World-renowned fashion designer Kate Spade took her own life on Tuesday. She was found dead by housekeeping staff in her Park Ave. apartment, and the 55-year-old reportedly hanged herself. Her husband, Andy Spade, released a statement yesterday addressing Kate’s battle with anxiety and depression as well as the alleged note she left behind.
"Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world," the statement began. "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."
Kate reportedly wrote to their only child, 13-year-old Frances Beatrix, that the suicide had "nothing to do with" her and that her father would know the cause of the suicide. Kate’s husband said in his statement that he hadn't seen "any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media."
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He also claimed their was "no substance or alcohol abuse" and there were "no business problems," either. Kate, he said, had sought help for depression and anxiety for the last five years.
Here’s everything to know about Andy Spade and his marriage to Kate.
Andy Spade hails from the Midwest
Spade grew up in the Midwest, like is wife — Kate called Kansas City, Missouri, home; Andy, Birmingham, Michigan.
Spade is the older brother of actor/comedian David Spade.
Kate and Andy Spade met in college working in retail
The Spades met in the '80s while attending Arizona State University. Both worked at a store called John’s & Co.
"I was on the women's side. He was on the men's side," Kate recalled in an interview with NPR. "And one day, his car broke down, and he asked me for a ride home. And we really started off as really great friends."
"And the car continued to break down, so I think it nurtured our relationship along," her husband chimed in.
Spade started an advertising agency while in college. Once they both graduated (first Kate, then her husband), the two settled into an NYC apartment together.
Spade landed a copywriting job at Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, reported Vanity Fair, and worked his way up to winning awards for numerous ad campaigns.
They were married in 1994 — but first came the handbags.
Kate and Andy Spade were business partners before they were married
Spade founded the iconic bag collection with his designer wife in the early '90s — and it all started at a small Mexican restaurant where they came up with the idea.
Kate was working as a Mademoiselle magazine senor fashion editor at the time. When asked why they chose handbags, her husband explained that, since Kate was in charge of accessories, she had acquired a lot of them for shoots, had an "amazing personal collection" and "understood it better than anyone."
The brand’s name was, according to Kate, all her husband’s doing. "I was not Kate Spade. I was Kate Brosnahan. ... And Andy kept saying Kate Spade because we were 50/50 partners. And finally I just said, OK. And everyone said, I love it, Kate Spade New York."
Kate and Andy Spade sold the company
Forbes reported that, in 1999, Kate and her partners sold over 50 percent of the company to Neiman Marcus, then the remainder in 2006. Neiman Marcus then sold it a week later to Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Kate took a break from fashion to take care of their daughter, born in 2005. Her husband, according to Business of Fashion (BoF), proceeded to start the ad agency Partners & Spade and founded the sleepwear line Sleepy Jones.
Eight years went by before Kate Spade New York was rebranded as Kate Spade & Co. Coach — now, Tapestry, Inc. — bought the brand in 2017.
Kate and Andy Spade jumped back into the fashion world
In 2016, the Spades launched a new footwear and accessories brand, Frances Valentine, in honor of their daughter and what Kate said was a "family moniker."
Kate told BoF that the line differed from Kate Spade New York because they weren’t as focused on handbags. Instead, they put their creative energy in shoes.
"Before I left Kate Spade, designing shoes was the best experience. I just adored the little details," she said.
It was that year that she also announced a legal name change: Kate Valentine Spade.
Kate and Andy Spade were reportedly separated for almost a year prior to her suicide
In his statement to the press, Spade wrote that the couple had been living separately for 10 months, "but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority."
He said that the two 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."
"I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman," Kate told Glamour in 2002, "but as a great friend — and a heck of a lot of fun."
If you or a loved one is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or head to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.