Last August, reality star Bethenny Frankel’s on-and-off boyfriend, Dennis Shields, was found dead in his apartment in Trump Tower. Police at the time reported that he died of an apparent overdose.
In late August, The Blast reported that his cause of death was officially ruled “undetermined.” The NYC Chief Medical Examiner told the outlet, “An OCME autopsy was not performed in this case due to a religious objection, upheld by law in such instances where no criminality is suspected.”
According to the New York Times, Shields lost consciousness one Friday in August after sending his assistant to buy Narcan, which is an “antidote for opioid overdoses,” the outlet writes.
Shields and Frankel were romantically linked for years. While they started dating in 2016, they were friends long before that. In a recent episode of RHONY, Frankel opened up about the loss of Shields, even revealing that he had proposed to her before his death. People writes, “Though he gave her a mega-carat rock, which she proudly wore, Frankel says the circumstances surrounding their impending nuptials were a little tricky. In fact, she says she never really gave Shields a clear yes.”
They quote her as saying, “It’s funny because he said to me, ‘Did you say yes?’ And I said, ‘Well, I love you and I can’t believe you did this but we have to talk about some conditions and some terms and how things are going to change’ — issues I’ve had with partnership and consistency.”
Later on in the episode, Frankel shared that Shields gave her daughter, Bryn, a ring of her own.
This isn’t the first time Frankel has spoken about Shields on the reality series. In the season 11 premiere, she recalled learning about Shields’ passing, staying, “Tyler, his daughter, called me hysterically crying, and she said, ‘My dad died this morning’… And I started screaming into the phone.”
In the opening episode, Frankel continued, “Time is healing the wounds a little more than I thought. It’s going faster… And then I feel guilty, like how could you be having fun when Dennis is dead? But I’m trying to do what he would want me to do.”
On last week’s episode of RHONY, Frankel brushed away tears as she shared with cameras that she struggled to find an “identity” at Shields’ funeral in August. She has long divulged that the two shared a complicated relationship, but said, “It’s different for me than for his ex-wife, who has to deal with the morgue and the bills and the kids and all of this other stuff… I had to figure out where my place was at the funeral,” she said. “I didn’t want to intrude. I didn’t feel like I had an identity in any of it.”
Shields was a father to four children. His obituary read, “A storied raconteur, his own fiction best describes him: ‘A handsome kind man who led an idyllic life, often offensive, sometimes poignant, occasionally edifying and always funny’… Some say he has the mind of an Einstein, the wit of Oscar Wilde, and the good looks of a movie star. Others don’t. He is a citizen of the world.”