Kate Spade battled “depression and anxiety” for most of her life according to her sister, but husband Andy Spade strongly denied that a looming divorce was the trigger for her suicide. Her death raises red flags about the need for better treatment of mental illness.
The fashion designer was found dead in her New York City apartment earlier this week. She was 55.
“Kate definitely seemed to distance herself recently and her family was worried about her,” a source told Entertainment Tonight.
“She ventured out less and less and some friends began to wonder what was wrong. People who were used to hanging out socially with her started to worry about her because she was nowhere to be seen.”
Husband Andy, brother of actor David Spade, released a lengthy statement detailig his wife’s battle with her mental health.
“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.”
Andy had moved out 10 months before her suicide, but the pair were still close. Andy insisted earlier reports about an impending divorce are untrue.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
For the past five years, Kate was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety. She was seeing a doctor regularly and taking medicine to treat symptoms of both afflictions.
“There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together,” he said.
“We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter,” he added. Daughter Frances Beatrix Spade was born in February 2005.
“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.”
The couple’s fashion empire included Kate Spade New York, which has more than 140 retail shops around the United States and more than 175 outlets around the world. The company was sold in 2006.
Depression can be devastating and even life-threatening, according to medical references. Psychotherapy combined with medications that increase two brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine, have proven effective in many cases.