NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The husband and business partner of designer Kate Spade, who died in an apparent suicide, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
She was seeking help during the last five years, “seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety,” Andy Spade said in a statement released on Wednesday.
He said there were “personal demons she was battling.”
The designer was found hanged in the bedroom of her Park Avenue apartment on Tuesday. She was 55 years old and had a 13-year-old daughter.
Spade was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her company with her husband in their apartment in 1993.
Andy Spade said she “sounded happy” the night before her suicide.
“There was no indication and no warning that she would do this,” he said. “It was a complete shock.”
He said he and his wife had been living separately for the past 10 months but saw each other or spoke every day. He said they were not legally separated and never discussed divorce.
Kate’s sister Reta Saffo told CBS2 in a statement Spade had been suffering from mental health issues as well:
My little sister Katy was a precious little person. Precious in every aspect, just dear– but she was surrounded by YES people, for far too long, therefore she did not receive the proper care for what I believed to be (and tried numerous times to get her help for) Bipolar disorder… stemming from her immense celebrity. She never expected it– nor was she properly prepared for it. Unfortunately, untreated, it finally took its toll on her.
Spade’s brother-in-law, actor David Spade, posted his reaction on Instagram.
“Fuzzy picture but I love it. Kate and I during Christmas family photos. We had so much fun that day. She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard. I still can’t believe it,” David Spade wrote. “It’s a rough world out there people, try to hang on.”
Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, issued a statement:
Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry. She launched her label at a time when everyone thought that the definition of a handbag was strictly European, all decades-old serious status and wealth. Then along came this thoroughly American young woman who changed everything. There was a moment when you couldn’t walk a block in New York without seeing one of her bags, which were just like her; colorful and unpretentious. Kate designed with great charm and humor, and built a global empire that reflected exactly who she was and how she lived. Long before we talked about ‘authenticity’, she defined it.
One of her doormen told CBS2 “She was such a beautiful person and so kind.”
Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4 billion. The couple recently had started a new handbag company, Frances Valentine.
“We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how,” Andy Spade said.
Editor’s note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also learn more and chat with them online by clicking here.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)