Dennis Shields, the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel, has died as a result of a suspected overdose. According to NBC New York, police and medical personnel responded to an emergency call from Trump Tower at around 9 a.m. on Friday morning, and when they arrived, they found Shields to be unconscious and unresponsive. A short time later they pronounced him dead.
The 51-year-old had reportedly asked his assistant to give him Narcan — an opiate antidote — because he thought he was overdosing on prescription pills, reveals an insider. However, he lost consciousness before the medication started to work.
— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) August 10, 2018
It is not yet clear who made the call to 911, and police are not revealing what they found in Shields’ apartment when they arrived.
After knowing each other for more than three decades, Frankel and Shields started dating back in 2016, but their relationship was a complicated one. The SkinnyGirl mogul said in May that she and Shields had been on and off for years, and they were like a partnership. She explained that if they weren’t “being teammates and it’s not working, and one man is down, then the other man is down.”
She added that they were trying to be good teammates and partners, and she thinks that relationships are “a little bit like a business.” Shields did make a few appearances on this season of RHONY, where fans got to witness firsthand the ups and downs of his relationship with Frankel.
“If both people aren’t happy about it but slightly uncomfortable and giving up something or giving in [to] something, it doesn’t work. So both partners have to say, ‘All right, I’m in it for this,” said Frankel.
Shields had a master’s degree in public relations, but as the CEO of LawCash, he became a prominent figure in the banking world. He was the CEO of the pre-settlement funding company since it began in 2000, and he also was behind the creation of the American Legal Finance Association (ALFA). He also co-founded the crowdfunding company YieldStreet, as well as Esquire Bank. His estimated net worth was around $11 million.
“We are all heartbroken. Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life,” Shields’ ex-wife Jill said in a statement. “His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family’s privacy at this time.”
Bethenny Frankel has not made a public statement regarding Dennis Shields.