Kate Spade's Family Reportedly Disgusted With Sister's Claim Suicide 'Wasn't Unexpected'

Kate Spade died of an apparent suicide on Tuesday, June 5, and her older sister Reta Brosnahan Saffo soon told multiple outlets that Spade's death "was not unexpected by me."

Speaking to outlets including the Kansas City Star, Saffo claimed that Spade had battled mental illness for years and had refused treatment for what Saffo believes was bipolar disorder.

According to a source, Spade's family is "disgusted" by Saffo's claims, with the source adding that Saffo has long been estranged from Spade.

"The family is disgusted and saddened that at this time of great sorrow, Kate's sister who has been estranged from the entire family for more than 10 years would choose to surface with unsubstantiated comments," the insider told People. "Her statements paint a picture of someone who didn't know her at all."

The source also described Spade as a "kind, generous, funny, warm and extremely private person."

In an email to the Star, Saffo said that she and other family members attempted to help Spade and get her to treatment, which the designer allegedly refused as she was concerned how it might affect her brand's "happy-go-lucky" image.

Saffo also wrote that she had "flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed," and that she and Spade shared "6-7-hr-long phone conversations."

During what she says was their last conversation together, Spade reportedly discussed her own funeral.

"One of the last things she said to me was, 'Reta, I know you hate funerals and don't attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!'" Saffo wrote. "I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not."

The 57-year-old got in contact with the Star after the paper misspelled Spade's childhood nickname, and while she was asked to speak over the phone, she said that she was not willing to do so and had taken a sedative.

She also released a statement to CBS New York that read, "My little sister Katy was a precious, precious little person. Genuine in almost every way. She was surrounded by YES people, for far too long, therefore she did not receive the proper care for what I believe to be (and tried numerous times to get help for) Bipolar disorder… stemming from her immense celebrity. She never expected it — nor was she properly prepared for it. Unfortunately, untreated, it finally took its toll on her."


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

Photo Credit: Getty / Patrick McMullan