Bethenny Frankel was looking forward to a first-grade recital filled with music — not drama.
The Real Housewives of New York City star and her boyfriend of one year, Dennis Shields, had slipped into her daughter’s NYC school to watch 6-year-old Bryn perform January 17. Within moments, however, Frankel found herself face-to-face with Jason Hoppy, her ex-husband and Bryn’s father, who was incensed that Frankel, 46, had shown up on a day when he had custody.
According to a police report Frankel later filed, Hoppy, 45 — whose bitter public divorce battle with Frankel lasted from 2012 until 2016 — seethed at his ex and Shields, 50. “‘You can play your game. It doesn’t matter. You can get 10 lawyers,'” he said, according to Frankel. “‘There’s nothing you can do to stop me. You’ll be sorry.'” A source close to the case alleges in the new issue of Us Weekly that Hoppy also said, “I will destroy you” — and his ominous statement shook Frankel to her core. “That,” says a friend, “was a threat.”
Frightened, Frankel notified her legal team, who advised her to file a report with police. After gathering evidence of Hoppy’s past harassment — including menacing emails he allegedly sent to the Skinnygirl mogul — she went to the NYPD January 27. They arrested the pharmaceutical-sales exec and charged him with aggravated harassment and stalking.
The next day, a judge signed off on a temporary order of protection (in effect until July 27) that forbids Hoppy from having any contact with the entrepreneur. While Hoppy’s new attorney, Alex Spiro, has no comment, his lawyer at the time of the arrest, Robert Gottlieb, told Us that Hoppy “intends to vigorously deny these false charges” and says having him arrested was “unjustified.” Those in Frankel’s circle disagree. The friend says the single mom — who testified during divorce proceedings that Hoppy had hacked into her computer, secretly recorded their conversations and called her a “witch” in front of their daughter — was forced to take action: “It was a last-straw moment.”
Frankel was relieved to be free of Hoppy when they finally signed divorce papers last July. “I’d think, How could this go on for so long? Four years on a two-year marriage!” she told Us in September. Alas, “the divorce going through only made Jason worse,” alleges the Frankel friend. Since last summer, the Hazleton, Pennsylvania, native has bombarded Frankel and Shields with emails and text messages, claims the friend: “He was obsessively taunting her.” According to court documents, he emailed Frankel while she was at home at her $4.2 million apartment on October 10, stating, “You left me no choice but to go to extremes … to try and get through to you.”
A cease-and-desist letter her lawyers sent last November did nothing to stop the torrent. In her recent filing, Frankel claims she received another 160 emails over the subsequent two months. And, says the friend, she has the proof: “Bethenny keeps a huge binder with every single piece of evidence.” That may come in handy on March 13, when the exes are due back in court for a status update on the restraining order.
Those close to Hoppy hope he’ll be able to show he’s not the villain Frankel depicts. “This is simply a contentious divorce,” says a Hoppy source. “All these allegations are being overblown.”