Dennis Shields' Estranged Wife Says He 'Remained My Best Friend' After Split: 'We Spoke Every Day'
Dennis and Jill Shields were married for 26 years before separating in 2016, when he began his on-off relationship with Bethenny Frankel
The late banker’s wife of 26 years mourned his death on Instagram Saturday, posting throwback photos of their children and an emotional message about their relationship. Dennis was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment on Friday, according to the New York Post and TMZ. He was 51.
“To the love of my life -Dennis- I will miss you every day. Forever your legacy will live on in our children and our future grandchildren,” Jill wrote.
Dennis and Jill Shields were married for 26 years before separating in 2016, when he began his on-off relationship with the Real Housewives of New York City star, who in 2013 had filed for divorce from ex-husband Jason Hoppy, with whom she shares 8-year-old daughter Bryn.
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“Even though we did not live together, you still remained my best friend and my husband. Not many people were able to grasp our situation but it worked for us,” Jill shared in her Saturday post.
“We spoke every day. I will miss that! I love you my dear husband. I am hoping up in heaven you are running around playing basketball and tennis without any back pain. See you again in forty years xo,” she said.
“Forever daddy’s little girls. We love you so much,” Jill captioned her follow-up post of a collage of four old photos of Dennis and his kids.
Dennis and Bethenny first met about 28 years ago when he dated (and later married) Jill, one of her high school friends. Though Bethenny and Jill did not stay in touch (“We’ve spoken three times in 25 years,” she previously told PEOPLE), she and Shields shared other mutual pals and began dating several months after he separated from his wife.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Friday, Jill called Dennis the love her life.
“We are all heartbroken. Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life. His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family’s privacy at this time,” she said.