Designer Kate Spade suicides after depression

Kate Spade's husband hits back at divorce claims

THE husband of Kate Spade has revealed the designer had suffered from depression and anxiety for years and denied they were planning to divorce.

In a released statement, Andy Spade said that his wife of 24 years had been "actively seeking help" for her severe depression and that there were no warning signs that she would take her life.

The statement is in direct contrast to her sister's previous comments that the 55-year-old's death was "not unexpected" and that she had refused to attend rehab for fear that it may damage her brand's image.

"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," Mr Spade wrote. "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."

He said they had been living separately for the past 10 months but they were not legally separated or planning divorce.

Kate Spade with her husband Andy Spade and her niece, actress Rachel Brosnahan.  Picture:  Supplied
Kate Spade with her husband Andy Spade and her niece, actress Rachel Brosnahan. Picture: Supplied

"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."

Mr Spade said other reports were false, adding that Ms Spade had been receiving treatment for her mental illness for the last five years. He also shut down rumours of substance abuse or business issues.

"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," he said.

He was yet to see the note Ms Spade left but said he was "appalled" that the message to his daughter had been shared with the media.

Mr Spade was reportedly in the couple's former apartment when his wife died. Their 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix, was at school.

Police said the death was not suspicious.

olice said Ms Spade wrote a note, which sources claim was addressed to her daughter.

The note is said to have read: "Bea - I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!

Kate and Andy Spade started the Kate Spade brand in 1993.

In 2002, they told Vanity Fair magazine how they had met as university students in Phoenix, Arizona, while working at the same clothing store.

Kate Spade with her equally famous brother-in-law, actor David Spade in 2002. Picture: Capital Pictures.
Kate Spade with her equally famous brother-in-law, actor David Spade in 2002. Picture: Capital Pictures.

Earlier Ms Spade's older sister, Reta Brosnahan Saffo, told US media outlets that her sister had suffered from mental illness for years but refused treatment because she was concerned it would impact her brand.

However, a source close to the family told People that Ms Saffo has long been estranged from her designer sister.

"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," the source told People.

"Her statements paint a picture of someone who didn't know her at all."

In an email to The Kansas City Star, Ms Saffo said news of Ms Spade's sudden death was "not unexpected".

"I will say this was not unexpected by me. I'd flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalisation)," she wrote.

She said she had "gotten very close to getting her to go" to a rehab facility for treatment, but Spade "chickened out".

" … 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," Ms Saffo said. "She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out."

After several attempts she said she gave up. "Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves!" she wrote.

She also claimed Spade made her promise to attend her funeral and that she was fixated with Robin Williams' death in 2014.