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Bethenny Frankel Details Dennis Shields’ ‘Very Complicated’ Proposal Before His Death

For the first time, Bethenny Frankel confirmed that she was secretly engaged to Dennis Shields before his death last summer. The Real Housewives of New York City star shared the news with her costars on the emotional Wednesday, March 20, episode.

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“Dennis and I went out to dinner in April and he proposed,” Frankel, 48, said. “It’s funny because he said to me, ‘Well, did you say yes?’ And I said, ‘Well, I love you, and I can’t believe you did this, but we have to talk about some conditions and some terms and how things are going to change, issues I’ve had with partnership and consistency.’”

The Skinnygirl founder continued, “It was all very complicated, and it wasn’t what a natural engagement should be. So our engagement was on ice.”

Bethenny Frankel Dennis Shields Complicated Marriage Proposal
Dennis Shields and Bethenny Frankel leave SoHo House in New York City on June 14, 2016. Alessio Botticelli/GC Images

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Later in the episode, Frankel revealed that Shields also bought a ring for Frankel’s 8-year-old daughter, Bryn, whom she shares with ex-husband Jason Hoppy.

“We were a family and my daughter was close with him,” she explained. “I knew him for so many years.”

The former couple met nearly 30 years earlier and had been dating on and off since 2016. Shields was found dead in August 2018 from a suspected prescription drug overdose at the age of 51.

Related: Most Tumultuous Relationships in Reality TV History

Us Weekly confirmed days after the businessman’s death that he had proposed to Frankel, with a source explaining that the pair “were definitely making plans to move forward with things and trying to make it work.”

The I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To author previously broke down over Shields’ death on the season 11 premiere of RHONY earlier this month.

“The Bryn element was another sucker punch,” she explained. “She said, ‘Mommy, does Dennis still have a phone number?’ So I said, ‘Yeah.’ … So she goes, ‘I want to text him.’ … And then yesterday morning she goes, ‘Do you think Dennis got my text?’ I’ve never in my life experienced this moment, this feeling, this hysteria.”

The Real Housewives of New York City airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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