Kate Spade's Family Seemed Perfect, Friend Says, but 'When the Doors Close, You Never Know'

Friends of Kate Spade and husband Andy Spade have said that the couple seemed to be "perfect" partners in all aspects of life before Spade's apparent suicide on Tuesday morning.

The couple was together for over 30 years, though they were reportedly in the midst of a divorce when Spade was found dead in their New York City apartment. Their friend and colleague, Fern Mallis, spoke to reporters from PEOPLE shortly after the news broke, calling the rumored suicide "so out of character" for Spade.

"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 well suited for one another. My heart just goes out to Andy and their daughter," she added.

The Spades met in college at Arizona State University. They moved to New York City and married 1994. They also worked on Kate's fashion brand, Kate Spade New York together from the very beginning.

Mallis, who was once the head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, knew them both in and outside of work.

"Her collection was one of the most popular and brilliant and successful accessory businesses," Mallis recalled of the couples' early work. "Especially her tote bags, you just had to have it — everyone had to have it. They were at a price point that nobody else was doing."

Spade and Andy sold their multi-billion dollar company in 2006. They had just welcomed a daughter into the world, and hoped to focus on raising her instead of running a corporate empire.

"It didn't seem like the brand, from our perspective, was financially destitute and needed to make a deal," Mallis said of the sale. "But like with a lot of big businesses and when they sell, it changes people's personalities. They're not the face of their name anymore. That's always I think difficult for people. She became less visible to people."

In 2016, Spade spoke about that sale in an interview with PEOPLE, saying it really was an attempt to re-prioritize.

"I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter," she said. "People asked me, 'Don't you miss it?' I really didn't. I mean, I loved what I was doing, but I didn't miss it as much as I thought I might."

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