Bethenny Frankel has claimed that she had a dysfunctional childhood in every season of Real Housewives of New York. In one episode, she says, “I was raised in a cave…by wolves.” Bethenny made it seem as though she had to fend for herself from birth. She even went so far as to not invite a single family member to her wedding. In a People magazine exclusive this summer, Bethenny dished on her childhood, saying, of her mother, “She was never a mother to me.” Bethenny goes on to recall an adolescence in which her mother was constantly drinking, binging and purging, smashing things, behaving erractically, and having explosive arguments with her stepfather. Although Bethenny is prone to hyperbole, viewers didn’t question her recollection of her childhood, because they assumed if someone would make such horrific claims about her own family, the stories must be true.
However, Bethenny’s estranged mother, Bernadette Birk, tells a different story. Bernadette told Radar Online, “I was a stay-at-home mother and didn’t go back until she started boarding school.” Bernadette also goes on to say, “”The last time I spoke to her was 10 years ago when she borrowed my car and then demolished it and she left it in her boyfriend’s lot and it got stripped… I called her to tell her and she started yelling at me and hung up… and we have never spoken since.”
At the very least, it seems that Bethenny was exaggerating about a completely unsurpervised childhood. Radar Online just posted over thirty exclusive photos from her childhood, in which she is featured riding horses, hugging her grandmother, celebrating her birthday with her family members, skiing with her mother and friends as a teenager, and basically looking like she’s living a privileged, somewhat happy life. Although all the stories of alcoholism, bulemia, and a dirth of love in the home might be true, she cannot claim, as she has on her show, that she has not had a relationship with her parents since she left for boarding school at age 14. In fact, one writer recalls attending the Sweet Sixteen party that Bethenny’s parents had thrown for her, on a “huge party boat” on the South Shore of Long Island.
I’m anticipating Bethenny’s replies to her mother’s claims. I’m sure the true is somewhere in the middle of both of their stories; I just wonder what the truth is.