Bethenny Frankel Was Soooo Smart To Get A Prenup
3:30 pm, December 24th | by Meredith Lepore
After months of rumors, Bethenny Frankel has confirmed that she is divorcing her husband Jason Hoppy. “It brings me great sadness to say that Jason and I are separating. This was an extremely difficult decision that as a woman and a mother, I have to accept as the best choice for our family,” Frankel said in a statement Sunday. The former Real Housewife, entrepreneur and TV host is estimated to be worth $25 million. The question is, what happens to Bethenny’s growing fortune in this divorce?
Bethenny Frankel has built a $120 million lifestyle empire in only a few short years. She only had $8,000 in her bank account when she decided to join the cast of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York back in 2008. She said she really looked at the show as a means to promote her brand and build a platform. At that point she had a column for Health Magazine and she was a spokesperson for Pepperidge Farm but “I wanted to build a large national audience for my Skinnygirl brand.” And indeed she did. In addition to her career as a best-selling writer she has branched out into skin, clothing and health products. Plus, her Skinnygirl brand is the number one fastest growing spirits brand in the U.S. She also nabbed the #100 spot on The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women In Entertainment list last year. “I have always believed in myself,” she said about her work ethic. “You treat every job as if it’s the most important job, and you will end up where I have ended up.
There was some mystery around the actual worth of the sale of her Skinnygirl drink line to Jim Beam last year. Originally the sale was reported for $120 million by Forbes but then it turned out that it was only $8 million. The company never divulged a clear number on the acquisition, telling Forbes it reported to the SEC what was necessary under accounting rules. However, Jim Beam’s quarterly reports gives an idea the company spent at least $39 million. In April of this year, market research showed that sales for Skinnygirl increased 400% in the last year which means Bethenny received a $25 million bonus. And let’s not forget her $40,000 per episode salary for her reality show, her talk show salary and the profits from her books, which are all best-sellers.
Clearly, there is a lot of money at stake. However, it does turn out that the couple signed an iron-clad prenup which will very much protect Bethenny’s fortune, even though her husband started helping her run the business. RadarOnline reported that the prenup clearly outlines that ALL of Bethenny’s business deals, endorsements, Skinnygirl, are hers. An insider said,”The prenup was modified after the couple got married, but Skinnygirl is and always will be Bethenny’s, and Jason waived any rights to it.” Good move Bethenny.
So what can we learn from this? Sarah Levy and Mari LaScala, founders of Divorce Concierge Service, a business that helps simplify the divorce process by clarifying the laws and the routes to divorce, said getting a prenup was one of the smartest business decisions a woman can make. “Prenups are a very economical and smart tool. It alleviates a lot of the problems that come out in divorces,” said Sarah. She noted that 50% of marriages end in divorce. “It simply outlines that whatever you earn is kept in your own name. If one of them does become super successful that money is kept separate. It can be very useful for people who want to start their own business.”
And prenups aren’t neccessarily for women who have already made a ton of money in their careers. Prenups can be a very smart move for ambitious professional women, especially those who plan to start their own company down the line. “People in their 20′s [who are getting married] may not have that much money at this point but people grow with their careers. If you think you are going to be successful and your husband does as well then this ensures that anything you make you walk away with and so does he. It is just really smart to do this,” said Mari.
Back in 2008 when the couple got engaged Bethenny said, “[Jason's] my anchor. I fell in love with a regular guy with a regular salary. He taught me that being taken care of was emotional and not financial.” But now Bethenny will be taking care of herself and her young daughter with plenty of financial cushion.