The husband of fashion designer Kate Spade said his wife’s apparent suicide “was a complete shock” but she had battled depression and anxiety for several years, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
“She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives,” Andy Spade said in the statement, first published on The New York Times website. “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 . . . There were personal demons she was battling.”
Results of an autopsy on the internationally known fashion designer were expected as early as Thursday, according to law enforcement sources.
Police were called to Kate Spade’s Park Avenue apartment Tuesday morning after a housekeeper found her body. Spade apparently tied a scarf around her neck, attached one end to a door knob and then leaned forward, according to police.
In a note found at the scene, Spade told her daughter Frances, 13, but known by family as “Bea,” that her death was not the teenager’s fault, said a police official familiar with the investigation.
Cops were unclear as to why Spade, who became a fashion sensation a decade ago, would have taken her own life. But one police source, who didn’t want to be identified, said Spade and her husband appeared to have been in the midst of marital problems. Andrew Spade was not in the apartment at the time his wife’s body was discovered but arrived later with other family friends, said the source.
Andy Spade said he had not yet seen a note left behind by his wife but was “appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.”
He acknowledged the couple had lived apart for the past few months but remained close as they both raised their daughter. The family continued to eat meals and take vacations together, 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,” Andy Spade said. “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.”
The couple founded Kate Spade New York after the Kansas City, Missouri native, saw an untapped market for stylish handbags without a steep price tag and opened her first SoHo boutique in 1993. A company that started with $6,000 from Kate Spade’s 401 (k), eventually grew into an enterprise with 140 retail shops and outlets in the U.S. and 175 shops globally.
Spade counted celebrities and many in the close-knit Manhattan fashion world among her close friends and aquiantances. Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump were among many who tweeted their condolences Tuesday.
In his statement, Andy Spade described his wife as “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.”
He said Spade didn’t have problems with substance abuse or her ongoing business interests.
“We loved creating our businesses together,” Andy Spade said. “We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. 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.”