Former Bloomberg journalist who quit her job to pursue jailed Martin Shkreli ‘has no regrets’

Former Bloomberg journalist who quit her job to pursue jailed Martin Shkreli ‘has no regrets’

A former rising Bloomberg journalist who quit her job and divorced her husband to pursue a doomed relationship with infamous ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli – before she was dumped through his lawyers – has said she has no regrets.

Christie Smythe, 39, said she is much happier since giving up the ‘perfect little Brooklyn life’ with her financier husband for Shkreli after she started covering him for work in early 2015 – when she broke the news of his arrest for securities fraud.

Although the romance came to an end when Shkreli broke up with her through his lawyers after she went public with the relationship in an Elle magazine feature, the former reporter says she bears no ill feelings.

‘Part of me will always love Martin … I absolutely don’t have any regrets about what, you know, what has transpired,’ Smythe told Fox Digital News.

‘So we are friends, we talk. I am looking forward to seeing what he does when he gets out [of jail]. I am very excited to see him when he gets out. I imagine that there will be a very big hug,’ she added about his release in September 2023.

Shkreli is serving a seven-year sentence after being charged with running a pyramid scheme to prop up his pharma empire in 2015. He 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.

Smythe has also launched her own endeavors after giving up her journalistic career to pursue the unlikely romance.

She plans to publish a memoir titled ‘SMIRK: How I Fell in Love With the Most Hated Man in America’ – in reference to Shkreli’s infamous smirk at a congressional hearing that scrutinized his actions, which ultimately earned him the ‘Pharma Bro’ alias.

‘You will be taken along on my journey from when I was a plucky Bloomberg legal reporter trying to ascend a career ladder, to my collision with an errant young striver whose many missteps and impulsive decisions caused him to fall directly in my path,’ her website promises about the upcoming book.

‘This is great, I am proud of you and thank you for thinking about my feelings as well. I hope it is a smash hit,’ Shkreli allegedly wrote in an email about the book.

Christie Smythe, 39, said she is much happier since giving up the 'perfect little Brooklyn life' with her financier husband for Shkreli after she started covering him for work in early 2015 - when she broke the news of his arrest for securities fraud

Speaking to Fox, Smythe said she didn’t agree with the way an Elle profile characterized her relationship with Shkreli, adding that people had literally interpreted she had knowingly abandoned happiness to be with Shkreli.

‘The framing was that I throw away my life for Martin Shkreli, and yeah, I kind of object to that characterization because my life has continued. I did not threw anything away. In fact, I am in a much happier place now than I used to be,’ Smythe told the outlet.

‘I had an Instagram perfect life … and I just wasn’t happy with my entire situation.

Smythe said that she felt drawn to Shkreli right after meeting him but did not trust her own instincts. Eventually, however, she said she realized the criminal mastermind was not what everyone said he was.

‘I got to know him and  developed such a close relationship with him … And what I liked about him is that he was extremely open honestly, very earnest, very smart,’ she said.

‘Smart in a way there is not just one thing he knows about, or just one thing he is good at. He is an intellectually curious person on a level I rarely see, so I was very intrigued by that.’

Smythe left Bloomberg in 2018 and got divorced from her husband in 2019. She  had said she would wait for Shkreli while he served the remaining of his sentence. She also said she had frozen her eggs.

'This is great, I am proud of you and thank you for thinking about my feelings as well. I hope it is a smash hit,' Shkreli allegedly wrote in an email about the book

Smythe went public with the romance in 2020 –  much to the disapproval of Shkreli, who had warned her not to talk to the media about it. She said she was motivated to do the interview on Elle because she wanted to advocate for him in the event he became infected with COVID.

‘I was very worried he would get sick and there wouldn’t be anybody to advocate for him. So, I thought, you know what, I [have] to go public. People are going to pay attention to this and then at least I’ll have a voice if he gets sick,’ Smythe told Fox.

But Shkreli did not react well to the news and broke up with her through his lawyers.

‘We are still friends, you know, nothing more. Because there is really no way of having a romantic relationship with someone in prison, where I can’t even see him. It has been two years since I have seen him because visiting protocols are a nightmare, she added.

Shkreli, who once led Turing Pharmaceuticals, is currently serving seven years in prison for defrauding investors. He became infamous for suddenly raising the price of the drug Daraprim in 2015 by 5,000 percent – from $13.50 a pill to $750.

He also drew attention in 2015 when he purchased for $2 million the sole edition of an album by rappers Wu-Tang Clan titled ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.’

In 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on an unrelated matter 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 was ordered to forfeit $7.3 million as part of his unrelated prison sentence and is due to be released from prison in September 2023.

The pair first met in 2015 soon after she found out that he was under federal investigation for securities law violations.

Then, after his arrest, he contacted her when he’d been bailed out of jail.

For weeks afterward, she says he ‘toyed’ with her by promising an on-the-record interview only to give one to one of her competitors.

Eventually, he called asking for her advice because he needed a new lawyer. She said she was flattered.

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.

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.

The couple wrote back and a forth

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The couple wrote back and a forth

They mailed each other several letters during the unlikely romance

The pair first met in 2015 soon after she found out that he was under federal investigation for securities law violations.

Then, after his arrest, he contacted her when he’d been bailed out of jail.

For weeks afterward, she says he ‘toyed’ with her by promising an on-the-record interview only to give one to one of her competitors.

Eventually, he called asking for her advice because he needed a new lawyer. She said she was flattered.

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.

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.

The couple wrote back and a forth

+10
View gallery

The couple wrote back and a forth

They mailed each other several letters during the unlikely romance

She then went to visit him in jail and bought $30 of snacks from the vending machine because she didn’t know what he would like.

She ended up heating up a hamburger for him in the microwave.

In court, prosecutors read out some of their communications. She said it was only then that she realized she had become ‘part of the story’.

She told her editors she could no longer cover the trial for Bloomberg but continued going to court and trying to sell the movie rights to her book, which publishers had passed on by this point.

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

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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

She remembers dashing around the courtroom to greet people, claiming she felt like she was ‘giving a dinner party.’

After he was sentenced to seven years, she kept visiting him in prison and acting as an ‘advocate’ for him online. She defended him on Twitter so much that her editors hauled her in for a meeting.

She quit, agreeing that she could no longer be impartial.

She and her husband also decided that year to part ways. She does not attribute their divorce entirely to Shkreli but says: ‘I’m not going to say it was wrong for him to be concerned.’

She continued visiting him but insists nothing physical had happened between them until then.

Then, in the visitors room, she told him she loved him.

‘I told Martin I loved him. And he told me he loved me, too,’ she said. She then asked if she could kiss him and he said yes.

They even discussed prenuptial agreements and she says she has frozen her eggs to be able to have kids with him when he gets out.

When he found out she was discussing their romance publicly, he stopped communicating with her.

His scheduled release date from a low-security federal prison is September 2023.

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