Bethenny Frankel has made a career of living in the public eye. Now, she’s defending her social media habits in court.
As In Touch Weekly reports, the Real Housewives of New York star has spent the last several days testifying in a custody hearing regarding her 9-year-old daughter, Bryn. According to Radar Online, Frankel is suing ex-husband Jason Hoppy for full custody of their daughter.
In her opening statement, Frankel described Hoppy’s behavior since their divorce as controlling, hovering, “abusive,” and harmful to their daughter. She described his style of fatherhood as over-involved, “competitive parenting.”
On May 14, Hoppy’s attorney hit back at Frankel by questioning the reality star’s habit of posting her life on social media. The attorney pointed to an Instagram Story Frankel made in October 2017, when her dog, Cookie, had a seizure. Frankel and her daughter took the dog to the animal hospital, where it died a few days later.
The attorney asked Frankel why she was posting about such an emotional situation online — especially while it was still happening and involved her daughter.
Frankel mentioned wanting advice, to which the lawyer responded:
“But if you were at the hospital already, what advice do you need? You posted a video of you sobbing there?”
As Radar Online reports, when Frankel explained that she was looking for advice for how to talk to her daughter about the situation, the lawyer asked:
“Isn’t a fact that you would rather take advice from 2 million followers then Jason?”
The judge didn’t require Frankel to respond to that question.
The attorney later suggested Frankel was trying to get parenting advice from strangers online, which Frankel said wasn’t accurate. Rather, she was grateful to people for making suggestions about how to talk about “the rainbow bridge.” She explained:
“Because now Bryn thinks [deceased family friend] and Cookie are together in heaven. So people give you advice. They helped me understand how to deal with this and approach Bryn.”
While Frankel described her posts as a way to reach out and talk to others, Hoppy’s lawyer wondered whether the Real Housewife was trying to exploit the situation or get attention, both of which she denied.
However, one question from the attorney provoked Frankel into discussing why posting on social media is essential to her career and her family’s welfare.
When the attorney asked, “Why do you feel the need to share [your] personal life each time with your 2 million followers?” Frankel responded that this is how she pays the bills, even her ex-husband’s attorney fees:
“I know a lot of my fans. I do a lot of book signings. They help support me, and they help me pay Jason’s rent, and they are the people that are allowing me to stand on my own two feet. That’s how I made money to pay Jason millions of dollars. That’s how he is paying your legal bills. That’s why you have this job right now. That’s how Jason can afford his rent, and that’s how I can afford my rent and support my daughter.”
While Frankel is seeking sole custody of their daughter, Hoppy wishes to maintain the current joint custody arrangement.