Bethenny Frankel Mourns Late Boyfriend Dennis Shields On ‘RHONY’ Premiere

The reality TV star’s grief takes center stage for the show’s 11th season.

Bethenny Frankel arrives at the Emmy For Your Consideration Event for Showtime's 'Shameless'
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The reality TV star’s grief takes center stage for the show’s 11th season.

The premiere of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York just aired after a hiatus that felt way too long for fans. RHONY didn’t disappoint, either, as Bethenny Frankel laid her soul bare discussing the mourning process for her late boyfriend Dennis Shields. The 48-year-old experienced a rough year, largely because of Shields’s sudden death.

Dennis Shields died at the age of 51 on August 10 of last year. Many sources reported that he died of a suspected drug overdose. However, Extra TV indicated that the official cause of death is, and will remain, “undetermined.” This is due to a religious objection that prevented an autopsy from being performed.

Although the show just returned to the air, RHONY captured Bethenny Frankel’s grief a mere three weeks after Shields passed away. This made for some dramatic scenes that featured Frankel alternating from crying to questioning whether it was okay to continue having fun with her life. The former Celebrity Apprentice: Martha Stewart contestant also shared some heartbreakingly touching discussions she had with her 8-year-old daughter, Bryn.

Per The Hollywood Gossip, Bryn wanted to know whether or not the recently deceased Shields still had his cellphone with him. As a result of this inquiry, Bethenny and Bryn sent text messages to Dennis’s phone. For Bethenny, this was a form of closure.

“I love you, Dennis. You’re the most loving, beautiful man in the whole world, and I’m sorry you had so much pain. Now you can really sleep.”

Bryn, meanwhile, seemed to have a much harder time adjusting to the concept of death. The young girl’s text to Dennis included the question, “how are you doing today?” and she later asked Frankel if Dennis had received her text. Add on top of this the fact that rampant speculation about a drug overdose was everywhere in the media after Shields’ death and there’s more than enough pathos to fill an entire season of RHONY.

The reality TV star is currently involved in a legal battle for custody of her daughter. Bryn’s father, Jason Hoppy, is trying to get full custody of the 8-year-old. According to Us Weekly, Frankel spoke openly during her testimony about her desire to “wind things down” career-wise, so that she can “have a better quality of life.” This seems to indicate that Bethenny Frankel may not return for another season of the Real Housewives of New York, but only time will tell if that’s the case.

While viewers wait to find out if she’s really done with RHONY, they can watch Bethenny Frankel’s mourning process unfold as she deals with Dennis Shields’ death throughout Season 11.