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Bethenny Frankel shares tribute to her late boyfriend on 1st anniversary of his death

The reality TV star knew Dennis Shields for over 30 years.
/ Source: TODAY

Bethenny Frankel is honoring the memory of Dennis Shields, her sometimes-boyfriend and long-term friend, on the first anniversary of his passing. Shields, a high profile banker, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan last August ⁠— he was 51.

"One year ago today, I woke up to a beautiful sunny day with @biggysmallz by the pool, and my world crumbled and turned upside down in an instant," Frankel, 48, captioned the photo of her friend Shields, featuring him with her two Lhasa Apso dogs, Biggy and Smallz.

"A man Dennis, who I loved and respected, who was in my life for 30 years unexpectedly passed away," she continued, remembering her friend of 30 years and sharing a story about how he came up with the dogs' names.

"Dennis insisted we adopt biggy AND smallz for my daughter Peanut. He simply couldn’t imagine separating them. We racked our brains staying up late coming up with the perfect name for two dogs from the same litter with very different body types. Thing 1 & Thing 2 was an option but Peanut found it degrading. Lenny & Squiggy was a good one but I knew it would only appeal to the over 40 set. Then at 5am, Dennis was waiting for me to wake up and in his stronger than Tequila New Yawk accent said “BIGGY AND SMALLZ” and two stars were born."

Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields met nearly 30 years ago when Shields began dating (and later married) Frankel's high school friend Jill Schwartzberg.
Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields met nearly 30 years ago when Shields began dating (and later married) Frankel's high school friend Jill Schwartzberg.

As she recalled her friend's relationship with the dogs, Frankel got emotional, clearly still mourning the sudden loss of Shields, which she opened up about on the "Real Housewives of New York City" earlier this year.

"He loved these dogs and the feelings were mutual. They were particularly fond of his salty bald head. At times, it seemed like he and they spoke the same language and they were the only ones who understood him. He was a loving, sweet, gentle, brilliant, complicated, hilarious, creative and supportive man. He is missed terribly by so many but lives on in his friends and family and furry loved ones. I am a different person and in a different emotional place than I was a year ago, and the wounds have begun to heal but the scar will remain on my heart forever. RIP, August 10." Frankel added the hashtag #Unforgettable at the end of her tribute to her friend.

Frankel and Shields were long time friends before they started dating on and off in 2016, around the time Frankel finalized her divorce from ex-husband Jason Hoppy, with whom she shares her 9-year-old daughter, Bryn. Shields had separated from his wife of 26 years, Jill Shields (nee Schwartzberg) around the same time.

The Skinnygirl CEO and founder has found love again with real estate developer Paul Bernon.

Recalling the "unconditional love" from her friend, she posted a sweet pic of Shields lying with her dog Cookie, who also passed away, a few days after his sudden death.

"Rest In Peace my sweet babies who gave me endless unconditional love. #nowandforever" she wrote.