How Did Dennis Shields Die? New Details On The Tragic Death Of Bethenny Frankel's Boyfriend

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How Did Dennis Shields Die? New Details On The Tragic Death Of Bethenny Frankel's Boyfriend

How did Dennis Shields die? Dennis Shields was not a man you often saw on the Real Housewives of New York. While others' boyfriends and husbands of the big personalities who star on that infamous reality show were eager to get their fair share of camera time, Dennis preferred to stay off-camera, spending his time traveling for work, pleasure, and keeping his private time with his sometimes girlfriend Bethenny Frankel private. It was a choice Bethenny, clearly respected. That's what made his rare appearance on the show so moving — he was doing it for her, and she knew it. 

Tragically, today the news broke that Dennis died in the early hours of the day after his assistant failed to revive him. In the coming days there is bound to be boatloads of speculation about his life, his death, and his relationship with everyone's favorite housewife. For now, let's try to break down what we know about Dennis, what we know about his death, and what we know about his relationship with Bethenny prior to the awful events of Friday morning. 


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1. What Happened

When the news broke it was in a flurry, with not much information at the ready. Here's what we know: 

On Friday, August 10th, Dennis was found dead in his apartment in Trump Tower, after his assistant called 911 for help. 

Dennis reached out to his assistant, reportedly saying he was concerned that he had taken too many painkillers and could be in danger.

His assistant reportedly gave him Narcan to counteract the effects of the drugs in his system but unfortunately, this measure was taken too late and Dennis did not survive. 

He was dead when the EMTs reported to his Trump Tower apartment. 

2. Accidental Overdose 

His assistant reportedly told authorities that Dennis was taking prescription pain pills and that the overdose was accidental. 

Though the verdict will not be official until an autopsy is performed, Dennis's assistant says that the drug Dennis was taking was Oxycodone. 

With the burgeoning opioid crisis in our nature, it's impossible not to wonder if Dennis was using the pills recreationally or if they were being used to treat an existing condition.

Right now, the death is being treated as an accidental overdose, and not much more is known. There has been no speculation that Dennis's death was the result of suicide. He has no prior arrest record for possession of any sort of opioid, nor does he have a public history dealing with substance abuse. 

Tragically, this sounds like a real accident and that just serves to underline the very real danger that these drugs like painkillers can cause. 


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3. Their Relationship 

Dennis Shields was a successful businessman in his own right but he is perhaps the most well-known to the public at large for his on-again-off-again relationship with entrepreneur, activist, and Real Housewife of New York star Bethenny Frankel. 

After her tumultuous split from her husband, Jason Hoppy, Bethenny was wary about getting into a serious relationship. But when she reconnected with Dennis, a long-time friend who also was recently divorced, she fell hard and before long the two were a serious item. 

Bethenny and Dennis knew each other for 30 years before they started dating in 2016. Bethenny, a known commitmentphobe, even went ring shopping with her then-friend Carole Radizwell just a week after she and Dennis became official. 

On this season of RHONY, Bethenny's disconnection from Dennis was a source of strife for the mogul. While they cared for each other deeply, it was starting to seem like the two were drifting, and like she was more invested in their potential future than Dennis was. It almost makes it seem like all that time she spent fighting with Countess Lu about his marital state seem like a horrible waste. 

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Could he have been fighting other demons?

4. Who Is Dennis? 

As a business professional, Dennis made waves in the world of public relations and banking — with swagger like that it's no wonder that he caught Bethenny's eye. 

Dennis owned and operated a company called LawCash, that provided services to major companies who needed loans to help them get through serious litigation issues without coming out of the other end bankrupt. For someone like Bethenny who takes business and drive seriously, connecting with Dennis must have seemed like it was just meant to be. 

Dennis's first marriage was to  Jill Schwartzberg who he wed back in 1990 when he was only 23  and she was 21. To make things even more interesting, Bethenny went to high school with Dennis's ex-wife, though the two women never remained close. 

Dennis is also a father but he was very protective about the identities of his children, wanting to make sure that they lived happy, comfortable lives out of the microscope of the news media. 

Though Bethenny and Dennis were BOTH still legally married when they began their courtship, from a personal perspective both of their relationships were over. 


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margo. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark, on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.