Who is Tinsley Mortimer from RHONY? Read her incredible backstory

New RHONY star Tinsley Mortimer in a photo from her Instagram
New RHONY star Tinsley Mortimer in a photo from her Instagram. Pic: @tinsleymortimer/Instagram

The Real Housewives of New York City is back! And there’s a new lady about town, Tinsley Mortimer.

Or, to give her her full name: Tinsley Randolph Mercer Mortimer.

You may already know who she is, but do you know her juicy backstory?

Tinsley is the daughter of an uber-rich real-estate investor, George Riley Mercer Jr, while her mother Dale is an interior designer — who she hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with.

When she was 18 she and her former husband Robert Livingston “Topper” Mortimer, who she met at the posh Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, ran away and got married.

When their parents found out they forced them to annul their marriage, but they then REMARRIED several years later. It didn’t last, though, and the pair are now divorced.

Lawrenceville School in New Jersey’s Mercer County is the second most expensive private high school in the US, costing $48,700 a year in 2015. Only Salisbury School in Connecticut, which cost $49,092 a year in 2015, is more expensive.

Tinsley in her promotional photo for The Real Housewives of New York City
Tinsley in her promotional photo for The Real Housewives of New York City

Tinsley was born in South Carolina but spent the first part of her life in Richmond, VA, at the grand Mercer family mansion Graymont.

After Lawrenceville, she went on to continue her education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before moving to NYC with Topper and going to Columbia University, where she graduated with a degree in art history.

It led to her moving into fashion, first working at Vogue and then moving into PR. She then built her own successful brand with a line of handbags (Samantha Thavasa by Tinsley Mortimer) and clothing (Riccimie by Tinsley Mortimer).

Later she became an the beauty ambassador for Christian Dior, and created a lip gloss for them called Tinsley Pink. She also worked separately to launch a tabletop collection.

Her own look has also long been a favorite of fashion photographers, with her pictures regularly appearing in Vogue, WWD, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar.

Tinsley with her friend and RHONY co-star Sonja Morgan. Pic: @tinsleymortimer/Instagram

She has appeared regularly on TV, including a cameo in Gossip Girl, but she is probably best known on screen for her 2010 reality show on The CW called High Society. She’s also appeared on Extra, Access Hollywood, E!, America’s Next Top Model, and The Fashion Show on Bravo.

Tinsley is also an author and in 2013 published her debut novel, titled Southern Charm.

However, as Bethenny Frankel puts it on RHONY this season: “She had the whole world at her finger tips, and kind of crashed and burned.”

After splitting from Topper in a divorce that was splashed all over the media, she moved to Palm Beach for some TLC.

However, things didn’t go quite to plan when she began dating sugar baron’s son Alexander ‘Nico’ Fanjul, who was a decade younger than her, and they endured a troubled relationship.

She ended up being arrested for trespassing on his property while he was inside with another women. Police apparently found her “crying and screaming” outside. It came after she got a warning for trespassing on his property in a similar incident the previous year.

She finally moved back to NYC at the encouragement of now RHONY co-star Sonja Morgan, where her star is rising again and she hopes to finally get things back on track.

Tinsley has her own website and an ever-growing social media following, with 15,000 followers on Twitter and another 11,000 on Instagram at the time of writing — but that’s set to boom now she’s become one of the Real Housewives.

The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.

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