Jill Zarin is a former, full-time cast member from the Real Housewives of New York City and when she was on the show, her late husband, Bobby Zarin, was always in her corner. He backed her up, no matter what fight she got into, and he was often a calming voice of reason. It was clear that Bobby put his marriage first in life. Each of the cast members would, at times, talk about their love and respect for Bobby. Unfortunately, while Bobby appeared to have a huge heart, he also had many battles with his health.
Over the years, Bobby Zarin had battled cancer and some of his health issues were discussed on Real Housewives. Ultimately, at the age of 71, he succumbed to the disease, in January 2018. Many of Zarin’s former Housewives co-stars attended the funeral, which was partly filmed for the show as well. In addition, People reported that Million Dollar Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger and Donald Trump’s ex-wife, Marla Maples, also attended. For more information on the loving life Bobby shared with Jill, his struggle with cancer, and his background, read on below.
1. Jill Zarin Gave a Eulogy at her Husband’s Funeral
Bobby Zarin’s funeral took place at Riverside Memorial in New York City. Those who spoke at the service, talked of Bobby’s strength and his ability to touch others. Jill Zarin also addressed the crowd, delivering her eulogy last.
According to People, in her speech, Jill said, “I wasn’t sure if I could stand up here today. [Bobby] was an incredibly great husband, a great father, and grandfather, and [a] truly great friend …” His final battle with cancer began in July 2017 and Jill said she needed something to take her mind off, so she started knitting him a blanket. She stated at the funeral that, “He spent the last days of his life snuggled up in it. The irony is when I draped it over the casket, it fit perfectly. Bobby knew.”
Jill’s sister, judge Lisa Wexler, also spoke at the service, praising the love she and Bobby shared. Lisa said that, “Jill always said Bobby’s always right and that Bobby could never say no to her. He was the ground to her air.”
2. An Incident During Bobby’s Cancer Battle Led to the Demise of His Wife’s Friendship With Bethenny Frankel
Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin were the best of friends when they began filming Real Housewives of New York City, but their friendship hit the skids in 2010. A bitter feud began and Jill said that it was because Bethenny hadn’t reached out much when Bobby, again, was battling cancer. A fire ignited and the two were never able to repair the damage.
Bethenny became very close with Jill’s family during the course of their friendship, including with Jill’s husband. After the friendship ended, Bethenny became engaged, pregnant, and then married. Jill felt left out and saddened that she couldn’t be included. This was shown on Real Housewives.
According to People, Bethenny stood in the back of the room at Bobby’s funeral and then had a heartfelt conversation with Jill Zarin outside of the service. There, Jill told Bethenny that Bobby always loved her. The day of the funeral, Bethenny wrote this message on Twitter, “Today is a sad day with a silver lining. I laughed. I cried. I saw old faces & watched a family come together surrounding a loss. “I have a dream” that Bobby’s death makes us realize what is important & treat each day as our last.”
3. Thyroid Cancer Caused Bobby Zarin’s Death
Bobby Zarin was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. He then had his thyroid removed and underwent treatment. Unfortunately, the treatments didn’t take. He later told People that, “The radioactive iodine usually kills off whatever undetectable cancer cells are left in your body after surgery. We thought it was cured — and it usually is in about 93 percent of cases. But I wasn’t able to absorb the radioactive iodine. So it came back.”
Sadly, the cancer later spread to Bobby’s lungs. In 2016, Jill then revealed that Bobby had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent Gamma Knife Radiosurgery. According to CNN, the statement released by Jill and Bobby’s family at the time of his death read, “There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are. Thank you, everyone, for all your love and support during this difficult time.”
Jill Zarin’s daughter, Ally Shapiro, also paid tribute to Bobby on Instagram when he passed. In a heartfelt message, she wrote, “You fought with dignity and courage, surrounded by all of us with love and respect till the very end. You can rest In peace now, we love you so much.”
4. He Has Children From a Previous Marriage
Jill Zarin was not Bobby’s first wife and he has children from a previous marriage, just as Jill has a daughter from a previous relationship. According to People, Jill said that in her husband’s final days, she and the family slept in his hospital room with him. She also said that, at one point, Bobby’s oldest son, David, left the hospital and Jill told Bobby “not to go” until David got back. Shortly after David returned to the hospital room, Bobby passed away.
Each of Bobby’s children spoke at the funeral – Jonathan, David and Jennifer. Bobby Zarin was also the step-father of Jill’s daughter, Ally Shapiro. On Real Housewives, the two didn’t always share the closest bond, but Bobby clearly appeared to make an effort in their relationship. During the funeral, Ally stated in front of the attendees, “Thank you for treating me as your own. He never said no to me, either … He was the life of every party and the last man standing, and he derived great pleasure from helping others.”
Ahead of the funeral, Jill took to social media to pay tribute to her late husband, writing, “Words cannot express the hole in my heart. Bobby taught me what true and deep love is. Thank you my love for sharing your life with me … for raising Allyson as if she was your own, being an amazing father and grandfather and teaching me how to be a better person. You inspire those around you to be the best they can be. I will never forget you … your legacy lives on through your beautiful children and grandchildren.”
5. Jill Zarin’s Ex-Husband Has Checked In on Her Since Bobby’s Death
According to Bravo TV, Jill was first married to a man named Steven Shapiro, who owns the NYC Seminar and Conference Center. Jill once told Bravo that she and her ex-husband are still best friends.
When talking about her ex to Bravo, Jill said that, though he didn’t appear on Real Housewives, he absolutely would have filmed the show if asked. She also talked about where he is in his life today, revealing, “He remarried and had three children and then, unfortunately, got divorced. Fortunately or unfortunately, depends on who you’re talking to. I say fortunately. [His ex-wife] wasn’t very nice to my daughter, and I don’t care if she hears it. So thank God my ex-husband got out of that situation. [Ally] has three beautiful siblings from them.”
Steven attended Bobby’s funeral and Jill told Bravo that, “Yes, we are besties, and he’s checked in on me a lot since Bobby passed and came to the funeral and came to the shiva, and his parents came.”