Bethenny Frankel’s Exit From ‘RHONY’ Was Reportedly A Promise To Her Late Boyfriend Dennis Shields

Bethenny Frankel's late boyfriend, Dennis Shields, died last August.

Bethenny Frankel is seen on 'RHONY' Season 11.
Heidi Gutman / Bravo

Bethenny Frankel's late boyfriend, Dennis Shields, died last August.

Bethenny Frankel’s exit from The Real Housewives of New York City was reportedly prompted by her late boyfriend, Dennis Shields, who died suddenly of an alleged drug overdose in August of last year.

According to a September 3 report from Radar Online, an insider spoke to gossip writer A.J. Benza for his Fame column and revealed new details about Frankel’s exit, including the way in which Shields looked at her career in reality television.

Frankel’s friends “knew she was keeping a promise” to Shields, “who always wanted her to reach her full potential in life,” an insider explained, adding that Shields “always knew Bethenny had a lot more to offer.”

Although Shields didn’t put down The Real Housewives of New York City, he made Frankel promise him that at some point in the future, she would walk away from the Bravo TV reality series and open herself up to exploring bigger opportunities. Then, just months after his tragic death, Frankel landed a deal that will allow her to star in and produce a number of upcoming shows for MGM Television with Mark Burnett.

According to Radar Online‘s report, one of Frankel’s upcoming shows will reportedly be “entrepreneurial-based” and feature Frankel offering her expertise to women who are trying to create, develop, and run successful businesses.

Frankel officially announced she was leaving her role on The Real Housewives of New York City last month after appearing on eight of the show’s 11 seasons.

In a statement to Variety on August 21, Frankel mentioned her deal with MGM Television and Burnett and told her fans and followers that the best “is yet to come.”

“I have decided to leave the ‘Housewives’ franchise to explore my next chapter,” Frankel said in her statement. “It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women.”

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According to Frankel, her experience with The Real Housewives of New York City and Bravo TV, which also aired her three-seasons-long spinoff, Bethenny Ever After, was a “magical ride.”

Frankel also told Variety that she is so grateful to the network for showcasing her life as an entrepreneur.

Frankel was a part of the show’s original cast lineup at the time of its launch in March 2008.

The Real Housewives of New York City Season 12 is currently in production and expected to air on Bravo TV next spring.