Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields didn’t appear to be involved in an exclusive romance at the time of his sudden death on Friday but according to a new report, the couple had always had an on-again, off-again relationship.
Speaking to People magazine on August 10, a source suggested that while Frankel and Shields’ romance was “unusual,” the Real Housewives of New York City star loved him a great deal.
“They were on and off. It was unconventional and not always exclusive. They would be together and then not,” the insider explained. “Sometimes these traditional relationships aren’t the best thing for everybody.”
As some may know, Frankel and Shields began dating in 2016 after being friends for 30 years. Their relationship began months after Shields separated from his wife Jill after 26 years of marriage and years after Frankel parted ways with her former husband Jason Hoppy, the father of her 8-year-old daughter Bryn.
“Dennis was a steadying rock for Bethenny. He was very mild-mannered and she is like a force of nature but she needed that in him,” the source said.
While Frankel and Shields were never involved in an exclusive romance with one another, their relationship was just as Frankel wanted it to be. As the People magazine source explained, she preferred the relationship between them to be a “totally gray” area.
“Sometimes they felt like being together and the next week they’d be traveling and take a break. It wasn’t conventional at all,” the source said.
According to the source, Frankel and Shields were always in one another’s lives but never felt it necessary to be “officially” dating. Instead, they left their relationship unconventional and undefined.
The People magazine source went on to reveal that due to Bethenny Frankel’s strained relationship with Jason Hoppy and her busy career with Skinnygirl, she’s “a lot to handle.” Although the couple attempted to make things work between them, they were simply quite busy and that made things very complicated when it came to merging their lives.
While Shields was seen on a few episodes of the currently airing 10th season of The Real Housewives of New York City, he did “not seek out the spotlight,” the insider explained.
“The real tragedy is Bryn. She really loved him. And he was like a second father,” the source added. “Bethenny is a great mom too. And seeing them together tells you how close they are.”
The Real Housewives of New York City Season 10 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo TV.