Single Mamas In The Big Apple

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I’m a Bravo lover. Like millions of other Americans across the country, I like to decompress after a long day while watching reality television. Andy Cohen genuinely makes me feel like I’ve had a hug at the end of my day before I go to sleep after watching WWHL. To say that the Housewives have had an impact on our culture would be a major understatement. They have merchandise, spin-off series, even spoofs– I once had a small cameo in this hilarious RHONY-inspired video while I worked at Racked and it still makes me laugh hysterically. The twelfth season of The Real Housewives of New York is currently dropping jaws every Thursday night and since I’m missing my apartment in NYC quite terribly I decided to make use of my time during commercials and round up all of the incredible single mothers we’ve encountered throughout the series.
It only seems right we start with a little royalty. Bravo royalty that is. Countess Luann De Lesseps has been on the show since Season 1 and is a true OG of the entire franchise. The Countess has two children, daughter Victoria and son Noel, with Count Alex de Lesseps. Though the two were married for sixteen years, they divorced after two seasons on RHONY. LuAnn loves to do a cabaret and currently has a skincare line collab with SONÄGE with a jewelry line coming soon.
Bethenny Frankel, undisputedly the housewife of all housewives, has truly taken us through her entire journey. We saw her start out as a young go-getter starting out her Skinny Girl brand and eventually that included sharing her relationship with Jason Hoppy after they met at Tenjune nightclub in 2008. Even after she exited from the RHONY world (for the first time) we got an intimate look with Bethenny In Love and Bethenny Ever After. After a three-season-hiatus, Bethenny returned and we got to see a slight glimpse of the torture she was living in her marriage before it turned into a custody battle for their daughter Bryn. Bethenny was always very clear her daughter was her priority and ultimately left RHONY for the second time after Season 11. Besides taking Skinny Girl from a snack to a fully global brand Bethenny also is a philanthropist and offers disaster relief via bstrong.
Kelly Killoren Bensimon was on the show from Seasons 2-4 and got divorced right before her time on the show started in 2007. She and famed French photographer Gilles Bensimon have daughter Sea Louise and Thadeus Ann Bensimon AKA Teddy. The mother of two has opened up about her struggle with postpartum and why it ultimately led to her divorce. Today, Kelly is a realtor and connects with her fans via her podcast
If any housewife embodies the Upper East Side ideal that comes to mind when I think of the ladies of New York, it’s Sonja Morgan. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of the New York franchise of Housewives (specifically Season 11’s Berkshires episode) knows that Sonja was married to a Morgan, as in grandson of J.P. Morgan, and you don’t ever disrespect the family. Sonja and John Adams Morgan were together from 1986 to 2006 and had daughter Quincy. Sonja has a clothing line, Sonja by Sonja Morgan, and a shoe collab with French Sole NY.
Jennifer Gilbert came onto the show as a friend of Jill Zarrin’s in Season 3. She and husband Bennett Egeth separated shortly after her time on RHONY and she now raises her three children in New York City–daughter Blaise and twin boys Saxton and Grey. Jennifer has become a huge advocate for those with alopecia sense Grey’s diagnosis with the hair-loss condition. Gilbert has written her memoir I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag and is the owner of event-planning company Save The Date.
Aviva Drescher appeared for two seasons on RHONY with husband Reid Drescher (cousin to Fran Drescher), along with son Hudson and daughter Sienna. She had a son, Harrison, with her first husband Harry Dubin. Yes, that Harry. The Housewives alum has spoken about how she manages her blended family and how she only sees it as more love for the children. Aviva is the co-founder of One Step Ahead, a philanthropic group that provides prostheses for children who cannot afford them.
Dorinda Medley has been on the show since Season 7 and I often wonder what we did without her. She has one daughter, Hannah Lynch from her first marriage to Scotsman Ralph Lynch. After her divorce, Dorinda married Richard Medley, who spent many of Hannah’s formative years with her. In recent seasons Dorinda has opened up about how hard it has been for both Hannah and her after losing her late husband Richard in 2011. You can buy Dorinda merch from her site featuring a few of her epic quotes, such as ‘I made it nice’ or (my personal fave) ‘I’ll tell you how I’m doing, not well bitch.’
We first met Jules Wainstein in Season 8 thanks to Dorinda and I remember being inspired by how real and raw she was about her eating disorder. Her marriage to Michael Wainstein on the other hand definitely gave me pause and his controlling ways were painfully obvious on the show. Jules ultimately chose to leave for personal reasons and shortly after her time on RHONY the pair separated. The mother of two says it was during the filming of her one season of the show that she realized how “alone” she was. She is currently in a legal dispute after an incident took place in early 2020 and is working on co-parenting son Jagger and daughter Rio.
Barbara Kavovit was introduced to the cast as a friend of LuAnn’s in Season 11. She has raised son Zachary as a single mother since he was four years old. When asked about her decision to move into the house intended for her family of three with just her son in 2005 Barbara told the New York Times, “Things don’t always work out the way you want them to. You have to recreate yourself for the changing times. You have to be prepared.” The RHONY friend is a certified badass, managing construction company Evergreen, owning tool line DIYVA, and is the author of Heels of Steel.
Leah McSweeney is the newest member of the New York squad and has been like a breath of fresh air. She is unlike any previous RHONY Housewife and come to think of it, I don’t know any other franchise has someone who could be compared. The Manhattan-native has one daughter, Kier (AKA Kiki), who Leah refers to as her “best friend, soul mate, life partner.” She and Rob were together four years and separated when Kier was 2. They co-parent and share weekly family dinners. The RHONY mom is the creator of the clothing line Married to the Mob that will inspire you to wear one-liner shirts all day.