The Real Housewives of New York City’s Tinsley Mortimer: How My Arrest and Abusive Relationship Made Me a Stronger Person

Tinsley Mortimer is stronger than yesterday. The former socialite and new cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City spoke exclusively with Us Weekly and revealed how she came out on top after escaping an abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend Alexander "Nico" Fanjul, as well as her 2016 arrest.

“It was really hard walking away from the New York lifestyle of being in the press and then really wanting to be in Palm Beach and not have that be a part of my life anymore. And then all of a sudden, in one day, I’m plastered everywhere,” Mortimer, 41, tells Us of her brush with the law. “It was embarrassing. And mug shots are not pretty! They’re just never pretty.”

As previously reported, the Southern Charm author was arrested April 9, 2016, in tony Palm Beach, Florida, for trespassing at the home of her on-again, off-again beau Fanjul, 31. Mortimer — a native of Richmond, Virginia — fled the Big Apple for the Sunshine State in 2012 to be closer to her parents, father George Riley Mercer Jr., a real estate investor, and mother Dale Mercer, an interior designer. Not long after, she met fellow rich kid Fanjul (whose family owns the parent company of Domino Sugar), and the couple were together for more than three years. During that time, Mortimer and the businessman had multiple run-ins with authorities. According to police reports, their arguments would sometimes turn physical, but no charges against either party, aside from the trespassing charge, which was later dropped, were ever filed.

Looking back on that tumultuous time, Mortimer tells Us that she is actually thankful for her arrest and realizes that it was the wake-up call she needed to set her back on the right path.

“I think public humiliation can do a lot for somebody. Look at how much can change in a year. It was a year ago that this happened to me and so much has changed in my life,” she says. “So much good, and I’m just so grateful for it.”

Mortimer — who moved back to Manhattan into RHONY vet Sonja Morgan’s Upper East Side townhouse last year when filming for season 9 of the beloved reality series began — believes her brief stint in custody was absolutely necessary for her to break free from the toxicity in her life.

“I’m grateful for getting arrested, honestly, because as humiliating as it was, it was the only thing that broke this cycle of violence,” the blonde beauty tells Us. “It was the only thing that really made me step out of this. The physical abuse alone wasn’t enough for me to leave the relationship, which you think would be. But it turned out that it wasn’t because you can find yourself falling into this a lot easier than you think.”

Mortimer, who has been attending therapy since calling it quits with Fanjul, tells Us that she hopes telling her story will inspire other women who feel stuck in abusive relationships to get out. “Going forward, I would like to partner up with an organization, speaking about domestic violence, because I do think that if it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody,” she says. “I definitely had the means to get out of the situation. I had my own place too. I didn’t live with him. I wasn’t married to him. I didn’t have children with him. There were no ties there, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t leave the situation.”

But now the Columbia University graduate has reclaimed her life and has made a vow to never let herself suffer at the hands of a significant other ever again. “I feel stronger now from it. I feel like I’ve taken my power back. You know, I felt powerless in the relationship. I also felt powerless in my life and I didn’t feel like myself. It was just this very dark period on my life where I just wasn’t me,” she tells Us. “And now I’m getting back to me. I’m physically getting back into the city and this is me. This is where I belong. It’s so nice to be back and feeling powerful."

Mortimer, who notes that NYC “feels different” since coming back, tells Us that she isn’t sad that her days as a socialite are over. While she’ll always be remembered for being one of Manhattan’s most celebrated It Girls of the mid-2000s, the Southern belle — who split from husband and high school sweetheart Robert Livingston Mortimer in 2009 — is thrilled to take on a new role in New York society: Real Housewife.

“I’m happy to trade in the title of socialite for Real Housewife,” she tells Us. “This is a new chapter for me, and I am so looking forward to the future.”

Watch Mortimer make her debut on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City Wednesday, April 12, at 9 p.m. ET.

Tinsley Mortimer Patrick Ecclesine/Bravo



EXCLUSIVE: 'She's got that southern charm': Dorinda Medley opens up about her relationship with new Real Housewives of New York cast member Tinsley Mortimer

Dorinda Medley is back for a new season of Real Housewives of New York, and has already made a new friend in fellow castmate Tinsley Mortimer.

The always opinionated and amusing Dorinda chatted with DailyMail.com about what to expect this season from the ladies of New York, and said things will be much more fun and far less dark, comparing it to 'Sex and the City.'
And for those hoping to see more of Dorinda she confessed that she was finally exploring possible ways to extend her brand, but offered no other hints of what might be to come.

She also said there will be less of boyfriend John Medhessian on the new season as well as daughter Hannah, who moved out of Dorinda's apartment just two months ago.

There will be lots of Tinsley though, and Dorinda said that she and the newest New York housewife had a bit of slow start when it came to hitting it off, but are now forming a real friendship.

'She's really interesting,' said Dorinda of Tinsley.

'I didn't know anything about her so it was really fun getting to know her.'

Dorinda did admit however that it was a bit jarring at first, with Tinsley announcing within seconds of meeting her that she had a mugshot.

'It was a bit much,' admits Dorinda.

'I almost wanted to day, "Oh my god. Did you buy a frame for it?"'

Also making things difficult was the fact that Tinsley was living with Sonja Morgan, who after last season was not on the best terms with Dorinda.

'I wasn't even sure if she was going to accept me,' said Dorinda.

In the end though, she feel for Tinsley's 'southern charm.'

Things gets difficult for the new girl said Dorinda though, who said that Tinsley has to deal with some past issues as she come sailing back into the city.

Mortimer was one of the biggest names on the Manhattan society scene in the early and mid aughts, having moved to the city to attend college at Columbia where she earned a degree in art history.

She transferred to the prestigious Ivy League university from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in order to be closer to Topper.

Mortimer then scored the job a million girls would kill for when she began working as a beauty assistant at Vogue straight out of school.

From there, Mortimer moved into public relations, joining the team at Harrison and Shriftman where she worked as an event planner.

Mortimer's big moment came around 2006 when the public and press took a new interest in the city's young socialites, who at the time included Byrdie Bell, Olivia Palermo, Fabiola Beracasa, Amanda Hearst, and Lauren Santo Domingo (nee Davis) to name just a few.

There was even a website dedicated to ranking the women called Socialite Rank.

None of these women were covered more than Mortimer however, and she soon leveraged her newfound fame to launch a line of handbags with Samantha Thavasa and a clothing line, Riccime by Tinsley Mortimer, which were both available in Japan.

Her former Vogue co-worker Plum Sykes also included a character that was loosely based on her in her 2004 novel Bergdorf Blondes.

Mortimer soon began to command as much as $10,000 to host an event and was named a brand ambassador for Dior, which allowed her to launch her own lip gloss for the high fashion house.

She called the shade Tinsley Pink.

Mortimer was also frequently name dropped on the show Gossip Girl, which detailed the lives of a group of wealthy private school kids in New York City. She later appeared in a cameo role on the show's second-season premiere.

In 2010, the same network that aired Gossip Girl, the CW, gave Mortimer her own reality series called High Society.

The show followed Mortimer as she posed for photo shoots, picked out clothes and hopped from party to party in the Big Apple.

It also starred Mortimer's sister Dabney Mercer, Social Life editor Devorah Rose and Paul Johnson Calderon.
The show was not a hit with critics or viewers however, leading to its cancellation after eight episodes and much public ridicule for Mortimer.

At the same time, Mortimer's marriage to Topper, her high school sweetheart, had come to an end.

Mortimer, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, met Topper while the two attended the prestigious Lawrenceville School in New Jersey.

The two eloped when they were just 18, but Mortimer's parents - real estate investor George and interior designer Dale - forced her to annul the marriage. They wed again in May 2002 in Mortimer's hometown of Richmond.

Reports that the two had split began to circulate in early 2009 and the pair divorced a year later.

There were also allegations that Mortimer had begun a relationship with a member of German royalty, Prince Casimir Wittgenstein-Sayn, while still married to Topper.

Topper is heir to the Standard Oil fortune thanks to his grandfather Henry Morgan Tilford, who was a president at the company. His family can trace their routes back to John Jay, author of the Federalist Papers.

He is the son of magazine editor Senga Mortimer and brother of designer Minnie Mortimer, who is married to Oscar-winning writer Stephen Gaghan.

Since his split from Mortimer, the notoriously press shy hedge fund manager has had relationships with Vogue staffer Valerie Boster and shoe designer Tabitha Simmons.

He and Simmons recently became engaged.

Mortimer moved down to Palm Beach soon after she and her ex finalized their divorce, and has dated former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis and Prince Lorenzo Borghese, who was on the ninth season of The Bachelor.

She has released her first book shortly after moving to Florida, Southern Charm. It tells the story of a girl from down South who moves to Manhattan and quickly becomes an 'It Girl.'

Mortimer also launched a line of home goods last year, hoping to achieve the success of another blond socialite who built herself a billion dollar empire - Tory Burch.


Socialite Tinsley Mortimer makes debut appearance on RHONY as she returns to Big Apple after mug shot shame

Socialite Tinsley Mortimer made her debut appearance on The Real Housewives of New York on Wednesday.

The show opened with the 41-year-old temporarily moving into fellow cast mate Sonja Morgan's apartment in the Big Apple.

However, despite a shameful exit from her home of many years in Palm Beach, the blonde was feeling a bit homesick.

The revelation was surprising considering it was just a year ago a mugshot was released following an embarrassing incident in Florida.

Mortimer was arrested for trespassing after she was found 'crying and screaming irrationally' outside the Palm Beach home of her ex-boyfriend - Alexander 'Nico' Fanjul - who was with another woman.

She spent almost three hours in the Palm Beach County Jail and was forced to pose for a mugshot after the incident, which showed the often smiling and heavily made up society queen frowning and with little makeup.

The arrest marked a tragic fall from grace for Mortimer who had largely avoided the limelight ever since moving to Palm Beach in 2012 shortly after her divorce from husband Robert Mortimer, who is known as Topper.

That year was when she met her her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Fanjul.

Ten years her junior and the son of billionaire sugar baron Alexander Fanjul, he seemed to be an ideal match. But their relationship was not all that it seemed.

Over the next four years, police would be called out repeatedly by the couple over allegations the 30-year-old sugar heir was physically abusive towards Mortimer, Page Six reports.

On one occasion, the socialite even had to be hospitalized with injuries 'due to a possible battery', according to a police report.

Since December 2013, there has been one arrest, four police reports and a written warning from Palm Beach Police Department.

But Mortimer always declined to press charges.

The Fanjul family vehemently denie all allegations of abuse.

Meanwhile, having moved from Palm Beach, Tinsley is currently looking for a place to live.

On Wednesday's episode she mentioned possibly moving to downtown Manhattan.

Her new roommate Sonya did not think it was the wisest idea, as she believed men went there to get young girls.

Carole Radziwill was over at Bethenny Frankel's house. Ramona Singer later arrived and refused to take off her heels when Bethenny, 46, asked.

The Skinny Girl founder and her pal had a little annoyed playful back-and-forth over the dogs. She said Bethenny was being over protective.

Bethenny believed something was wrong with Ramona, 60.

Then, the ladies began to talk about Luann de Lesseps's relationship with Tom.

Luanna believed Ramona was trying to 'investigate' her relationship with Tom, and Luann said that Ramona supposedly knew something.

'Maybe I know something,' Ramona told the girls.

'I think you know a lot of things,' Bethenny noted, who also pointed out that Luann seems to be very happy.
'Ignorance is bliss,' said Ramona.

Meanwhile, Luann, 51, went hat shopping with her daughter and mentioned her meeting with Ramona.

Luann still insisted everything was OK with her relationship and expressed that she wasn't too keen on her friend's words.

Back at Bethenny's the ladies then began talking about Sonya's new roommate, Tinsley.

The women said they had heard of her, and mentioned her early socialite status before reaching a low point in her life. 

'She had the whole world at her fingertips and kinda crashed and burned,' said Bethenny.

Ramona and Carole, 53, said that 'the great thing about this country,' is that maybe she could get it back.
The party talk turned political as the ladies discussed an upcoming party.

Their argument became heated. 

Sonya tried to help Tinsley her make a list of what she wants in a future man.

TInsley opened up about her previous marriage to oil heir Robert Livingston Mortimer.

They were together for 15 years and got divorced 3 years ago. She said he 'was working hard' and that she felt they weren't really a team anymore and needed to split.

TInsley said she wants to have kids. She's 41 and froze her eggs.

The former socialite admitted to making bad choices with men since splitting with her husband. She also discussed her most recent relationship, which earned her a mug shot.

Tinsley said she went to her ex's house to get her handbag and didn't know he had a trespass warning on her, and was arrested.

Ramona met up with Dorinda Medley and discussed her meeting with Luann. Luann had previously asked Ramona what she knew about Tom.

'It's pretty obvious Luann doesn't want to know anything about Tom, so I'll shut the Pandora's box,' Ramona told Dorinda.

Dorinda later said that she believes Sonya's been spreading lies about her. Ramona looked puzzled and said that Sonya hadn't told her anything.

'It amazes me that Sonya can go on about other people's lifestyles when A. she doesn't know anything about them and B. she has the most colourful past,' Dorinda told the camera.

The reality star said she hoped to nip their argument in the bud.

'When you're married to one of them, people look at you a little differently,' she said, of having been wed to one of New York's most historic and well-known families.

She said people asked her all the time how she became an 'it' girl. Tinsley said it all began when she was at a party at the Pier hotel and walked up to the red carpet. Photographers then asked who she was.

She noticed when her hair wasn't straight she wouldn't get recognized, but did when she curled her hair. It later became a signature look for her, and she found herself on magazine covers and in the pages of Vogue.

'I literally walked away from my life for four years and I just want it back,' she admitted.

 Meanwhile, the girls began to gather at Sonya's house for a party she was hosting. Tinsley was already there, she was living with the host for the time being.

'I want to introduce Tinsley to my friends, but when someone is prettier, skinnier or more successful, they start looking for things. They want you to do well but not better than them,' admitted Sonya.

Ramona was the first to arrive. Sonya's neighbor went to meet her as she came in, but Ramona appeared to not remember who she was, despite having met her before.

Back in the kitchen where Sonya was at, another friend, who was said to have been a hired butler for the evening, chatted with Sonya over what people think of Ramona. 

Sonya said that others can't believe she's pals with Ramona.

'You're friends with that crazy lady? She's so rude!' they reportedly have said.

Ramona asked Sonya why she didn't invite Dorinda.

It apparently went back to why she wasn't invited to a previous gathering because of her alleged drinking.
'I'm still really hurt that Dorinda didn't invited me to the Berkshire's..' Sonya admitted.

Meanwhile, Carole and Ramona continued to chat outside in the garden area, where the Hillary supporter again insisted she was 'more informed than the average voter.'

Carole cited her 15 years working at ABC News and her friendships with journalists as a reason for her knowledge, and Ramona wasn't having it.

'Well actually I'm pretty informed. I read the papers everyday. That was a backhanded thing Carole,' Ramona shot back.

Bethenny, dressed in a colourful frock, arrived to the party. Tinsley felt that Bethenny wasn't very happy to meet her.

Luann was the next to arrive.

'I know Tinsley and I would consider her like a social friend. She's gone a little wilder these days which is kind of refreshing,' she said.

Bethenny and Luann had rather cold but cordial greeting.

Ramona and Carole began chatting with Tinsley about her relationship history.

Tinsley said she regretted not having a kid with her ex-husband, whom she says is still a good friend.

She did not shy away or hide her past from the girls, and immediately told them the story about what happened with her arrest last April.

'It feels really awkward, but at the same time it's like my therapy,' she admitted. 

'I really respect the fact that Tinsley comes out and says it...' said Ramona.

Luann approached Sonya and said she read things that Sonya has said about her in the press, specifically that she would be there if Luann didn't make it down the isle.

Sonya was straightforward and said she did say those things.

Sonya, who did not invited Dorinda to her party, said she didn't' appreciate Dorinda introducing Tom to Luann because she knew what she was doing. She believes Tom, whom she previously had a friends-with-benefits relationship with, is a womanizing player.

Luann said Sonya needs to be supportive about her choice to marry Tom.  Luann also believes Sonya is jealous of her friendship with Dorinda and also wishes she could have ended up with Tom.

The Real Housewives of New York airs Wednesdays on Bravo at 6 E.T

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