After leaving the Real Housewives of New York City, Frankel takes center stage with her spin-off Bethenny Getting Married?, which becomes Bravo's highest-rated series premiere ever. Chronicling her engagement, wedding and Bryn's birth, the series is quickly picked up for a second season with a new title: Bethenny Ever After.
Fortune Brands Inc. acquires Frankel's Skinnygirl cocktails for a price tag upwards of $100 million, and the ready-to-drink, low-calorie Skinnygirl Margarita goes nationwide. Frankel next launches Skinnygirl Sangria – but her success hits a roadblock: In May, ex-managers sue Frankel for a share of her multimillion-dollar deal. Frankel disputes the charges, telling PEOPLE: "Let's be clear, I'm a strong woman. I am not afraid and I won't be bullied by something with zero merit."
Following a successful summer test run on Fox TV stations, Frankel's talk show, Bethenny, is picked up for national syndication in 2013. "Hosting a talk show this summer and connecting with women every day made me realize that I have found my true passion," she says. "My heartfelt thanks go out to my dedicated fans who tuned in and helped this great opportunity happen." Following low ratings, the show is canceled in early 2014.
Following months of growing discontent, Frankel and husband Hoppy decide to divorce. "This was an extremely difficult decision that as a woman and a mother, I have to accept as the best choice for our family," Frankel says in a statement, adding that the pair is committed to co-parenting their 2½-year-old daughter, Bryn.
Frankel opens up to PEOPLE about her new life as a single mom and talk show host. "Men aren't a priority right now – at all," she says, adding she's handling her surprisingly acrimonious divorce with a simple thought in mind. "I'm not going to be afraid and I'm not going to get more than I can handle."
After saying "men aren't a priority," Frankel gives love another chance with financier Michael A. Cerussi III, with whom she rings in 2014. "Bethenny was with Mac and looked very happy on New Year’s Eve," a source tells PEOPLE. "They kissed at midnight and other times during the evening. They looked like they were having a great night."
The Skinnygirl mogul announces her return to The Real Housewives of New York City, four years after leaving it behind to pursue other projects, including her now-defunct talk show. "I'm excited," Frankel tells PEOPLE. "It feels like the first season when it was fresh and new and unknown."
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