She's been a reality TV star and a successful businesswoman, but one thing Bethenny Frankel has never aspired to be was a polarizing point of gossip. Alas, in the past few weeks, that's exactly what she's become, thanks to conflicting reports on the purchase price for her Skinnygirl cocktail line and a recent tale about being lost at sea for 20 hours with husband Jason Hoppy and her reality show camera crew.
The former "Real Housewives of New York City" star chatted with TODAY's Matt Lauer and readily blamed bloggers and freelance journalists for "irresponsible journalism."
"They want something to be wrong," Frankel said. "They want it to be that I somehow lied or cheated or I must have done something wrong to have this success."
Frankel wouldn't give an exact sale amount for her Skinnygirl line, but addressed the confusing numbers being thrown around, ranging from $8.1 million to $120 million, and lauded media outlets like TODAY, Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter as sources to be trusted with the right information.
"The number (that Skinnygirl cocktails sold for) is irrelevant to me," she said. "The least interesting thing about me is how much money I have. But when my fans are questioning me, wondering whether I said it was (sold for) ten times more than it actually was, I'm left to defend myself."
And as for that eight-hour pleasure cruise that ended up going overnight? Absolutely it happened, she said. The fact that there was a film crew aboard did not mean it was staged, and the film crew were hardly sailors.
"My sound guy doesn't know how to swim," she said. "They lost a lot of the tapes due to salt damage. The towboat man who accused me of lying has been put on a gag order. What he's effectively saying we called the coast guard ... without an emergency. I'd be in jail probably (if I had done that).... My baby was in Nantucket with a babysitter all night, which I would never, ever (do). I was hysterical. ... It's all a bunch of nonsense."
What she's most fed up with, said Frankel, are the lies.
"I'm thinking about my fans who I love and who created my success and who I have a responsibility to, and the reason that I've spent the last couple of weeks simply defending myself from lies is to speak to them," she explained. "I don't care who's writing garbage. ... We're in a world where people believe the last thing they see on the computer."
And, she added, her woes and successes pale next to news like that Giuliana Rancic shared moments earlier on TODAY: a breast cancer diagnosis.
"Giuliana just came out with breast cancer," she said. "Worry about your health and your family, and money is garbage."
Do you believe Frankel's take on Skinnygirl and her sea scare, or do you think there's more to the stories? Tell us on our Facebook page!