A New York journalist fell in love with infamous “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli and upended her “perfect” life for him — quitting her job and divorcing her husband, she revealed in a new report.
Former Bloomberg News reporter Christie Smythe, 38, opened up about her relationship with the convicted fraudster for the first time in an Elle magazine article published Sunday.
“I fell down the rabbit hole,” Smythe told the mag of her life-altering romance with Shkreli, 37, — who is serving a seven-year sentence for scamming investors in hedge funds he operated.
“I’m happy here. I feel like I have purpose,” she gushed.
But their love story may not get a happy ending. Smythe hasn’t seen her beau in over a year because of COVID-19 safety protocols at prisons.
Now working remotely for a journalism start-up from her Harlem basement apartment, Smythe promised to wait for Shkreli.
“I’m gonna try,” she said. “I’ll be here.”
The Kansas City, Missouri native first crossed paths with Shkreli in 2015, when she learned he was under federal investigation for securities law violations.
At the time, Smythe was married and had “the perfect little Brooklyn life,” she said.
She described her increasing involvement with Shkreli over the next few years as “incremental decisions, where you’re, like, slowly boiling yourself to death in the bathtub.”
Shkreli earned himself the moniker of “Most hated man in the world” for hiking up the price of AIDS drug Daraprim nearly 5,000 percent in August 2015 and was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 after a headline-grabbing trial.
By the time Smythe split from her hubby, she’d been visiting Shkreli in jail for months, even getting a license so she could drive to see him after he was moved to a Pennsylvania prison.
In the summer of 2018, Smythe quit Bloomberg over her connection to Shkreli. Soon after, “I told Martin I loved him” in a prison visitation room that smelled like chicken wings, she recalled to Elle.
“He told me he loved me, too,” Smythe said, and the two kissed.
She added: “It’s hard to think of a time when I felt happier.”
The pair have discussed their kids’ names and prenups, and Smythe said she even froze her eggs out of fear she’d be too old to have children by the time her “life partner” is freed.
Her now-ex husband had warned her that Shkreli was “just using” her and that she was risking her journalistic reputation by “getting too sucked into this bad person.”
Smythe even admitted that: “Maybe I was being charmed by a master manipulator.”
Public hatred for Shkreli is well documented. Some 134 prospective jurors were tossed from his trial as they variously described him as” “evil” and said “he looks like a d–k,” The Post reported at the time.
He was also known for going after female journalists who covered the trial, buying urls in the names of two, including a Post reporter, and offering to sell the domains for $12,000.
The reviled pharma exec even once said that, if acquitted, he would “f–k” a freelance writer who had spurned his advances.
But smitten Smythe defended his behavior to Elle, saying that “He trolls because he’s anxious… He really, really wants to be somebody.”
In April, Shkreli asked for early release from prison because of the coronavirus and his lawyers revealed he had a fiancée, requesting that he serve out the remainder of his sentence at her Manhattan apartment to work on a supposed COVID-19 cure.
Though she was described as Shkreli’s bride-to-be by his attorneys, Smythe said they’re actually “life partners.”
However, it looks Smythe speaking out about the love connection may have poured cold water on their romance.
A statement her beau gave to Elle read: “Mr. Shkreli wishes Ms. Smythe the best of luck in her future endeavors.”
Upon hearing his detached words, Smythe — who has sold the movie rights to a book proposal about Shkreli — quietly said “That’s sweet,” the mag reported.
“That’s him saying, You’re going to live your life and we’re just gonna not be together. That I’m going to maybe get my book and that our paths will… fork up,” Smythe continued, tearing up.