Going into Wednesday night’s Real Housewives of New York season season 11 premiere, fans may notice a glaring absence among all the reacquainting chats and catch-up confessionals. As promised towards the end of the 2018 season, Carole Radziwill is gone after six years of holding a golden apple for Bravo’s beloved reality show. Radziwill's RHONY exit was cloaked in drama and anxiety amidst her lengthy, ever more confusing feud with castmate and former best friend Bethenny Frankel.
However, World War Bravo wasn’t the sole reason Radziwill, 55, fled the New York set, leaving a space for newbie Housewife Barbara Kavovit (who was once involved in a lawsuit with Radziwill). It seems Frankel’s frenemy left RHONY for reasons deeper than a simple feud — and those revelations perfectly explain Radziwill's current escapades far outside of the Bravo bubble.
Radziwill confirmed her New York exit back in July 2018 with a statement to The Daily Dish, Bravo’s in-house digital news site. The announcement heaped praise upon her producers, friends, and fans, but many focused on the declaration's true bit of shade: “I’m thrilled to leave frenemies behind.” Of course, the world assumed Radziwill was taking a shot at Frankel, whom she verbally jousted with for much of season 10.
However, the larger, less-scandalous portions of Radziwill’s statement seem to speak to her absence more than a single interpersonal dispute ever could. “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,” she also said, confirming an interest in returning to writing and TV producing. Before Radziwill, the widow of Kennedy family member Anthony Radziwill, was ever on New York, she was an ABC News staple and best-selling author. Remember, Carole Radziwill was once an international war correspondent.
Radziwill’s parting words weren’t the only time she suggested her reality TV present and lifetime values as a former journalist could no longer coexist. Three days after the writer confirmed her RHONY days were numbered, she asked her Instagram followers if they would walk away from a situation “that was forcing you to do things that went against your own value system,” regardless of pay. The obvious suggestion was that Radziwill was speaking about her show, which runs off of infighting. As she told OK! Magazine in September, “I’m not missing really anything [about RHONY]. The drama, the negativity.”
Another quote from the interview — “It’s hard to navigate [those] kinds of addiction and mental health issues. In the last year or so, it got a little dark for me.” — hints Frankel wasn’t the only cast member who inspired Radziwill to consider leaving the RHONY sphere. Countess Luann de Lesseps’ alcohol addiction battle and arrest were major storylines during Radziwill’s final season.
Now, well over half a year after the former reality star decided to leave the Bravo fold, Radziwill has seemingly avoided co-stars like de Lesseps and Frankel while focusing on the kind of career she has repeatedly suggested she desires. In September 2018, she signed with Verve talent and literary agency. At the time, Deadline reported the journalist had multiple projects in development including scripted and unscripted offerings, along with publishing opportunities. Since that announcement, Radziwill has lectured University of Rhode Island students about journalism, hosted her own mini Red Table Talk at Jada Pinkett Smith’s request, and continued her habit of tweeting about politics around the the clock.
Yet, the February 2019 death of Lee Radziwill, Carole’s mother-in-law and sister to Jacqueline Kennedy, led to the largest suggestion of what’s next for the Real Housewives alum. Radziwill wrote an emotional essay for the Daily Mail in response to Lee’s death that detailed their decades-long friendship. Both the story and Radziwill’s social media promotion around it confirmed the author is now working on a follow-up memoir to pick up where 2005’s What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship And Love left off. This new book would include Radziwill’s time on RHONY and beyond.
We would ask whether Bethenny Frankel plans to read the sequel — but it’s unlikely Radziwill would care.