Robin Williams' Widow Reveals Why She Went to Court over His Estate: 'I Had to Fight to Keep My Husband's Slippers'
Susan Williams tells PEOPLE the weeks following her husband's unexpected death were "pure insanity"
In finally speaking out about what really drove Robin Williams to commit suicide, his widow Susan Williams told PEOPLE that first and foremost, she hopes to raise awareness about Lewy Body Dementia, the brain disease that led Williams to commit suicide.
Second, she wants to clear up the rumors printed about her, including those about her highly-publicized dispute with Williams’ three children over her late husband’s estate.
“I couldn’t even look at it; it was so wrong, I couldn’t read it,” Susan says of coverage of the probate court fight between her and the trustees of Williams’ estate. “All of it was so wrong. What happened was, two and a half weeks after Robin [died] the trustees were starting to do what they do, I was not even back at home.”
Susan says she was soon told that she would probably not be able to keep her wedding gifts because they fell under the loosely defined category of memorabilia. (A lawyer for Williams’ children declined to comment for this story.)
“They were going to come and start clearing out items in the house without me even here,” she recalls. “And the definition of ‘memorabilia’ kind of included everything, meaning there were no [parameters]. I raised my [concern]. I said, ‘Can we discuss this?’ ”
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Susan says she made great efforts to speak with the trustees to discuss the personal items she was shocked to learn were up for removal from her home – “I had to fight to keep my husband’s slippers,” she says – but received no response from the trustees.
“I’m on the phone with one of the trustees saying, ‘Are you kidding me? What? That makes no sense.’ So they were stonewalling me, and I was forced to go to the courts. Did I want to? No. But you know what, I was going to stand up for what Robin wanted, and I was going to stand up for me and my sons, so I was forced to do that and then all kinds of ugly things started happening.”
She was particularly upset by media reports that she spent money to remodel the room in which Williams died.
“Within that week [after his death], everyone has blueprints of our home. They’re picking out the room that Robin died in, it was pure insanity,” Susan remembers. “I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to tell my boy that [his bedroom] is where Robin decided to go. How am I supposed to tell my 14-year-old son, ‘By the way, that’s where you’re going to sleep when we get home.’ I don’t think so. So someone suggested, ‘Take the collection room and convert it to a bedroom and when you guys move back in, he can sleep there, and we’ll forever make that room Robin’s room, and we’ll find our way.’ So then there’s a story, ‘Oh, she remodeled.’ It’s like, Wow.”
After the “long battle” in court, Susan feels that she and all of Williams’ family received what they were meant to, per her late husband’s wishes.
“Every inch of this house. It’s us, it’s him, this is it,” she says. “And all that came out of that finally, after the long battle which was apparently necessary but didn’t have to be, was my husband’s wishes were heard. The judge heard it, and we get to live here until I die, and this will be split amongst the five children, and I get to be with Robin.”