Jill Zarin: Kelly Bensimon Hasn’t Made Good on Charity Donation

05/05/2009 12:00AM



The second season of The Real Housewives of New York City is coming to a close -- but not before a major sparring match goes down between best pals Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin (watch the clip) when the show's finale airs Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET). And that's just the start of the Housewives drama: The ladies will come face to face in a reunion show (airing May 12, 10 p.m. ET) that is so jam-packed with confrontation that it's a two-part special. Zarin stopped by the PEOPLE offices recently to talk about the show and her latest project, a partnership with Kodak making Picture Movie DVDs for Mother's Day. She also revealed what really happened with Kelly Bensimon's charity auction donation and fired back at her frenemy Ramona Singer's husband Mario, who's been dogging her in the blogs (still!) about that ill-fated tennis match. --Brian Orloff

On what to expect from the reunion special:"I picked a fight with everybody. I called everyone out. There were definitely things that I challenged on to be honest about. The only one who I didn’t really challenge is Bethenny because Bethenny and I sort of see things the same way. And Bethenny has a very sharp memory. I would never go up against Bethenny's memory. And anytime anyone does, they've very sorry they did."

On LuAnn being separated from her husband before publicly announcing it:"I think she needed to come clean about her marriage problems. That was one of the reasons why Ramona was particularly upset with LuAnn because she was kind of living this lie and making Ramona feel like, 'I'm better than you.' It's like, listen, we all know what's going on here. Don't be a hypocrite, and that's where a lot of the hard feelings came from."



On Kelly's donation to her charity auction:"She did something nice by getting her ex-husband Gilles Bensimon to donate a photo shoot -- but he hasn't done it. It's a problem. He says he's going to do it now. We had to return the money, and if he does do it, obviously we'll get the money back. But I had to return the money to the family because I'm not going to hold someone's money. It's been very difficult. Her heart was in the right place, so I don't want to beat her up."

On her feud with Mario:"Mario and his big mouth -- he wouldn't leave me alone. Mario can't have it both ways: You can't be a classy guy like my husband and then throw darts at somebody else's wife. And also I felt like he was hitting me outside the ring. I feel like the show's the ring, like a boxing match, and I feel like he's been hitting me after the bell rings. And half of what he says is lies. Are we going to have a street fight now? It's obvious Mario is jealous of all the attention Ramona's getting. You don’t have to be a therapist to see that."

On what really happened at the tennis match:"There are things that happen in reality TV that happen for production reasons -- everybody knows that. Since we were holding Simon as the secret partner, which all the viewers saw, there are legitimate logistics to work out. I arrived on time with my family. They put the family in the tennis court area and held me back to the side. Simon was there. Alex was put on the tennis court. So, I come on and Mario attacks me like a pit-bull, saying, 'You're late, you're late! You're forfeiting the game.' But then I secretly say, 'Listen, calm yourself down. I've been here for an hour and a half. I'm just as frustrated as you.' Production didn’t plan it out properly. They messed up . . . but Mario didn't let it die there."

On her partnership with Kodak:"I am scarred for life since there were no pictures of me growing up. Call my mom Gloria. She'll confirm it for you! This is the root of my photography obsession. And my daughter Allyson was born with a talent for photography. She specializes in taking pictures of graffiti art… She has an eye for it. So, for Mother's Day it was a natural for Ali, me and Gloria to make a photo album.

Click here for more information about Zarin's Kodak partnership.

MORE: Think you know all the Housewives? Test yourself with our What's Your Real Housewives I.Q.? quiz! Bravo



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