June 6, 2018 / 10:32 PM / 6 months ago

Designer Kate Spade suffered depression for years, husband says

(Reuters) - The husband of fashion designer Kate Spade on Wednesday broke his silence on her death, saying she suffered from depression for years and that the couple had been living separately for 10 months.

Andy Spade said in a lengthy statement to the New York Times that he and his teenaged daughter Bea were "devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her."

Kate Spade, who with her husband built a fashion empire on the popularity of her colorful handbags, was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday, an apparent suicide. She was 55.

Andy Spade said that his wife suffered from depression and anxiety for many years but there was "no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock."

"She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems," he said in his statement.

Spade said he also wanted to clear up rumors and speculation that have surfaced about the couple's personal life.

"For the past 10 months we had been living separately, 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 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. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break," he said in his statement.

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There were media reports that Kate Spade left a suicide note.

"I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media," Andy Spade said.

Kate and Andy Spade sold their last stake in the Kate Spade accessories brand in 2006 to focus on raising their daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade. In 2016, they launched a new footwear and accessories brand called Frances Valentine, naming it after their daughter, who is now 13.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant

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