Bethenny Frankel was brought to tears on Wednesday’s all-new Real Housewives of New York City as the next court date in her contentious custody battle with ex-husband Jason Hoppy over 8-year-old daughter Bryn loomed near.
The Skinnygirl mogul, 47, was on day two of her vacation in Cartagena, Colombia with costars Luann de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Carole Radziwill, Tinsley Mortimer, and Dorinda Medley when the cries started coming.
Though the setting was beautiful, Frankel was far from having a relaxing time. “I’m so stressed out, it’s beyond belief,” she explained to Medley.
Chief on the top of her mind was Hoppy.
The couple, whose romance was depicted on RHONY and their spinoff shows Bethenny Getting Married? and Bethenny Ever After, announced their split in December 2012 after three years of marriage and months of rumors that the two were on the rocks.
Though their divorce was was finalized in July 2016, the former pair continued to butt heads for years — Frankel bringing a slew of harassment and stalking charges against Hoppy after he was arrested for allegedly threatening the reality star at Bryn’s school and sending her hundreds of hostile emails and messages.
She was granted a restraining order last January, one that prevented Hoppy from contacting her or coming near her home and place of business.
That order was extended again in October, when Hoppy agreed to a plea deal involving a family adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. In accordance with the ACD, Hoppy had to comply with Frankel’s order of protection for six months. If he did, the order would be lifted.
Filming for the Colombia trip was happening in February. Frankel was next due in court in March.
“The restraining order’s up in a month,” Frankel told Medley on the trip. “I just got the custody papers to do the custody battle. I’m panicked about the restraining order being up. I’m just panicked.”
“I’m trying to raise my daughter. I’m dealing with a despicable custody situation. There’s so much going on, I can’t even explain,” she continued. “I’m going to explode. I don’t have time for any bulls—.”
Later, before the ladies left on a group shopping trip, Frankel had a meltdown.
“I don’t think I can go. I don’t think I can,” she said, through tears. “I’m under so much stress. I’m having a panic attack.”
“I’m just scared,” said Frankel. “I don’t want to go back to the life I had. I don’t want to be tortured.”
This being a RHONY trip, that wasn’t the only drama Frankel was dealing with.
The night before, she and her former BFF Radziwill got into another argument. Mortimer, who is close with Radziwill, planned the Colombia trip.
“It’s not easy to be on this trip with Carole. I’m having a rough one,” Frankel said. “I’m trying not to show it but inside I feel upset I don’t have the same friendship I did with Carole before. And this is Carole’s best friend’s trip. So it’s like their trip. I feel like a little bit of an outsider.”
“I’ve got a lot of stuff going on with my custody case,” she later told Mortimer. “I’m here with someone who I used to be very close with who I’m not close with anymore so that’s more tension and makes me feel more awkward. I just feel trapped inside.”
During the season 9 reunion last August, she broke down in tears about the “torment and torture” she said she’s had to deal with “every single second” since their split.
Among the many revelations in her candid conversation on the reunion show, Frankel said that the only thing that would free her from Hoppy’s alleged torment would be to move forward with a “zero contact” solution.
“Any resolution is legally mandated, and I’m fine with that,” she told host Andy Cohen. “I don’t care what happens, I have faith that somehow I will be able to live a normal free life. But it has to be with zero contact. Because with any contact, this will not end.”
However, Frankel insisted Bryn wasn’t aware of what was going on between her parents.
“[Bryn’s] very pure and innocent and happy and she doesn’t really understand what a reality television show is, much less the things [we’re] talking about,” Frankel said. “It’s extremely advanced and complicated. I live in a house alone with my daughter when I have her. So there’s no pressure at all. She’s very isolated in her life and she’s very happy.”
“I’m definitely at my happiest when I’m with [her],” she added. “She is the sweetest, nicest person. Just going to the beach. The simple things in life. Those are the happy moments.”
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Meanwhile, Wednesday’s RHONY episode ended before anything in Frankel’s legal life was settled. But in March, PEOPLE reported that Frankel was back in court.
According to Page Six, the judge ruled their current custody agreement will stay as is.
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.