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What Does Tinsley Mortimer’s Big Break-Up Mean For Real Housewives Of New York

screenshot Tinsley Mortimer Real Housewives of New York
(Image credit: Bravo/Watch What Happens Live)

Somewhere in the distance, probably in the Berkshires, Dorinda Medley is probably cackling her head off. Her former castmate/frenemy Tinsley Mortimer ended her long engagement with CouponCabin CEO Scott Kluth. Now the big question on everyone’s mind should be: what could this big breakup mean for The Real Housewives of New York?

Tinsley Mortimer joined the reality franchise in 2017 after a stint in jail and a longtime reputation as a New York City “It” girl. When she left in 2020, she did so with a bang: mid-contract and soon to be married to the man of her dreams. With the news of her breakup, however, it is likely the franchise will bring Mortimer back into the Real Housewives of New York fold. Let's explore the possibilities.

All reality shows thrive off drama, but the Real Housewives franchise has made it an art form to systemically track the rise and fall of the women on its platform. One minute you're the hero and by the next season, you're the villain. Tinsley Mortimer's breakup situation is the perfect opportunity for both herself and Bravo to carve out a new niche in their dramatic narrative.

During most of her time on the Real Housewives of New York, Tinsley Mortimer's storyline revolved around her on-again off-again relationship with Scott Kluth. This was much to the chagrin and annoyance of the other women (mostly Dorinda Medley) who saw Mortimer as putting on a facade and wanting to “play house.” Bringing Mortimer back for another season would allow Bravo to feed off this drama and dig deeper into the hows and whys of what happened.

In his statement to People, Scott Kluth didn’t give much away, saying,

After fourteen months of engagement, Tinsley and I have ended our relationship, and we have been living independently for the last few months. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but it is one that I believe is best for both of us. I will always care about Tinsley and I sincerely wish her happiness and success in all that she does in the future.

Perhaps if Tinsley Mortimer returns to The Real Housewives of New York, it would allow her a chance to explain her side of things. Moreover, it could shift the perception by her castmates and fans that she was being purposefully obtuse for the sake of her relationship.

There is also clear precedent for Tinsley Mortimer's likely return to The Real Housewives of New York post-breakup. Many housewives come in and out of seasons, usually following huge drama moments just like Mortimer’s. Bethenny Frankel has come and gone so often that I frequently still think of her as a cast member.

On the reverse side, though, the Bravo network and its fans might still be a little too salty to allow Tinsley Mortimer to return if she wanted to. Certainly, there was bad blood after Mortimer decided to up and quit the show before the end of Season 12. But also, Mortimer wasn't exactly embraced by fans. The overall perception of her was one of exasperation – mostly for her boring storylines and willingness to jump ship so quickly.

My vote is that Tinsley Mortimer will be brought back but is unlikely to move the dial in terms of her story. Who knows, though, maybe she will join up with her former friend Leah Sweeney and they could be the new Ramona and Sonja of Real Housewives of New York? It could happen!

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Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.