The former Bloomberg reporter who quit her job and left her husband to be with jailed ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli, has revealed the pair has patched things up following their brief split after she went public about their love.
Christie Smythe, 38, says she is back on speaking terms with Shkreli, who remains behind bars until 2023, after he cut her off for speaking openly about their whirlwind romance.
Smythe, a journalist who broke the news of his arrest for securities fraud in 2015, made headlines in December when she told Elle magazine she had given up her job and ended her marriage because she had fallen in love with Shkreli, dubbed ‘the most hated man in America.’
Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, Smythe stood by her actions and insisted she has not been ‘brainwashed’ as critics have claimed, saying Shkreli is just widely misunderstood.
Christie Smythe said she and Shkreli have stayed in touch through letters and jailhouse visits and even shared the only photo of the couple together (pictured) as she revealed they have reconciled
Smythe, a former Bloomberg journalist who broke the news of his arrest for securities fraud in 2015, made headlines in December when she went public about their romance in an interview with Elle magazine
Since then, the unlikely pair have patched things up and have stayed in contact through letters and jailhouse visits
‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, you don’t know me and what an incredibly willful and independent person I have been since childhood. And you don’t know Martin. Martin is not a brilliant manipulator when you get to know him,’ she told Fox News correspondent Laura Ingle.
‘He’s just a very, very eccentric person. It doesn’t play well in public, especially in negative light.
‘He is phenomenally intelligent and charismatic, but also has no emotional intelligence and very little common sense and is very awkward. And if you combine all of those things, you get kind of this public relations disaster,’ she added.
As for her marriage, Smythe said she was already considering leaving her husband when she fell for Shkreli and visited him in prison to tell him that she loved him after quitting her job.
She also maintained she had acted appropriately as a journalist despite developing a romance with the man she was covering.
Smythe reiterated those claims on Twitter after her interview aired, saying she made the right choice when she decided to resign.
‘I didn’t sleep with Martin, or “date” him. We bonded, slowly, and I developed feelings for him. Then I left my job because it was obvious I was conflicted (a slow realization). I eliminated the conflict. Not liking which path I chose doesn’t make it an “ethical lapse”,’ she tweeted.
Smythe, 38, revealed she had quit her job, divorced her husband, and froze her eggs for imprisoned former CEO Martin Shkreli last month
Following her interview with Fox on Thursday, Smythe also shared tweets insisting she had acted appropriately as a journalist despite developing a romance with the man she was covering
She posted another tweet adding: ‘The funny thing is I know of plenty of journalists who fraternized with sources much more intimately than I ever did when I was covering Martin (or anyone). As long as the scoops come, and the process stays hidden, it goes unquestioned.’
In a statement to Fox News, Bloomberg said Smythe’s conduct with Shkreli ‘was not consistent with expectations for a Bloomberg journalist.’
‘It became apparent that it would be best to part ways. Ms. Smythe tendered her resignation, and we accepted it,’ a spokesperson said.
Smythe said she and Shkreli have stayed in touch through letters and jailhouse visits and even shared the only photo of the couple together that was taken during a visitation day.
They are now in the process of figuring out their plans for the future once he’s released from jail.
‘I would love Martin to get out,’ Smythe said. ‘I would love him to start working on something productive that helps the world. And I’d like to play some sort of role in helping him get there. That’s my dream.’
Martine Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and up to $7.4 million in fines in 2017 on charges of securities fraud
Smythe has claimed her marriage had already been on the rocks when she left her husband for Shkreli
It comes days after a federal judge rejected Shkreli’s second request to be let out of prison early after he claimed in court papers that mental health issues have weakened his immune system and made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said in a 12-page ruling on Friday that Shkreli again failed to demonstrate extraordinary and compelling factors that would require a sentence modification, such as release under home confinement rules designed to move vulnerable inmates out of institutions during the pandemic.
Smythe (on her wedding day) said she was living a ‘perfect Brooklyn life’ with her ex-husband, Pimco executive Devin Arcoleo, 36, until she encountered Shkreli
Matsumoto, the same judge that ruled against Shkreli in May, said the 37-year-old presented no evidence to support his claims and that a mental health practitioner who evaluated him found him to be stable.
The low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where Shkreli is locked up has seen an increase in coronavirus cases among inmates and staff, with 26 inmates and 14 staff members currently testing positive.
Prosecutors said that, as of January 6, there were no positive cases in Shkreli’s housing unit. In her ruling, Matsumoto wrote that Shkreli is a ‘relatively young and healthy man’ and won’t be at high risk of severe complications if he were to contract the disease.
Shkreli is serving a seven-year prison sentence for a 2017 conviction for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to get, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock.
Shkreli, who was ordered to forfeit $7.3million as part of his sentence, is due to be released from prison in September 2023.
Shkreli had gained notoriety for a running a ‘Ponzi-like’ scheme to prop up his pharma empire and was already known as one of the most hated men in America for jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750, when he met Smythe.
Smythe shared details of their romance in Elle last month after being cut off by Shkreli who, in a statement, said he ‘wishes her well’.
Even his own lawyer, Ben Brafman, at the time said the relationship was not a good one.
Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and up to $7.4 million in fines in 2017 on charges of securities fraud
Smythe is pictured with her ex-husband. They started going to couple’s counselling when she began working on stories about Shkreli. Her husband warned her Shkreli was using her
Smythe’s ex-husband warned her he was manipulating her and her bosses at Bloomberg told her she’d lost her professional impartiality but she persisted with their relationship, visiting him in prison and defending him on Twitter, until it finally turned romantic after he was sentenced in 2018.
Since then, she said she has frozen her eggs to be able to have a family with Shkreli, 37, when he gets out of prison.
Before getting entangled with one of the most hated people in the world, Smythe lived ‘the perfect little Brooklyn life’ with her dog and husband whom she divorced
‘I fell down the rabbit hole. I’m happy here. I feel like I have purpose,’ she said.
Approached by DailyMail.com in December, Smythe’s ex-husband, Pimco executive Devin Arcoleo, 36, declined to comment and would not say whether or not she had given him any prior warning of her decision to make their messy split public.
He said, ‘No I have nothing I want to share thank you.’
The pair first met in 2015 soon after she found out that he was under federal investigation for securities law violations.
She had been told by a source that he was under investigation. When she called him for a comment, he told her she didn’t know what she was talking about, she says.
Then, after his arrest, he contacted her when he’d been bailed out of jail.
She says he told her: ‘I should have listened to you.’
They met in person four days later and she hoped to put together a profile on him for Bloomberg.
He came armed with spreadsheets showing, he claimed, where his investors’ money had gone.
‘You could see his earnestness. It just didn’t match this idea of a fraudster,’ she told Elle.
For weeks afterwards, she says he ‘toyed’ with her by promising an on-the-record interview only to give one to one of her competitors afterwards.
Maybe I was being charmed by a master manipulator
Eventually, he called asking for her advice because he needed a new lawyer. She said she was flattered.
‘It really felt like he didn’t have anybody to talk to that he could bounce ideas off of.
‘I was like, ‘All right. I guess I can do that.” He sounded ‘ragged and fragile, and I got concerned he would commit suicide because all this stuff was all happening at once,’ she said.
She was so convinced he was suicidal that she prepared an obituary to publish, she said.
They met again at a wine bar near his Murray Hill apartment where, she says, they bonded over their childhoods and the fact that neither of them went to Ivy League schools.
Smythe started advocating for Shkreli on social media. She ended up quitting Bloomberg when her editors said there was a conflict of interest
She then wrote a paper for a class she was taking at Columbia where she described being drawn in by him and how he manipulated reporters to his advantage. Her professor told her, she says, that the lines had become too muddied for her to be impartial in her reporting of her case.
‘Maybe I was being charmed by a master manipulator,’ she said.
Nonetheless, she decided she wanted to write a book about him. In 2017, she drafted a proposal.
He then invited her to hear him speak at an event where he complimented her on stage, saying: ‘Even if you find an honest reporter—I made friends with one, she’s here right now.’
She recalls how afterwards, they were in a bar drinking with some of the audience members who had come to hear him speak, when he went to the bathroom.
She stepped in to entertain the crowd. ‘It almost felt like I was a political wife,’ she said.
Shkreli’s trial began in 2017. By then, Smythe had taken book leave from Bloomberg.
She went to court every day to watch the trial and sometimes sat with his supporters, she claims, to gain an understanding of who they were for her book.
While he ‘trolled’ other reporters, including The New York Post’s Emily Saul, Smythe fell deeper for him.
‘He trolls because he’s anxious and he really, really wants to be somebody,’ she said.
Before he was convicted, the pair spent time together at his apartment. She claims it was ‘for research’.
Even her husband warned her: ‘He is just using you.’ He also said she was risking her professional reputation by ‘getting too sucked into this bad person’.
Shkreli’s lawyer Brafman told The New York Post last month : ‘I do remember her very clearly — and never completely understood Martin’s relationship to and with women.
‘My suspicion was, yes, that there was a relationship.
‘Let’s just say that I talked to him about it and tried to explain that this relationship with a journalist who was essentially writing a book about the trial, a book about him, was not a great idea.
‘But you know, I was his lawyer. I wasn’t his guardian. Martin is a man of his own mind. … [He] was indeed a complicated young man, and that’s an understatement.
‘Most geniuses are,’ he said.