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Kelly Bensimon Says Bethenny Frankel Was 'Insecure' and 'Threatened' by Her on RHONY

·3 min read

Kelly Bensimon isn't mincing words when it comes to her feelings about her former Real Housewives of New York City costar Bethenny Frankel.

In the new tell-all book Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of the Real Housewives From the People Who Lived It, Bensimon reflected on her infamously tumultuous relationship with Frankel, claiming that, unbeknownst to her, their bad blood started before she ever joined the show.

"Bethenny and I had met before the show because she came to an event at my house. Bethenny was dating a photographer I knew, and she was his date," Bensimon, 53, said in the book, written by PEOPLE contributor Dave Quinn. "I didn't even really notice her, she didn't make an impression on me, bad or good — and I don't mean that in a nasty way, I mean that in a genuinely honest way."

Kelly Bensimon, Bethenny Frankel
Kelly Bensimon, Bethenny Frankel

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Though Frankel declined to participate in an interview for the book, Jill Zarin claimed the Skinnygirl mogul felt "snubbed" by Bensimon.

"Bethenny hated Kelly even before the show because she felt that Kelly snubbed her at that party," Zarin, 57, said in the book. "Then she got even more upset when they met again on the show and Kelly had no idea who she was. She didn't recall Bethenny being at her house."

She continued: "But Bethenny was very offended and treated Kelly very badly because of it."

Frankel did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

RELATED: Upcoming Real Housewives Book Tells the 'Inside Story' of the Bravo Franchise

Bensimon and Frankel, 50, found themselves at odds during season 2 of the hit Bravo show, and their feud would last all season long. In one particularly memorable scene, Frankel was heard calling her costar "Madonna" under her breath while discussing a charity function.

In an effort to try and get on the same page, the two sat down for a meeting that would go down in Housewives history after Bensimon told Frankel they were not friends and implied that she was below her.

"The second I arrived, she gave me attitude and I just wasn't into it. It was so tacky," said Bensimon. "Everyone thinks that had something to do with social class, but really what I said was, 'This is you, this is me, I'm an adult and you're a child.'"

Their feud would carry on until it reached a boiling point during season 3's "Scary Island" trip, which became known for the fight between the two women ("She's not a chef, she's a cook"). Many of the ladies suspected Bensimon was suffering from a nervous breakdown as she claimed she couldn't sleep because Frankel was "trying to kill her."

RELATED: Kelly Bensimon Claims Bethenny Frankel 'Didn't Care' About Pregnancy Issues on RHONY Scary Island

Looking back, Bensimon said she believes Frankel was "threatened" by her success — both on and off the show.

"Bethenny was just looking for attention. She was so insecure. Remember, she was the old guard and I was the new, pretty, fun girl. She didn't have kids. I was a mom with young kids. She was struggling in her career, I was accomplished," she said. "There were just so many things about me that — and I don't like to use the word 'threatened' because I don't like it when women talk about each other in those kinds of terms — but she felt a certain way about me that I somehow became her nemesis, immediately."

After three years on the show, Bensimon departed following season 4, while Frankel, a RHONY OG, left after the third season for a spinoff and talk show before returning for the season 7. She eventually departed for good in 2019.

Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of the Real Housewives From the People Who Lived It is out now.

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