Fashion designer Kate Spade’s suicide was ‘not unexpected’ according to her family who say she struggled for years with debilitating mental illness – but was too scared to seek help in case it hurt her brand.
Spade, who shot to fame with her line of eponymous purses, was found unconscious and unresponsive’ by her housekeeper on Tuesday morning.
She is survived by her husband Andy, who is the brother of actor David Spade, and daughter Frances.
Next to her was a suicide note that told her only child, 13, that it was not her fault.
TMZ is reporting that the note read: ‘Bea – I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!’
Now the designer’s older sister Reta Saffo has opened up about her sister’s battle with mental illness, how she fixated on beloved comic actor Robin Williams’ hanging suicide in August 2014, and how she’s refused to seek medical treatment, concerned it could damage the Spade brand.
‘Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves!’ Saffo, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, told The Kansas City Star.
Saffo, 57, said she and Kate’s husband Andy Spade had urged her on multiple occasions to go for treatment, including to the same treatment program where Catherine Zeta-Jones went for her successful bipolar treatment, but she’d always ‘chickened out’ at the last moment.
‘We’d get sooo close to packing her bags, but — in the end, the ‘image’ of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out.
Saffo said after numerous attempts to try and help her sister, she ‘finally let go.’ But not before her sister hinted at her suicide plan.
‘One of the last things she said to me was, ‘Reta, I know you hate funerals and don’t attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!’ I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not.’
Kate’s husband was at the apartment when his wife took her own life according to police.
Andy and Kate Spade lived together in their Park Avenue apartment until her death on Tuesday. The couple purchased the nine-room apartment in 1999 for $2.675 million, and also owned a vineyard in Napa Valley.
However, sources claim that that couple were experiencing some marital problems and that Andy had been hunting for one or two bedroom apartments in the months before Kate’s death.
Kate and her husband launched their design line back in 1993, starting at first with just handbags before expanding to clothes and other accessories.
Three years in the couple was able to open their first store, and for the next decade continue to grow the company.
She had launched international and home lines by 2004, having by that point sold off most of her company.
Neiman Marcus purchased 56 percent of the company in 1999 and the remaining 44 percent by 2006, at which time Kate left the business to raise her daughter.
By 2006, the company was valued at $125 million, and Kate left for good the following year after Neiman sold Kate Spade & Co to Liz Claiborne that same year.
In the decade since she sold her ownership Kate Spade has continued to grow, and in 2017 the brand was purchased by Coach for an astonishing $2.4 billion.
Culled from Mailonline