Kate and Andy Spade Seemed to Be a Perfect Couple, Friends Say

Friends of Kate Spade and husband Andy said the couple were "perfect" partners in business and life.

The fashion designer, who was found dead of an apparent suicide in her New York City apartment Tuesday, married Andy in 1994, one year after launching the Kate Spade New York handbag line together.

Spade told PEOPLE in an interview the secret to their happy marriage was "taking their vows seriously."

"We laugh a lot," said Spade, who welcomed daughter Frances Beatrix Spade in 2005. "And my daughter has a really funny sense of humor. But when we need to be serious we're serious, and she can tell the difference, but I think we've had a lot of fun. And then also you know you take the good with the bad. You take those vows seriously. Through good and bad."

Even after more that twenty years of marriage, their love was always obvious, the former head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fern Mallis, told PEOPLE.

"She and her husband were a hot couple," Mallis said. "They were very much part of the front lane of the fashion universe. They seemed to be a perfect couple, very happy together. You never saw them out being contentious or not being there for one another."

They were also open about supporting each other's endeavors; when Kate Spade launched a fragrance in 2002, Andy told InStyle, "It's sexy. I wear it when I miss her." In the same article, Kate said of her husband, "Andy will be an amazing dad" — three years before the couple welcomed daughter Frances Beatrix.

The couple, who reportedly met while working at the same clothing store in Phoenix, Ariz., sold and stepped away from their company in 2006 to spend mote them with their daughter.

Later later changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade, and later lacked the accessories line, Frances Valentine, named after her daughter.

Spade told the outlet in 2016 she and her husband shared a mutual respect for one another, both in and out of the workplace, saying she treated her husband as she would any other employee.

"What I mean is we need to respect one another as much as you do the other people in the office because I can find myself if he's on the phone, opening his door and going, 'Hey, hey, I've got to tell you something,'" she said. "Now would you really go into someone else's office and say, 'Hey, hey, hey, hey, I've got to tell you something?' No, you'd say, 'Call me when you have a second.' So I've had to learn to be as respectful."

Police say the designer was found dead Tuesday morning in her bedroom at her Park Avenue home. She was 55.

A housekeeper discovered her, and she apparently left a suicide note, reportedly with a message for her daughter telling her "it's not her fault."

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"We are all devastated by today’s tragedy," the Spade family said in a statement. "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."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).