Ex-Bloomberg journalist dumped by ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli missed marriage counseling to see him


Journalist dumped by Martin Shkreli reveals she missed marriage counseling with her husband to secretly visit the Pharma Bro in prison

  • Christie Smythe, 39, spoke to The Sunday Times about her self-published memoir, Smirk, and her life after Martin Shkreli
  • She was a Bloomberg reporter who, in 2015, began writing about the financier and entrepreneur, and exchanging emails
  • He had in February 2015 founded a pharmaceutical firm, Turing, which six months later bought Aids drug Daraprim
  • He hiked the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill, sparking widespread outrage, with everyone from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton criticizing him
  • The Brooklyn-born Shkreli was arrested in December 2015 and charged with securities fraud from his work at a hedge fund 
  • The pair met in person in January 2016, while he was out on bail, and she began interviews for a book on him
  • Throughout 2017 Smythe continued to report on him; her bosses worried she was too close to him, and in July 2018 she resigned and told him she loved him
  • Smythe divorced her husband of almost a decade, but in December 2020 he dumped her after she spoke about their relationship to Elle magazine 

A former Bloomberg journalist who divorced her husband of almost a decade after falling in love with ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli, before being unceremoniously dumped by him two years later, has revealed she missed a marriage counseling session to visit Shkreli in prison.

Christie Smythe, 39, became a source of fascination after she revealed in December 2020 that she had left her job and her husband for the reviled businessman, who in 2015 bought an Aids drug and hiked the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.

He was arrested in December 2015 on securities fraud, connected to his work at a hedge fund, and in March 2018 was sentenced to seven years in prison for the financial crimes.

On Sunday Smythe spoke to The Sunday Times about the last turbulent seven years, and said she was so devoted to seeing Shkreli, also 39, that she missed a marriage counseling session.

Christie Smythe, 39, left her job and her husband after falling for Martin Shkreli, who she was writing about for Bloomberg

Shkreli, also 39, dumped Smythe a year and a half after she gave up her life for him

Christie Smythe, 39, left her job and her husband for Martin Shkreli in July 2018. In December 2020 he dumped her via a statement in a magazine

Smythe had previously said she was eagerly waiting for him with open arms after he was released from prison almost two years early, on May 18. She now says she has a new boyfriend - although she still defends Shkreli, and says they plan to meet up

Smythe had previously said she was eagerly waiting for him with open arms after he was released from prison almost two years early, on May 18. She now says she has a new boyfriend – although she still defends Shkreli, and says they plan to meet up

Shkreli is seen immediately after his release from prison last month, with a man named Edmund Sullivan, who claimed to have picked him up and posted photos of the two together in the car

Shkreli is seen immediately after his release from prison last month, with a man named Edmund Sullivan, who claimed to have picked him up and posted photos of the two together in the car 

She continues to defend Shkreli, despite him dumping her after the 2020 article in Elle, via a statement issued to the magazine.

On Sunday, after The Sunday Times article was published, she tweeted: ‘If you say all people deserve second chances and a shot at redemption EXCEPT Martin Shkreli (or except whomever the internet has decided to hate at a given moment), you really don’t mean that.’

Smythe freely admitted that, by 2017, she was devoted to Shkreli – something which concerned her then-husband.

She said she had finally convinced her spouse of almost a decade, Devin Arcolo, a financier, to attend the counseling in November 2017.

But the session clashed with the first visit to see Shkreli in jail, in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

She arrived 52 minutes late for the hour-long session.

‘I didn’t count the minutes — he did,’ Smythe said.

‘We still went to marriage counseling later and it was a disaster, of course. Nothing was counseled.’

The couple’s marriage irrevocably broke down.

Smythe is pictured with her former husband, Devin Arcoleo. He was concerned about her closeness to Shkreli, and the couple began counseling in November 2017: by July 2018, the marriage was over

Smythe is pictured with her former husband, Devin Arcoleo. He was concerned about her closeness to Shkreli, and the couple began counseling in November 2017: by July 2018, the marriage was over

And in July 2018, she resigned from Bloomberg – the news agency that had assigned her to report on Shkreli, in 2015.

‘I was feeling extremely frustrated by having to keep everything bottled up,’ she told the paper.

‘I was just, like, ‘Everyone is so worried about what? That I will fall in love with him?’

‘After that thought sunk in, I was like, ‘You know what, maybe I do love him — screw everyone.’ ‘

Smythe had first begun corresponding with Shkreli in 2015, in the early days of the controversy of the Aids drug, Daraprim.

His 5,000 percent increase in the cost of the life-saving treatment was reviled by everyone from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump.

Shkreli is seen in December 2015, after he was arrested for securities fraud. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2018

Shkreli is seen in December 2015, after he was arrested for securities fraud. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2018

He smiled at members of Congress in February 2016, while they questioned him about a drug that treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems

He smiled at members of Congress in February 2016, while they questioned him about a drug that treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems

How ex-hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli fell from grace 

Martin Shkreli became known as the ‘most hated man in America’ after he bought up the rights to lifesaving AIDs drug Daraprim in 2014 and raised the price from $13.50 per pill to a staggering $750 per pill.

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. 

At the time of his 2015 arrest for lying to investors, Shkreli was already notorious for hiking the price of Daraprim by 4,000 percent.

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal to people with the AIDS virus or other immune-system disorders including malaria and cancer.

He was also known for attacking critics on social media under the guise of ‘Pharma Bro’ and of putting a $5,000 bounty on a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.

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In January 2016 the pair met in person for the first time, as his Manhattan office while he was on bail.

‘I don’t think I was attracted to him initially,’ she said. ‘Well, maybe. It was more of a curiosity. I was not thinking about him as a romantic subject.’

In February 2016 he was subpoenaed to testify before Congress about the price hike, but repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment – doing little to endear himself to his critics. 

She began researching a book on the Brooklyn-born financier and entrepreneur, and covered his story extensively for Bloomberg, including his trial.

‘Even though he’s kind of shy, he’s like a lightning rod,’ she said.

He was sentenced in March 2018 to seven years in prison.

After leaving Bloomberg, she confessed her feelings to him, and the pair had their first kiss – in prison.

Prison rules barred them from having sex, but on their visits she said they would have hours-long conversations about ‘books, science, pharmaceuticals, crypto, family, hopes and dreams’.

Smythe said that he took her writing career seriously, adding: ‘That, of course, is very flattering.’

She added: ‘We were never at a loss for anything to say. We were always making each other laugh.’

They discussed marriage, prenups, and children, and Smythe froze her eggs, on his encouragement.

But when the pandemic hit, and she could no longer visit him, things started to go wrong.

In December 2020 she spoke to Elle magazine about the relationship, which angered him.

He gave the magazine a statement: ‘Mr Shkreli wishes Ms Smythe the best of luck in her future.’.

She said it was ‘hurtful’, but not truly surprising that he reacted badly, and told The New York Times that she would wait for him.

He was released from prison on May 18, and the romance has fizzled.

They do plan to meet up at some point, she said.

The Brooklyn-born financier and entrepreneur became one of the most reviled men in America after he increased the price of the Aids drug by 5,000 percent

The Brooklyn-born financier and entrepreneur became one of the most reviled men in America after he increased the price of the Aids drug by 5,000 percent

She now lives in Harlem and has a new boyfriend, and is publishing her memoir, Smirk, online in a Substack.

She said that, if she had ‘thrown Shkreli under the bus’ and portrayed herself as a victim, and ‘played along with the arch-villain narrative’, she would have been offered a more traditional book deal.

‘If I just gave up everything I actually thought and went along with what [the publishers] thought would sell, I’d have published a book. But I can’t do that,’ she said.

She said the editor she now works with told her she was ‘an unlikeable heroine’.

‘When I realized that was where I fit, it became so much easier to write and to deal with the negative reactions,’ she said.

A timeline to Martin Shkreli’s controversies and convictions  

Martin Shrekli was released early from Allenwood prison on May 18, 2022, serving five years of his seven-year sentence. 

Shkreli became a household name after becoming the ‘most hated man in America’ after he upped the cost of AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent, making the price soar from $13.50 a pill to $750. 

August 2015: Shkreli’s Vyera Pharmaceuticals acquires the drug Daraprim 

September 2015: Shkreli hikes up the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent. He defended the outrageous price hike by saying the company needed to make a profit to continue researching and for operational costs. 

December 2015: He is arrested on securities and wire fraud charges for his other pharmaceutical company Retrophin between 2009 and 2014. Prosecutors alleged he used the company’s cash and stock to pay back hedge fund investors for the money he lost. 

He was released on a $5million bail at the time and he was terminated as CEO. 

February 2016: He refuses to testify in front of Congress, invoking his Fifth Amendment. He smirked at lawmakers as they asked him about Daraprim’s price hike – a move he’d become known for. 

January 2017: He harassed a female journalist Laura Duca on Twitter, photoshopping himself over her husband and sent her various messages. He was banned but continued to make multiple accounts. 

June 2017: His trial began and he faced up to 20 years in prison. 

August 2017: He is convicted of three of eight federal counts by a Brooklyn jury. 

September 2017: His bail was revoked and he was sent to prison on September 13 after reportedly threatening a former presidential nominee on social media. 

He offered $5,000 on Facebook for someone to grab Hillary Clinton’s hair while she was on her book tour. 

‘The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton,’ he wrote at the time. 

March 2018: He was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors. 

Shkreli cried in court, saying: ‘I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me. I took down Martin Shkreli.’

May 2020 : He is denied his request for early release. The ‘Pharma Bro’ cited that he wanted out to assemble a team to find a cure for COVID-19. A judge did not believe him. 

May 2022: He is released early from an Allenwood prison after serving five years of his seven-year sentence. He will finish the rest of his sentence a halfway house.  

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