Family and friends of designer Kate Spade are still mourning her shocking suicide. But within hours of the tragedy, her older sister Reta Saffo spoke to multiple media outlets, and Spade’s heartbroken family is not happy with what she had to say.
Saffo initially emailed her local newspaper, The Kansas City Star, on Tuesday to correct how the publication wrote Spade’s childhood name, Katy. The paper then asked if they could speak to Saffo by phone about her late sister, but she replied that she had taken a sedative and preferred to communicate via email.
The 57-year-old then revealed that her sister’s tragic death “was not unexpected by me.” Saffo claimed that Spade had been struggling with mental illness for years, and recently turned to alcohol to self-medicate.
"She could make me laugh so hard. I still can't believe it." Actor David Spade shared a warm Christmas memory in a tribute to sister-in-law Kate Spade, who was found dead in her New York City apartment of an apparent suicide. https://t.co/HwWvPr5cz2 pic.twitter.com/iyY3bH6fqw
— CNN (@CNN) June 6, 2018
“I’d come so VERY close to getting her to go in for treatment. … 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,” claimed Saffo.
She added that sometimes you can’t save people from themselves, and the stress and pressure of her empire led to Spade becoming manic-depressive (Doctors used to use the term to describe bipolar disorder).
But, after Spade’s inconsolable family heard Saffo’s comments, an insider says they were “disgusted” and “saddened.” They say that Saffo has been estranged from the family for more than a decade, and they couldn’t believe she chose now to make “unsubstantiated comments.” They added that Saffo’s words painted a picture of “someone who didn’t know her at all.”
The source went on to say that the 55-year-old designer was a “kind, generous, funny, warm, and extremely private person.”
The Kate Spade label started simply, with its designer and future husband at the helm, and grew into a $2.4 billion business https://t.co/Uee27X5H7m
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 6, 2018
Spade’s housekeeper found her body hanging from a red scarf inside a bedroom of her Park Avenue home on Tuesday morning with two suicide notes beside her – one for her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix, and one for her husband, Andy.
According to Radar Online, some reports claim that Andy, Kate’s husband of 24 years, recently asked for a divorce and had moved out of the Manhattan home they shared.
But, Saffo says that her sister’s struggle with mental illness and thoughts of suicide have gone on for years. She claims Spade was “fixated” when the news broke of Robin Williams’ suicide in 2014, and she thinks she had a plan in motion back then. She also shared that in one of the last conversations she had with her sister, Spade asked her to come to her funeral.
— CNN (@CNN) June 6, 2018
Saffo also released a statement where she wrote that Spade was a precious person and genuine in every way. But, “YES people” surrounded her for too long, so she didn’t receive the proper care for what she believed to be Bipolar disorder, that came from her “immense celebrity.” Saffo says her sister never expected it, wasn’t prepared for it, and never sought treatment.
Kate Spade’s life is being celebrated across social media.