Update 6/6/18 5:37 p.m. ET: Kate Spade's husband Andy Spade has released a statement on his late wife's suicide. In the statement, he calls Spade's death a surprise, and refutes claims made by media outlets and Spade's sister Reta Brosnahan Saffo that she was not seeking help for her mental illness, and had been self-medicating with alcohol. He also denied reports he and Spade had separated and were considering divorce.
Read his full statement below.
Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.
Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.
For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break.
This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false. She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together. We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.
My main concern is Bea and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother. Kate loved Bea so very much.
Read the original post below.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Spade’s older sister Reta Brosnahan Saffo detailed Spade’s long battle with mental illness. Saffo believed her 55-year-old sister suffered from bipolar disorder and self-medicated with alcohol. "The signs were all there and I tried to help her for so long," she said. "I'm not blaming myself—if I just could have been more successful. I was almost there."
Saffo said she tried multiple times to convince her sister to get treatment at Silver Hill Hospital, a psychiatric facility in New Canaan, Connecticut. Per Saffo, the designer feared revealing her mental illness would damage her reputation as "so fun, happy, and darling."
"Her image of Kate Spade was so important and had been ingrained in her since 1993," she said. "I just can't even imagine how much pain she must have been in."
Spade’s body was found Tuesday morning in her Park Avenue home by a housekeeper. Police sources said she was pronounced dead on the scene from an apparent suicide. Kate left behind a note for her 13-year-old daughter Frances Valentine that reportedly read, "Bea - I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!"
Saffo said she never expected Spade to kill herself, but noted her sister's fascination with Robin Williams’ suicide by hanging in 2014. "She kept watching it over an over and I said, 'Stop,'" Saffo said. "It was almost as though the plan was already in order. She did the same thing."
Actor and comedian David Spade also paid tribute to his late sister-in-law Kate Spade. David shared loving posts about Kate, who he met in college while attending Arizona State University. He later introduced the designer to his brother Andy Spade, who would help Kate go on to start her handbag empire in 1993, before they married in 1994.
“I dont think everyone knew how fucking funny she was,” he wrote. “Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on.”
TMZ spotted the actor being consoled by a friend the morning after Spade’s death.
Spade's niece and actress Rachel Brosnahan also paid tribute to her late aunt. "She was effervescent," she wrote. "Hug your loved ones extra tight today."
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.