Skinnygirl mogul Bethenny Frankel and actor Eric Stonestreet publicly denied they were dating, but that's because the unlikely duo is keeping their rumored relationship a secret, Radar Online wrote in an exclusive report Thursday. Part of the reason for the secrecy is because things between them cannot become serious.

After a bitter divorce battle with ex-husband Jason Hoppy, the “Real Housewives of New York City” star was awarded joint custody of their 5-year-old daughter, Bryn. She has to stay in New York to take care of her daughter, as per the custody agreement, which requires both parents to maintain residence in the Big Apple. It makes things difficult for her reputed relationship with Stonestreet. 

“Eric lives in Los Angeles, so the distance is a problem,” the source told Radar Online. “There is a ton of chemistry between them, and they have a lot of fun together. Bethenny wants to take it to the next level but neither one wants to have a bicoastal relationship.”

Eric Stonestreet Eric Stonestreet from ABC's series "Modern Family" at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California in August. Photo: Reuters

Another potential problem is that Frankel reportedly signed up for another season of “RHONY,” which would further anchor her to New York. “She is really loving the current cast of ladies, and had a blast doing 'Housewives' again,” the source said. But there could be a possibility that Stonestreet appears on the Bravo reality show, if the dating rumors are true. “Next season, producers want to explore Bethenny’s love life, and while she had been opposed to it before, she could be open to it now,” the insider added.

If the rumor mill is right about the stars’ secret relationship, they made it clear they don’t want it exposed. When the speculation began two weeks ago, Frankel, 44, took to Twitter to shut down the story and tagged Stonestreet, 43. The actor, who famously plays Cam on the hit ABC series "Modern Family," also issued a tweet. "Hey @Bethenny. I'm a big fan. Can I get a follow?" he wrote.

“Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger said there’s a chance the two could have a budding romance, “unlikely” as it may be. "They're both strong, powerful, and both make money," the Bravo star told People magazine Tuesday. "It's an unusual pairing, but Eric is hysterical ... and funny [guys] can get the hot girls.” She added: "They could be friends. It's a new thing."

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