Sonja Morgan Says ‘RHONY’ Is a ‘Whole Different Dynamic Without Bethenny’
There are few Housewives in Bravo history as unapologetically themselves as Sonja Morgan. And the Real Housewives of New Yorkstar isn’t holding back when it comes to sharing the behind-the-scenes scoop on Season 12, along with her secrets to success as an entrepreneur.
In the last year, Morgan debuted a fashion collection at New York Fashion Week and began a partnership with retailer Century 21 for her new brand, Sonja by Sonja Morgan. “I wanted to give luxury for less,” Morgan says of the line. “It’s an international lifestyle brand, and it’s been so rewarding.”
In addition to clothing, Morgan also has a unisex perfume and shoe line, and hopes to expand into homeware at Century 21. But as fans of RHONY may recall, Morgan’s future in fashion wasn’t always a sure thing. “People were saying ‘you are bananas,'” Morgan recollects. “It hurt when [former Housewife] Kristen Taekman said ‘you’re delusional,’ like I didn’t have real businesses. Even Ramona [Singer], even though she’s my lovey-dovey, like my sister, I know she had some doubts.”
Singer apparently told Morgan that she liked her infamous toaster oven when their boat almost capsized on the cast trip to Cartagena, Colombia in Season 10. “Like it was my lifeline,” Morgan jokes. “My life was bigger than that toaster oven.” And someday soon, that toaster oven might even be part of her Century 21 home goods line.
Morgan has also recently made moves in her personal life, relocating from her famed Upper East Side townhouse to an apartment in Columbus Circle. Morgan renovated the townhouse with a more neutral white-and-tan color palette to appeal to renters. Even though her Columbus Circle haven has a fireplace and a balcony, she still finds herself returning to the townhouse to enjoy the backyard with dog Marley. “That’s been a lifesaver. As a landlord, I still get to go over there and garden,” Morgan says.
With all the drama in this new season, Morgan might be using that townhouse garden to relax a lot more.
In the trailer, her castmate Dorinda Medley is seen butting heads with Singer and Luann de Lesseps, and Morgan inevitably also gets involved. “Let me tell you, when Dorinda is venting, nobody is on the sidelines,” Morgan admits. “It has a real atomic bomb kind of range. We’re all very close and care for each other, so if she’s blowing off steam, there’s a reason and we’re going to get to it. Dorinda is bringing the heat and Ramona is later apologizing for it and Luann is being Luann. When you care about each other, you get to those issues.”
This season also marked Bethenny Frankel’s departure, a loss Morgan felt while filming this time around. “It’s a whole different dynamic without Bethenny. I miss her dearly. I miss being with her for five months at a time and solidifying our relationship and growing together that way,” Morgan reminisces. “But I can always count on her and pick up the phone if I need her. She’s always there for everybody. I’m just glad she has [boyfriend] Paul and is spending time with her daughter.”
New Housewife Leah McSweeney makes a splash in Frankel’s absence. Already McSweeney is shown kissing costar Tinsley Mortimer in the trailer, and Morgan promises this season will be like no other. “When [Leah] came on I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a real New Yorker,'” Morgan laughs. “She is born and raised in New York. She’s tough as nails but I can have really nice conversations with her that are bigger than just about us.”
Morgan connected with McSweeney over their shared love for philanthropy, especially in LGBTQ+ and animal rights. “My conversations with her are all ‘how can we better the world?'” Morgan says. However, she admits that McSweeney is a lot more “confrontational” than she is.
According to Morgan, all of the Housewives also have thoughts about costar Mortimer, with whom McSweeney locked lips. Mortimer’s engagement to on again-off again boyfriend Scott Kluth and subsequent move to Chicago has recently put her future on the Bravo series into question.
“So far, [Tinsley] seems ecstatic, and obviously being on the show, she wasn’t happy,” Morgan admits. “I’m personally so relieved [about the engagement]. That’s all she wanted was to be with Scott. She loves him and she worked very hard to be with him. She did it, man. I hope it works, I hope there’s a wedding, and I hope it’s everything she dreamed of.”
Morgan opened up about the cast’s onscreen frustration with Mortimer’s relationship with Scott, saying it was more so about her commitment to the show itself. “She always wanted to be with him. Our aggravation with Tinsley wasn’t anything about her being happy. We wanted her to be happy, but on the show we just wanted her to be honest with us and to be a friend. She wasn’t with us; her head was always with him.”
“To be on our show, you’ve got to be a real friend and you’ve got to pull your weight,” Morgan continued.
Even if Mortimer leaves the show for good, which seems is inevitable given her relocation to Chicago, Morgan stands by their friendship. “I love Tinsley, I’m like family with her. We’re always going to be together. She’s always welcome in my home, always.”
So what else can fans expect to see this season?
Morgan teases that their trip to Mexico is especially juicy. “You are going to see Mexico like you’ve never seen it before. ‘Wacky’ is the word I have. All of us together in Mexico is wack-a-mole.”
Plus, it seems that a new romance might be in the cards for one lucky Housewife. “This is my year to get married, number four!” Morgan proclaims. “I finally have my businesses where I want to. I want to start organizing some guy’s life, like where are his socks, where are his glasses, what is he eating today?”
But don’t worry, Morgan won’t be leaving the Big Apple anytime soon for romance like Mortimer. “I would never do that. I would never give up all my work for a man, no.”
Overall, this season brings a new mindfulness for Morgan, especially with her professional accomplishments. “I learned that I do have this inner strength no matter what ridicule I went through and no matter what an a**hole I could be,” Morgan reasons. “I had that vision and got through it. I was positive where I could have gone the other way.”
And like Morgan, this season the core cast of RHONY comes out stronger than ever. “As best friends making the show and also being together on trips for long periods of times, I don’t care how much luxury you have, you’re still in it together.”
Real Housewives of New York City, Season 12 Premiere, Thursday, April 2, 9/8c, Bravo