Jill Zarin: Getting Fired From Real Housewives "Felt Like My Funeral"
Jill Zarin's last episode of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City aired over a year ago, but the former reality star still feels the sting from her high-profile exit.
Fired from the series after season 4 along with Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop when the network decided to take the show in a different direction, Zarin told Bravo's Andy Cohen on Monday's Watch What Happens Live that her ouster felt "like a death."
"It felt like my funeral. I was heartbroken and I felt like [the network was] my parents and that when it was 'Bethenny [vs.] Jill,' you picked favorites," Zarin, 48, admitted during her emotional sit-down interview with Cohen. "I even felt [my dog] Ginger got it bad."
Referencing her massive spat with ex-BFF Bethenny Frankel, Zarin admitted that she played up the feud to help boost ratings.
"There's no question that I came into [Andy's] office and said 'We had this big fight, it's going to be great television, and then we're going to make up.' I really thought Bethenny and I were like sisters. I really miscalculated our friendship because we weren't like sisters -- it was a business relationship for her," Zarin said on WWHL of Frankel, whose Bethenny Ever After series ran for three seasons following her RHONY departure in 2010. (Frankel's daytime talk show, backed by Ellen DeGeneres, was picked up for a full season in 2012.)
To this day, Zarin wonders why Frankel was not willing to mend their friendship. "Bethenny didn't want me to be on her show. She didn't want me tied to her. We could've been friends," Zarin told Cohen. "She said 'We're done.' When she said 'We're done' to [husband] Jason [Hoppy on Bethenny Ever After], they made up. Why couldn't we have made up?"
Also on WWHL, Zarin spoke candidly about Aviva Drescher, Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson, the women Bravo brought on to RHONY to replace Zarin, McCord, Bensimon and Barshop.
Arguing that Yummie shapewear co-founder Thomson was brought on to fill the family-focused void Zarin left behind, the ousted housewife told Cohen she took issue with the way in which Thomson presented herself on the series.
"I'm about a family and the fans of the show miss that," said Zarin, who is mom to daughter Ally with husband Bobby. "Heather was picked to be that, but let's be honest: She says she's Jewish, but she never converted. [Viewers] never saw her house, never saw her kids -- how could she be me? You can't identically make someone someone else. [She's like me because] of her sense of humor, her voice of reason."
Continued Zarin: "You can't replace me! You can try, but you know you can't replace me."