'RHONY': Bethenny Frankel Laughs off Criticisms of Her Boyfriend's Young Age

Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel quickly laughed off an Instagram troll critical of her younger boyfriend's age. Frankel has been dating film and television producer Paul Bernon since at least last fall. First reports of the new couple surfaced two months after the death of Frankel's longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Dennis Shields.

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Back on Friday, Frankel shared a photo of herself and Vernon together, enjoying some summer sun and wearing sunglasses. "I like me better when I’m with you," Frankel, 48, wrote in the caption, quoting Lauv's song "I Like Me Better."

While many of the comments were positive, but one person bluntly asked "How old is he?"

“He is 12. I go to prison next season. #watchwhathappens," Frankel jokingly replied, reports PEOPLE.

Another person wrote, "You should like yourself by yourself."

"You should like being positive vs negative," Frankel clapped back.

Sources told PEOPLE Frankel is dating Bernon in October 2018. He is the co-founder of Burn Later, a film finance and production company. The Boston University graduate also has a Master's degree in Real Estate from New York University and is a managing partner at Rubicon Real Estate.

“I’m a lucky gal. It’s been good. Things between us are really nice," Frankel told PEOPLE in April of her relationship with the Boston-based Bernon. “We’re together a lot... I have a really good balance in work, life, love. I’m really happy.”

The Skinnygirl mogul also said on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that her 8-year-old daughter Bryn is getting along with Bernon.

“Bryn knows him and loves him. They’re very, very similar people,” Frankel said. “He’s incredible. He’s a beautiful human being inside and out.”

The most recent season of RHONY featured Frankel trying to move on after Shields' sudden death at age 51 in August 2018. In one episode, Frankel opened up about feeling guilty about breaking up with Shields just days before his death.

There was a lot in my mind about him dying right after that. I could not get off the ride. I feel guilty that the only way I got off the ride is that he’s dead. I hope I didn’t have anything to do with him dying," Frankel said in a scene with a guidance counselor.

Frankel later told the camera, “Dennis told me if we didn’t work out, he was never going to be in a relationship again. He was going to be alone for the rest of his life. It was a tremendous pressure, and it kept me in. I don’t know what happened that night, and I will always have to live with that for whatever that means.”

During last week's RHONY reunion, Frankel said she was "doing well" but is still healing from Shields' death.


“I’m doing well. I actually think I’m doing well,” she said. “It comes in waves, there are delayed reactions. I really have moved away from it.”

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