Life can be rough for convicted felons, but for CEO turned jailbird Martin Shkreli, at least he can count on the continued admiration and attention of a reporter who covered his story and (in)famously became infatuated with him.
Shkreli, also known as “Pharma Bro,” was convicted by a federal court in 2017 on several charges of securities fraud as well as conspiring to commit securities fraud. This followed the controversy involving Daraprim, a drug mostly used as an anti-malaria and anti-parasite medication, that Shkreli acquired the rights for and raised the price roughly 5600 percent (from $13.50 to $750).
That didn’t stop Bloomberg News reporter Christie Smythe from becoming infatuated with Shkreli while covering him for that publication. Smythe acquired some notoriety after she quit her job and even left her husband for Shkreli. Despite a relationship with such auspicious beginnings, the romance didn’t last, as Shkreli eventually dumped her for talking in public about their relationship in 2020.
However, in a recent interview on Fox News Digital, Smythe said she rejects the idea that she “threw her life away,” and said that she has “no regrets.”
“Part of me will always love Martin… I absolutely don’t have any regrets about what, you know, what has transpired,” Smythe told Fox News.
The story of her involvement with Shkreli went viral, especially given how much she sacrificed for the relationship, such as her job and her marriage. Smythe said she first kissed Shkreli in a room that “smelled of chicken wings” while visiting him in prison. Smythe doesn’t intend to walk away totally empty-handed, however, and is promoting a new memoir set to be published on Substack, entitled “SMIRK: How I Fell in Love With the Most Hated Man in America.”
“I was the reporter who broke the story of the arrest of a very notorious figure. I got to know him over the course of reporting on him, I eventually developed such a close relationship with him that I left my job and decided to pursue a romantic relationship with him… people found that very shocking,” Smythe said when asked how she tells people about the whole affair.
Things soured in 2020 when she told her story to Elle magazine, which briefly lit up the news cycle. Smythe knew that she was speaking against Shkreli’s desires, and he was so irritated with her that he broke with her through his lawyer when Elle tried to reach him for comment. The lawyer simply issued a public, tersely worded statement wishing “Ms. Smythe best of luck in her future endeavors.”
Smythe noted that “[the statement] was very dismissive, and of course, that hurt.”
However, Shrkeli wound up calling her a few days later, asking “is this Christie Smythe the celebrity?” Smythe says that he was amused, before adding that they’re still friends:
“Anyway, the point is that we are still friends. We are, you know, nothing more because there’s really no way to have a romantic relationship with someone in prison when you can’t even see him.”
In spite of everything, Smythe looks forward to seeing him again, but didn’t comment about whether or not she was still holding out hope that their romantic involvement would rekindle:
“We talk, you know, and that’s about it. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does when he gets out.”
Smythe says she plans to publish portions of her memoir on Substack in segments, twice a week, and she estimates that it will take about a year for the full story to be published.
Shkreli is expected to be released in 2023.
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