“I don’t quote-unquote know Erika Jayne,” the 50-year-old businesswoman says in Us Weekly‘s exclusive clip of her “Just B With Bethenny Frankel” podcast, out Tuesday, September 28. “I’ve met her and we’ve done this sort of Instagram thing and she was at my house doing the crossover Housewives episode. I have no idea if she knew [about Tom’s actions]. I know nothing about their marriage, nothing about their life. … We’re not all experts on someone else’s lives.”
Earlier this month, the former Real Housewives of New York City star made headlines when she alleged on the September 16 episode of her podcast that “everybody knew” about Tom, 82, and his supposedly shady legal dealings. Bethenny said that the former attorney’s financial issues were “a well-known secret” that she initially heard about from her late ex-fiancé, Dennis Shields, back in 2018.
As her comments began to make waves, Bethenny clarifies on Tuesday’s episode that she can’t speak to the specifics of the ongoing case. Tom and Erika, 50, were sued in December 2020 — one month after news of their split made headlines — for allegedly embezzling money meant for families of the victims of a 2018 plane crash.
“I knew that I knew,” Bethenny says in the clip. “I knew that I told people. This is about, like, some people you know, you know that their husbands are cheating on them … and maybe the spouses don’t know. Or maybe they don’t want to know.”
The Skinnygirl CEO argues that “we cannot know about things that we don’t know about,” but notes that it’s “alarming” to see so many people outside of the situation “piling on” the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star as the drama plays out on season 11 of the reality series.
“People are saying that she’s not being compassionate enough for the victims. I think she did the show because she likes fame and she wants to stay relevant,” Bethenny says of the Broadway performer. “She needs the money. … She’s on the show, which is not a great idea because they’re investigating the whole thing, but probably [is] something she needs or wants to do for her livelihood.”
When it comes to discussing her estranged husband’s alleged victims and their families on camera, the Big Shot With Bethenny star claims Erika is staying neutral “because she’s not supposed to acknowledge that there are victims because she’s not supposed to say anything about it.”
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart alum adds, “If I had a client who’s in the middle of something, I would say, ‘Say nothing.’ … And I double down on what I said before: the higher the lifestyle someone says that they have, the more you’re going to jump on and beat it like a dead horse.”
Erika has not been officially charged with any crimes as the controversy continues to develop. This season, RHOBH viewers saw the “Pretty Mess” singer grapple with Tom’s legal drama unfold in the public eye as her costars try to determine how much Erika really knew about the situation. More than once, Erika has maintained that she had no idea what Tom was involved in.
Overall, Bethenny’s “biggest takeaway” from the scandal is that people in Erika’s position could stand to be “more modest” about their wealth.
“People need some sort of a mea culpa … [and] there’s a way to say it without incriminating yourself,” the BStrong foundation founder says on Tuesday’s episode, noting that she doesn’t “feel bad” about her previous comments because she was speaking her truth. “We’re living in a crazy world and people are just out for blood. Absolutely out for blood. … [Erika’s] taking a real hit.”
The Georgia native, for her part, is prepared to share her side of the story at the upcoming RHOBH reunion, which taped earlier this month.
“She’s been ready,” a source previously told Us, adding that Erika is “looking forward to confronting the girls” and “won’t be holding back.”
Part one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion airs on Bravo Wednesday, October 6, at 8 p.m. ET.