On Tuesday, Hollywood was rocked by Kate Spade’s suicide at the age of 55.
TMZ reported that Spade was found dead Tuesday in her NYC apartment by her housekeeper, who found her tied to a closet doorknob with a red scarf. Law enforcement sources told the site she was alone when she hanged herself in her bedroom.
According to police, Spade had been “drinking a lot” to get through her separation from husband Andy Spade and her business problems. Andy, who had been separated from Kate for a few months, was living in a nearby apartment.
It has been reported that Andy wanted a divorce, but Kate did not. In her suicide note to their daughter Frances Beatrix, she wrote, “Bea - I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!" While it is not clear what she meant by adding, “Ask Daddy,” some interpret it as her way of blaming Andy for her decision to end her life.
Kate’s sister Reta Saffo revealed that the fashion designer had been suffering from mental illness and was self-medicating with alcohol. Saffo admitted that Spade’s suicide did not come as a complete surprise to her, telling the Kansas City Star, “I will say this was not unexpected by me. I'd flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past three to our years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization).”
Saffo added, “I felt all the stress/pressure of her brand may have flipped the switch where she eventually became full-on manic-depressive.”
Though their family tried to get Kate into treatment, it never happened because “she was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out."
She emphasized, “After numerous attempts, I finally let go. Sometimes you simply cannot save people from themselves! 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 family was reportedly upset by Saffo's comments. A source told People magazine, "The family is disgusted and saddened that at this time of great sorrow, Kate’s sister, who has been estranged from the entire family for more than 10 years, would choose to surface with unsubstantiated comments. Her statements paint a picture of someone who didn’t know her at all.”