- Getty/Theo Wargo
- Kate Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide in her apartment in New York, according to multiple reports. She was 55.
- An NYPD officer told the New York Post that Spade left a note behind, leading them to believe it was a suicide.
- She leaves behind her husband, Andy, and a 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
- Andy Spade was a cocreator of Kate Spade’s namesake brand and played an integral role in building the business.
- On Wednesday, Andy Spade provided a statement to The New York Times that explained that Kate had battled with depression for the past five years and that the couple had lived apart for the past 10 months.
Famed handbag designer Kate Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide on Tuesday morning in her Upper East Side apartment, the Associated Press reported, citing law-enforcement officials. She was 55.
An NYPD officer told the New York Post that Spade left a note behind, leading them to believe it was a suicide.
Spade, who was best known for launching her namesake handbag brand, leaves behind her husband of 24 years, Andy, and a 13-year old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
On Wednesday, Andy Spade released a lengthy statement to The New York Times:
“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. 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. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling,” he said.
Spade went on to explain that the couple had been living separately for the past 10 months but had not discussed a divorce.
“This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Post indicated that the suicide may have been linked to relationship problems.
“It was over family problems … in her relationship,” a NYPD source told the Post, referring to the contents of the note.
Andy and Kate met at Arizona State University and married in 1994. She was the accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine, formerly owned by Condé Nast, before she left to set up a handbag company in 1993. She did so with the encouragement of Andy, her then boyfriend.
“The reason I started making handbags was because of Andy’s suggestion. After moving through a number of positions, I had been promoted to senior fashion editor after six years at Mademoiselle magazine. I wasn’t sure the next step was one I wanted to make. Andy just said, ‘You know, I think we should start something,'” Kate Spade told CNN Money in 2003.
The business was named after the couple’s combined names.
Andy, who had worked in advertising, played a supportive role in the business early on, but he quit his job in 1996 to join Kate Spade full time.
One week later, Neiman Marcus went on to sell the business for $124 million to retailer Liz Claiborne. Coach acquired the company last year for $2.4 billion.
The couple didn’t give up on handbags altogether, though. In 2015 they launched a new brand, Frances Valentine, that sells shoes and handbags. The company was named after their daughter.
Remembering Kate Spade:
- ‘You don’t know me but I know you’: After Kate Spade’s death, people are sharing how the designer touched their lives through fashion
- Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55. Here’s the story behind the rise of her handbag empire.
- Kate Spade shared how she wanted to be remembered in a 2002 interview
- Kate Spade was totally detached from her namesake brand
- Kate Spade’s fans are reacting to her apparent suicide with reminders about mental health
- Celebrities and fashion industry figures are reacting to Kate Spade’s apparent suicide