallop poll places her in first; because "like in horse racing, second means nothing," she avers of what her father always taught her. "You go to win."

But Daddy's little girl doesn't have such dear memories of growing up little Bethenny.

"He never gave me acknowledgment for my achievements," she remembers. "And I was always seeking his approval."

If she's looking for a thumbs up, there may be some who think she should forget thumbs and worry about sticking her foot in her mouth. Faithful "Real Housewives" fans got a real Jewish jolt when Frankel — whose father was Jewish and whose mother converted to Judaism when they got married — seemed to disavow her religion right there on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens!" on Bravo.

Listen to what happened: She caused a mini-tempest in a decaffeinated teapot, claiming, despite her being born to Jewish parents, "I don't think of myself as Jewish."

It was a misunderstanding, an old "Wives" tale, says Frankel, who concedes she's not a religious person, but celebrated going to temple as well as Jewish holidays (and Christmas; her stepfather is Christian) as she grew up.

"But, I am technically Jewish, and I do identify with Jewish culture — I'm a Jewish New Yorker!"

Thoroughly thinking of herself as a thoroughbred, she's off — and running — and riffing: "I'm about to hit the first [leg] of the triple crown!" she says of her can do, rather than can't, career — now on track for the Merriam appearance.


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