Click here to Play Video
One year ago Sunday, former It girl Tinsley Mortimer was arrested for trespassing at the Palm Beach, Fla., residence of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Alexander “Nico” Fanjul, 31, the son of sugar baron Alexander Fanjul.
Her mug shot was plastered on the same glossies that used to devote gallons of ink to her glamorous party pics. A week later, The Post broke the news that Mortimer had allegedly been abused by Fanjul over the course of their four-year relationship. One 2013 police report documented a black eye, a head laceration that required staples and severe bruising on Mortimer’s arms and elbows. Fanjul’s mother, Nicole Fanjul, defended her son, telling The Post last April that Mortimer was “insane” and “makes ‘Fatal Attraction’ look like a cartoon.”
Looking back on it now, Mortimer told The Post she can’t believe the mess she was in. “I never had anticipated being in a situation like that, where I willingly walked back into it, constantly knowing that it was violent and physically and mentally abusive.
“I’m a smart girl, from a good background. How did this happen to me? It’s scary that I allowed myself to be put through that,” said Mortimer, 41, who was married to Standard Oil heir Topper Mortimer from 2002 to 2013 (they separated in 2009) and even had her own shade of Dior lipstick: “Tinsley pink.” She decamped to Florida in 2012 because, she said, she was overwhelmed by New York and needed a fresh start.
Now Mortimer is back in NYC and reinventing herself as one of the stars of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York City.”
“I said yes immediately,” said Mortimer, who still rocks her signature blond curls and frothy dresses.
“It was such a great excuse to leave Palm Beach and to get back to New York. I was already back in the spotlight, even though it wasn’t what I hoped for, so I figure, what better way to show who I really am?”
In her debut episode, which airs Wednesday, Mortimer is seen running errands like a glorified assistant for co-star Sonja Morgan, who offered to host the disgraced socialite in her Upper East Side townhouse for the duration of filming.
Life on “Real Housewives” is a bit different from Mortimer’s former days as an uptown party fixture with a blue-blooded husband.
“Sonja had some rules for me,” admitted Mortimer.
“I’m not supposed to take the elevator. Sonja says it gets a little tricky sometimes, and I guess it’s expensive [to operate],” she said.
“I’m not allowed to speak to Connor, who is her assistant, and lives in the house. I can’t ask him to do anything for me,” Mortimer continued.
“And I can’t have any guys over.”
But Morgan’s regulations didn’t stop Mortimer from enjoying the Big Apple’s bounty.
“I am dating, and some of the [other ‘Housewives’] have been setting me up,” said Mortimer. “Maybe because I’ve been married here before, I never thought of New York as having a lot of guys, but there are a ton! I love it!”
But she is trying to be more discerning this time around.
“Having a job is very key. I had an ex [Fanjul] who wasn’t working, and I think it’s important to have a focus and be busy [with] something and to feel good about yourself,” said Mortimer, who reveals on the show that she has frozen her eggs and still hopes to have children.
I’m still an uptown girl . . . I just don’t know if the uptown girl wants to live downtown
“Obviously a red flag would be somebody who can’t control [his] anger. And I definitely think I need to date someone who is around my age or older. Dating someone younger is not the right thing for me right now,” she said, before adding with a laugh: “But let’s just say I didn’t always stick to my own rules about age [Fanjul is 10 years younger].”
Mortimer left Morgan’s pad in March and has been living in a Midtown hotel since, while she decides which neighborhood best suits her new life.
“I’m still an uptown girl,” she reassured The Post. “I just don’t know if the uptown girl wants to live downtown.” Mortimer said she works as a director of events at an office in West Palm Beach, which is her main source of income, as well as producing her tabletop line — glasses, plates and serving accessories, sold online at retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond.
Mortimer says she hasn’t heard from Fanjul or his family since news broke of the alleged abuse. She is going to counseling in New York to learn “to be more respectful of myself,” she said. And she’s slowly ingratiating herself back into the scene, hitting up old haunts including preppie haven Dorrian’s and newer ones such as the Polo Bar and the Baccarat Hotel.
“I look back at my old New York life like, ‘Wow, that was so glamorous and a really good time in my life and really fun,’ ” said Mortimer. “Why did I walk away from all that?”