The Spice Girls lied...friends do end.
It's no secret that the slow, drawn-out and emotional death of Bethenny Frankel and Carole Radziwill's friendship has been painful to watch play out this season on The Real Housewives of New York City. It's been a brutal game of she said-she said, and 15 episodes into the Bravo hit's 10th season, we're still baffled as to what the hell happened—and they seem to be, too. These were two women we (and presumably they) thought were impervious to the fickle nature of reality TV friendships. Sigh, we should've known better.
Still, with Carole making the latest (and biggest) move to date—leaving the show after six years—we couldn't help but re-examine their four-year friendship to try and pinpoint what exactly went wrong—and when it all started to fall apart.
April 2012: Carole joins the show for its revamped fifth season, along with Heather Thomson, who would become one of her closest friends, and Aviva Drescher, she of prosthetic leg-throwing infamy.
October 2014: It's confirmed that Bethenny will return for season seven after three seasons off the show (in which she starred on her own spinoff, Bethenny Ever After, before her contentious split with Jason Hoppy.)
At the time, Carole was BFFs with Heather on the show, and Andy Cohen called it "a coin toss" as to whether Bethenny would get along with the duo. (Spoiler alert: She and Heather did NOT get along.)
During the season, Carole and Bethenny slowly form a solid friendship, beginning with Bethenny's random emotional breakdown when the two go shopping at CB2 together. Though Carole, a noted non-hugger, didn't feel comfortable, she expressed a desire to help Bethenny.
June 2015: The duo go on a trip to the Galapagos Islands together, that wasn't filmed for the show.
June 2016: Bethenny and her then-new boyfriend Dennis Shields go on a couples' vacation with Carole and her boyfriend Adam Kenworthy to the Bahamas. Again, the trip was not filmed or featured on the show.
August 2016: Celebrating both Carole's birthday and Friendship Week, Bethenny posts a cute photo of the BFFs.
April 2017: At the season nine reunion, the rest of the cast accused Bethenny and Carole of being "mean girls," and alienating themselves from the rest of the cast.
Carole defended their friendship, saying, "The fact is in any group of friends, there are always going to be women amongst the group who are closer. And I think it was very obvious last season that I was much closer with Bethenny."
She continued, "Bethenny and I are good friends. I don't have to defend that… There's a naturalness in my relationship, in my friendship with Bethenny, and it's nice."
June 2017: Bethenny posted a happy pic of the pair for Best Friends Day.
August 2017: Earlier in the month, Bethenny used a photo of the duo for National Friendship Day. But the last one-one-one Instagram post Bethenny posts of Carole is on Aug. 20, which is a happy birthday message using a photo from the previous reunion taping.
October 2017: Bethenny goes on a volunteer mission to Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Her charity B Strong, working with Delivering Good, Feeding America and Global Empowerment Mission, helped to deliver, per info she shared on Instagram, "$25k in Costco gift cards, $25k in cash gift cards and approximately 15k lbs of food, water and medical supplies."
During the season, Bethenny revealed to Dorinda, who accompanied her on a later visit to Puerto Rico, that she asked Carole's on and off again boyfriend Adam to join a recent charity trip as a photographer. She then admitted she was surprised he declined after learning he would not be paid. She called him an "operator."
(Carole did not know the full extent of Bethenny's issue with Adam until the episode aired, leading her to write a scathing blog post in May 2018.)
Oct. 3, 2017: Carole re-grammed one of Bethenny's posts about her charity work, adding, "Filed under: Good Use of Private Planes" and using the hashtag #proudsister.
Nov. 5, 2017: Carole runs the New York City marathon, and when the episode aired, she expressed some hurt over Bethenny not being there to support her. Bethenny at the time said she was "cheering her on in spirit" because she would be in Puerto Rico (where she also celebrated her 47th birthday).
In a June 6 blog post, Carole revealed she donated $5,000 to Bethenny's PR relief efforts and asked friends for use of their private planes, adding, "When I ran the marathon she sent me a balloon, a hat, and a bitchy text."
December 2017: While viewers didn't see the falling out play out until May, Carole and Bethenny had their first major showdown in the Berkshires over what Bethenny said about Adam to Dorinda, leading Carole to reveal to the group that Bethenny called Luan de Lesseps "a loser." (This was weeks before her arrest BTW.) During this conversation, Bethenny made the argument that Carole had changed and only cared about clothes and selfies lately, hinting that it was really her recent closeness with Tinsley Mortimer upset her.
"In Bethenny's myopic world, she's the judge, jury, and executioner. Her narcissistic point of view doesn't permit any dissenters—only her truth matters," Carole wrote on her blog after the episode. "It's astounding to watch. Then again, in the post-truth age of consuming fake news, Bethenny's world of magical thinking will probably be rewarded with its own spin-off."
January 2018: During a chat with her driver Kevin, Bethenny explained she sent a New Year's text to Carole, including a photo of the two of them, saying, "I miss us. Why are you being so cold?" She then said Carole responded with, "Wow. That's a lot."
But Carole later explained herself, saying she felt it was too big of a conversation to have over text messages, and that Bethenny was also going off about Ramona Singer's behavior.
"To believe her story you'd have to believe I was the sh--tiest person on Earth," she wrote in a blog posted on June 13. "I may not be huggy, but I'm not sh--ty either."
April 2018: Carole opened up a bit about her falling out with Bethenny in an interview with E! News, saying she felt it was "a major disappointment."
"I never expected that to happen, "she said. "I feel like we truly developed a friendship off the show and then I just saw some behavior that I just didn't think was consistent with someone I would consider a really good friend."
While she wouldn't detail the behavior, she went on to say this telling morsel: "I am not competitive with my friends. I only wish my friends the best in everything and much success...I celebrate them. I compete with only myself, so it was just a little eye-opening."
April 9, 2018: The episode featuring Carole running the marathon aired, and Bethenny once again explained her absence on Twitter, writing, "This week
@CaroleRadziwill runs the marathon. This was my actual birthday weekend & I spent it in Puerto Rico on a mission. It would have been amazing to see. I have seen the marathon but never been."
Carole's response? "Thanks....you can still make a matching donation to the charity I raised money for during the marathon.
May 2018: As their feud played out on-screen, Carole took to her Bravo blog to sound off…and it was intense.
"When I hear a bunch of snide comments being hurled, part of me reacts with, I don't really care what Bethenny thinks of me, she seems so angry and unhappy," she wrote. "Relationships change. They ebb and flow over time, and friends ultimately show you who they are. I'm a grown-up, yet I can't help but feel sad that I let into my life a person who I thought supported me, respected me, and enjoyed me, and she has revealed herself to be the complete antithesis."
July 18: Following the filming of the season 10 reunion, Carole posts a "victory dance" tweet. Sources tell us, however, that Bethenny "decimated" Carole during the long filming day, adding, "It was relentless." Bethenny called the reunion "easy breezy" on Twitter.
July 25, 2018: Carole announced she is leaving the franchise at the end of the season.
"After six seasons on Bravo's RHONYC, I have decided to return to what I do best — journalism and producing. I am sure this does not come as a surprise to any of the viewers, all of whom have been supportive, encouraging, and kind," she said in a statement to E! News. "My original curiosity about reality television has waned over the years and I am focusing on TV and writing projects that better suit my more steady temperament."
Carole continued, "I have worked with amazing producers, made great friends, and I'm thrilled to leave frenemies behind. I will remember this entire experience with delight, humor, and a veracious accuracy. Next."
Those who follow her Instagram account also received a message when she posted the quote, "Didn't change, just learned."(In the episode that aired that night, Bethenny told Carole, "You've changed.")
July 27, 2018: Carole responded to a fan about her exit from the show, explaining that she the price she was paying was "greater than" the price she was being paid on the show.
A source close to the show told E! News that "Carole was completely over filming and being a part of the show and Bethenny definitely had a huge part of her decision."
To be continued...
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)