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OTRC: Bethenny Frankel's 'lost at sea' story confirmed by Bravo

Bethenny Frankel and her daughter Bryn appear in an undated photo from her official website. / Bethenny Frankel and her crew appear in a photo posted on the reality star's Twitter account on September 18, 2011. (Bethenny.com / Twitpic.com/6mz437)

Bravo came to the defense of Bethenny Frankel, one of the network's top reality stars, on Thursday after the entrepreneur was accused of lying about being stranded at sea in mid-September.

The 40-year-old said that she, her husband, Jason Hoppy, her therapist and the crew of her current Bravo cable network series, "Bethenny Ever After," were on a sailboat that drifted off course near the coast of Maine. She said they were lost at sea for 20 hours, adding that the GPS system broke and the coast guard had to guide them back to shore.

"It is accurate that Bethenny, Jason and their therapist were stranded at sea when the navigation on their boat broke during a taping for the new season of 'Bethenny Ever After'," a spokesperson for the network told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The Coast Guard referred a private tow vessel who eventually led their boat out," the statement continued."When people see the episode, they will certainly see for themselves that this was very real."

Frankel's account was called into question after a recent interview surfaced with a sailor named Tim Russell, who claimed he was the one who rescued their boat.

Russell told the Jewish Journal that Frankel's therapist contacted him at 5 a.m. that day after the coast guard "suggested they call a tow company as there was no need for them to assist." Russell said the therapist read him the GPS coordinates of their location, indicating that the GPS system was functional.

The therapist "insisted they needed help" and Russell and his wife headed out to meet them, the report says, adding: "When Tim got there, he saw that the boat was fine. There were 9 people on the boat. Bethenny, Jason, the therapist, and a Bravo film crew of 6. They simply followed Tim and his wife back to the shore with no towing and a functioning GPS."

Russell also said he never received a tip for his services, the report stated.

Prior to starring on her own reality series, Frankel was part of "The Real Housewives of New York City" cast for three seasons. She left shortly before the birth of her daughter Bryn and marriage to husband Jason Hoppy but after ending her friendship with cast member Jill Zarin.

Frankel is a New York Times best-selling author with diet and self-help books like "A Place of Yes" and the Skinnygirl chef recently signed a three-book fiction deal with Touchstone Fireside and is set to release her first fiction book called "Skinny Dipping" next spring.

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