updated 05/28/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/28/2014 AT 7:45 PM ET
Bethenny Frankel faces a bitter custody battle over her daughter.
The entrepreneur and former reality star is seeking primary custody of 4-year-old Bryn, while estranged husband Jason Hoppy wants joint custody. The two appeared in a New York City courtroom Wednesday, and their very public breakup took an ugly turn as Frankel recounted Hoppy’s alleged words to her after she filed for divorce.
“He said, ‘I’m going to destroy you. I’m going to have you and your publicist crying and crumbling in a corner. Now you’re going to see what I was like on the basketball court,’ ” Frankel, 43, testified before breaking into tears. “He said, ‘You don’t know what it’s like to have a family, you’ll never have a family. Let’s go, baby.’ ”
Throughout the proceedings, the two sides argued over who would be the better parent, with Frankel and Hoppy accusing the other of an alleged thirst for fame – and chronicling its adverse impact on their child.
“Bethenny Frankel’s priority is Bethenny Frankel,” Hoppy’s lawyer Bernard Clair told the judge. “In pursuit of career success, she has used the child as a prop.”
Hoppy’s attorney also charges that Frankel secretly modeled the character in her upcoming children’s book after Bryn and arranged to be photographed pushing her stroller with a bottle of her Skinnygirl cocktail in the cup holder. By removing all of Bryn’s toys, clothes and stuffed animals from the family’s shared home, the lawyer said, Frankel is trying to “relegate the father of her child to a walking sperm bank.”
But the former talk show host tells a different story. Frankel says Hoppy, 42, loved living in the spotlight and taping their wedding for her reality series.
“We did not discuss anything being off-limits,” she testified. “He said, ‘I would never be able to have a wedding like this if it weren’t on television.’ ”
“Jason embraced family life in the spotlight,” Frankel’s attorney Allen Mayefsky said during opening statements. But ever since the marriage ended, “he puts desire for revenge over his family and child.”