Is Bethenny Frankel Exaggerating About Her Lack of A Childhood?

via Radar Online Does this look like the picture of a tormented childhood?

via Radar Online A curly-haired Bethenny celebrates a birthday alongside family

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.

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    • Shae

      Oh please. All of those claims can be true, even if there are photos of her smiling and doing stuff. Clearly this author isn’t terribly familiar with the dysfunctional childhood. Families can be pure living hell, no matter how cheerful and wealthy they look to the outside world.

    • Hannah Rose Siegel

      Hey Shae, I totally agree and actually said that in the article. Dysfunction can happen no matter what the outside appearance. If you go back and read it again, you’ll see I was just questioning her claim of never having a relationship with them since the age of 14, when there are pictures up to age 19 of her with her parents. See second to last paragraph:

      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.

      • nolalola27

        Yes, in that paragraph, you are only calling out the fact that she probably had a relationship with her parents after age 14, but the headline & the rest of the article questions whether she actually had a lousy childhood. Which, if she was unwilling to invite her parents to her wedding or to have anything to do with her child, she probably did.

    • Lacy

      Child abuse that occurs in affluent families can be some of the worst. When parents can afford to buy children “stuff” and create a smoke screen of care, it blocks the world from knowing about the emotional, physical, and psychological abuse that was really going on. I know. Just because you have a nice coat, sunglasses, and a horse, doesnt mean that you aren’t being horribly abused at home.

    • KernersvilleNC

      I can see perfectly about the dysfunctional family that Bethenny came from. I had the same, Hawaii trips on the weekends, Disneyland with friends, clothes shopping on an endless charge card. Looking back (Im 48 now), I would have loved to have my parents with me. When my brother and sisters were with them, we were put in the other room so they could party without having to worry about us. My mother and father didnt see it. They divorced when I was in Jr. High and things only got worse from then.