The 51-year-old "Watch What Happens Live" host and "RHONY" producer revealed on Wednesday's SiriusXM "Radio Andy" show that he actually knew the exit was coming because he spoke to Frankel a month before she made the decision public. While it doesn't seem he wanted her to leave, he's hopeful she'll come back.
"My overwhelming feeling about Bethenny leaving New York -- and I told her this six weeks ago, [if she were] going to leave -- that I am so grateful that she came back," Cohen told his listeners. "She already left, is what we need to remember, so we were so lucky to have these last seasons with her on it."
For "personal reasons," the Skinnygirl mogul stepped away from the Bravo series for five years. During that time, she starred in her own Bravo reality show, "Bethenny Getting Married," which documented her engagement and marriage to now-estranged husband Jason Hoppy (turns out they're still married), as well as the birth of their daughter, Bryn.
"It was just so fun to have her back and she brought so much to the show that I just am living in the gratitude of her second return, and I will hopefully live in the gratitude of her third return," Andy said. "Because we are much like the mob: you can't get out. And I do hope and think that she will come back some time. Who knows?"
"The other thing is," he made sure to note, "she is still so a part of everything that's going on that you almost could see her dropping in, and it's like, 'Oh, my God! Okay! Bethenny's at a party,' or 'Bethenny's on this trip!' You know, you never know. You never know."
"I look forward to her in any capacity on the show, and I'm just grateful that she was back at all," he added. "We all should be."
Rumor on the Housewives street is that Bethenny simply demanded more money for Season 12 than Bravo was willing to give her. When posed with this question, Cohen refused to say whether or not it was true. Another thought was that Frankel's best friend-turned-enemy, Jill Zarin, would be making a possible return to the series. To that, Andy said Jill was "not existent in this conversation."
Last month, Bethenny broke the hearts of many "RHONY" fans when she announced she'd be leaving the series she helped launch back in 2008.
"I have decided to leave the 'Housewives' franchise to explore my next chapter," the witty, self-made millionaire said in a statement. "It's time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women."
"With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have," the statement continued. "My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals."
"I am excited for my future," the statement concluded. "The best is yet to come."
Frankel took to Instagram shortly after to share a lengthy and heartfelt message for the fans who've stood by her side throughout the years.
"I am so grateful to you for sticking with me through everything," she wrote. "You started this journey with me in my tiny apartment in my late 30s, wondering what would happen to me. I was broke, single, had no family and no idea what the future held."
Bethenny went on to say that her fans had inspired her and helped her navigate her way through her life, both professionally and personally, then encouraged them to pursue their dreams just as they'd empowered her to chase hers.
"GO for it. Whatever it is. Reach for your dreams in life and love and make the impossible happen, because it can happen and it WILL happen," she wrote. "Come from a place of yes and it's yours for the taking."
In closing, she promised her fans this wouldn't be the last they see of her. And if Andy Cohen has his way, he'll make sure she keeps that promise.