Joan And Melissa Rivers: A Relationship Both Heartbreaking And Heartwarming

During the days leading up to Joan Rivers’ death, The Inquisitr was constantly reporting on the thoughts and words of Joan’s daughter, Melissa. It’s no surprise that Melissa was with her mother to the very end. The relationship between the comedy legend and her daughter is a powerful tale of loyalty, love, and trust that’s rarely seen these days in celebrity family lives.

According to Yahoo News, Melissa Rivers, 46 years old, was Joan’s only child. Melissa saw her mother perform her comedy act as early as two years old and stuck by her ever since, through the hard times and the good times. Sometimes Melissa would join Joan Rivers on camera, other times she was completely out of the spotlight, giving Joan Rivers the love and support she needed to keep moving.

“I basically grew up on the road, always moving on to the next gig,” Melissa explained to the Daily Mail. “And I could recite my mom’s entire act by the time I was six — not that I knew what it meant. I grew up quite quickly because I had to be fairly independent. We’d pitch up in a new town and a new hotel and I’d have to work out where the pool was, where the soda machine was, and be savvy and street smart. But my parents created stability within that environment: we went everywhere together and always had a routine.”

At the time, Joan was married to her husband Edgar Rosenberg. The two of them tried to provide everything they could for Melissa and did their best to give her a normal life. And when Melissa grew up and decided she wanted to go the University of Pennsylvania, that’s where Joan sent her.

Joan and Melissa Rivers

The tough times came when Joan’s husband committed suicide in August of 1987; bad news Melissa had to deliver directly to her mother.

“Initially it completely separated us and we didn’t speak for almost a year,” Melissa said. “We just couldn’t talk about it for a long time because we were both in our own pain. But eventually we came back to the relationship because we genuinely wanted to.”

Along with Edgar’s suicide, Joan had to cope with losing her late-night talk show which was canceled by Fox before finishing a single season. Joan Rivers has admitted that during that time she considered suicide herself, but her daughter Melissa got her through.

“I decided that for Melissa’s sake I had to keep going,” Joan said to People magazine. “Otherwise, I would give her the same message as Edgar — that suicide is the only way out. So I felt she had to see me climb out of the well.”

But Melissa wasn’t the only one looking out for Joan. A few years after Edgar’s death, Joan had to help her daughter get out of an abusive relationship. It was around that time that Melissa changed her last name to Rivers, out of respect for Joan.

Since then, the two of them have been seen many times on the red carpet together and working together on the E! show Fashion Police. Joan and Melissa connected emotionally and professionally, closer than they ever had been. Melissa has said that Joan was much different in private than she was in public, showing a much softer, more compassionate side. Joan Rivers cared about her family more than anything else.

“If anything happens, Melissa, I’ve had a great life,” Joan once said. “If I died this morning, nobody would say ‘so young.’ You’re a terrific person, Cooper’s fine…. I’ve had an amazing life, if it ended right now — amazing life! You’ve been wonderful and we’ve had a great ride together.”

Joan died at age 81 on Thursday, September 4. Melissa was with her at her bedside till the very end. Joan’s daughter had to make the difficult decision to take her off life support. According to Page Six, Melissa issued a statement announcing Joan’s death Thursday afternoon.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa said. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends.”