Bethenny Frankel Announces New Initiative, B Strong, to Help Women in Crisis: ‘It’s My Calling’

bethenny-9ad1e6b7-24d4-4bcc-bb37-01bf7d6197fc
Bethenny Frankel Perry Hagopian

Bethenny Frankel is turning her pain into power.

Left feeling “beaten down and frustrated” after her bitter, four-year divorce from Jason Hoppy, the Real Housewife, 46, reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly that she’s partnered with Dress for Success to create the B Strong: Find Your Yes initiative for women in crisis. 

“It’s hard and I want to get off the ride, but I know that I have to just get on and keep fighting to help other people,” she tells Us. “You can easily have a happy divorce where you are still family. I don’t understand why this would happen to me, but this charity will maybe be the reason.”

Frankel says women have come to her empathizing with her experience, which included a 2014 face-off in court, and living in a hostile environment with Hoppy, 46 — who she wed in 2010 — after the divorce papers were filed. “I have had women say to me, ‘It’s been six years since my divorce ended and I am still being tortured,’” continues the Skinnygirl mogul, whose split from the pharmaceutical salesman was finalized in July. “It never ends, and I imagine there are millions and millions more than the women I have spoken to. I want to be a voice of empowerment.”

Feeling that it’s her "calling to help other people” in these situations, Frankel approached the organization for which she’s volunteered for the past three years. “I said, ‘I want to start a charity within your charity,’ ” the mom of Bryn, 6, explains. “It’s for women in abusive situations, women at a crossroads, women in dire straits financially.”

The program will begin in 2017, making life coaching, financial assistance and crisis intervention and education available to current members of the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group. Eventually Frankel hopes to reach women in the 21 countries served by the non-profit.

“The thread is women being open, getting counseling and speaking out,” the reality star, now dating banker Dennis Shields, says. “There needs to be a positive female conversation — for someone to stand up and say, ‘We got this.’”

And she wants to makes one thing clear: “This isn’t the divorced Jason story.”

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!