Bethenny Frankel Said She Would 'Never Get Legally Married Again' Before Dennis Shields Proposed
Bethenny Frankel has long said that she does not need to get married again — but she did consider giving it another try when Dennis Shields, her on-off boyfriend, proposed months before his death from a suspected overdose at 51.
“He proposed to her with a ring in April. She didn’t wear the ring because they had some things to work out first,” a source told PEOPLE about Frankel, 47, and Shields. “She said yes, but they would have some hurdles to overcome first before making that level of commitment. She loved him. He’s her family and her best friend and her confidante. Her partner and her business partner.”
Frankel’s hesitance is understandable. She was briefly married to Peter Sussman in the ’90s, and then after a whirlwind romance, she married Jason Hoppy in 2010 (and even televised her wedding on Bravo!). They welcomed daughter Bryn shortly after, but then things turned ugly. Their protracted divorce was finalized in July 2016, though they’re stuck in a messy custody battle over their 8-year-old daughter — she accused him of stalking and harassing her just last year. With all that’s happened, Frankel has given a number of interviews about her love life and why she vowed she’d never walk down the aisle again.
“It doesn’t mean that I would not commit to someone,” she said. “I’m not jaded, I’m not bitter about love. I think there are amazing guys out there in the world. It’s none of that. I will never, ever be legally married again.”
She quipped, “Marriage is the Hotel California. You can check out any time, but you can never leave.”
In April 2016, Frankel shared her view of relationships with Today. “Everybody is out there looking for someone — they want the ring and to get married,” she explained. “My opinion is you need a man who can deal with you. If I can’t meet someone who can do that, then I’d rather be alone.”
“I don’t need to get married,” she said. “I don’t need a man. I can support five men.”
In March 2017, Frankel told PEOPLE Now that she was enjoying being single.
“I like my life now,” she said. “I like men, and I am not in a serious relationship. I’m liking this! I don’t know that I’ve ever really, really known how to date and be single like this.”
She added, “I’m not stopping the car unless there’s something really great to get out for.”
In April 2017, Frankel told PEOPLE that the so-called Housewives‘ curse made her wary of marriage.
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot — especially since I’ve had a negative divorce,” she said. “There are a lot of members of our cast that are divorced, and people have had their issues, and I don’t know that I would get married again.”
However, In February 2018, when Frankel talked to Bravo’s The Daily Dish, Frankel’s tune was starting to change. “I am dating and I’m looking for a partner. Like a real partner. Someone who’s not intimidated by all that comes with me, which is really a challenging thing,” she said.
“I already wanted to settle down,” Frankel continued. “I’m ready now to really meet someone and, yes, settle down. I know exactly what I want, so I think things are usually easy to find, like in real estate, when you know what you want.”
— with reporting by Liz McNeil