According to Page Six, Kate Spade’s sister said that the suicide “was not unexpected by me.” The sister, Reta Saffo, described how she had requested assistance from a treatment center that Catherine Zeta-Jones previously received help from.
“[Kate] was all set to go — but then chickened out by morning. I even said I (would) go with her and be a ‘patient’ too (she liked that idea)… That seemed to make her more comfortable, and 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. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out.”‘
Although Saffo believes that Spade didn’t receive treatment due to public perception over her “happy-go-lucky” brand, Self described a new study that revealed that it’s not uncommon for people with depression to not seek treatment. According to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, only less than 30 percent of 46,000 adults with depression looked for professional help. Some of the reasons for this are because depressed people don’t feel that they deserve the help. For others, the hopelessness that accompanies depression is overbearing, as described by Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. “This hopelessness, if left unchecked, can feed a vicious cycle of shame, guilt, and inertia that worsen symptoms over time.”
Saffo also added that Spade made a morbid comment to her in one of the last times that she heard from her, during which Spade said, “Reta, I know you hate funerals and don’t attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!”
Spade also reportedly had an unhealthy obsession with Robin Williams’ death, and kept watching the news report of his suicide repeatedly, detailed the Kansas Star. And instead of seeking professional help, Spade apparently used alcohol to cope with her difficulties.
Kate Spade started her business in 1993, and successfully grew it into a million-dollar business, reported Business Insider. Prior to that, she was an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine. By 1998, the company was worth over $27 million. Spade later sold the business to Neiman Marcus in 2006. In 2015, Spade and her husband Andy launched Frances Valentine, a company focused on handbags and shoes. Around this time, Spade changed her name to Kate Valentine. Throughout it all, her husband was largely Spade’s motivation, as she previously said that “The reason I started making handbags was because of Andy’s suggestion.” And when Spade’s mental health declined, Andy did his best to convince his wife to seek help.
The family released a statement, saying that “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly. We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
In addition to her friends, family, and the fashion industry, fans of Kate Spade are mourning the death of a talented designer.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.