Jill Schwartzberg issued a statement after her estranged husband died from a suspected overdose at age 51, TMZ and the New York Post reported. He was reportedly found at Trump Tower. Shields, a New York banker, dated Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel on-and-off.
“We are all heartbroken. Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life,” Schwartz said in a statement to People magazine. “His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family’s privacy at this time.”
According to the New York Times wedding section, Schwartzberg and Shields got married in 1990. They said their “I dos” at the Plaza in New York, with their nuptials being officiated by Rabbi Charles Lippman. She was 21 years old at the time and Shields was 23.
I just heard the sad news about Dennis. He was a good man. My condolences to all his family and friends. So tragic.
Schwartzberg, 49, is from Westbury, New York. She graduated from New York University and received her masters at Teachers College at Columbia University.
Frankel, who went to the same high school as Schwartzberg, did not immediately issue a statement after Shields’ reported death. In May, she indirectly talked about dating with him during an interview with Steve Harvey.
“I’ve been with someone on and off for years,” she said at the time. “It’s like a partnership where if we’re not being teammates and it’s not working and one man is down, then the other man is down. We’re trying to really kind of be good partners and be good teammates and I think relationships oddly are—and this sounds cold—but a little bit like business. If both people aren’t happy about it but slightly uncomfortable and giving up something or giving in [to]something, it doesn’t work. So both partners have to say, ‘All right, I’m in it for this.’”
Frankel added: “And I think we might be at that point, believe it or not… I haven’t said that to anyone yet.” The reality star and Shields had known each other for nearly 30 years.
Police would not confirm Shields’ death until family members were identified. “Today [August 10] at 9:19 a.m. police responded to a 911 call of an unconscious and unresponsive 51-year-old male. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” a statement from the New York Police Department said. “Identification is pending following family notification.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).