"He said to me, 'Does this mean we're separated?' That was a really shocking moment," said Susan Schneider Williams of the doctors' orders, which were meant to help the actor's insomnia

By Benjamin VanHoose
September 01, 2020 09:56 AM
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Robin Williams's widow Susan Schneider Williams is opening up about losing "the greatest love I've ever known."

On Tuesday, Schneider Williams spoke with Today's Hoda Kotb about the new documentary Robin's Wish, which captures the late Oscar-winning actor's battle with Lewy body dementia, a type of brain disease that affected his thinking, memory and movement control that ultimately led to his death by suicide in August 2014 at age 63.

"This was a man who was incredibly rich and deep and versed in so much about humanity and culture, and his humor was like this secret weapon," Schneider Williams recalled of Robin. "There were so many times when he would see someone needed a lift, and then he would just inject a little bit of humor in just the right way to make a difference."

Robin Williams, Susan Schneider Williams
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider Williams in March 2011
| Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Lewy body dementia is the second-most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors, however, misdiagnosed Robin, and it wasn't until years after his death that his loved ones found out the truth of his internal health battle.

"Robin and I knew there was so much more going on. Robin was right when he said to me, 'I just want to reboot my brain.' In that moment, I promised him that we would get to the bottom of this. I just didn't know that would be after he passed."

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Schneider Williams revealed that she and her husband were told to sleep in separate beds for medical reasons, so that Robin could get more sleep as he struggled with insomnia.

"He said to me, 'Does this mean we're separated?'" she recalled of spending nights separately, per doctor's orders. "That was a really shocking moment. When your best friend, your partner, your love — you realize that there's a giant chasm somewhere, and you can't see where it is but that's just not based in reality. That was a hard moment."

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Schneider Williams previously explained the title of the new documentary, saying that Robin's main "wish" was to "help all of us be less afraid."

"We had been discussing what we wanted our legacies to be in life; when it was our time to go, how we wanted to have made people feel," she told Entertainment Weekly in a statement earlier this month. "Without missing a beat, Robin said, 'I want to help people be less afraid.'"

Among those interviewed for the film are Night at the Museum director Shawn LevyThe Crazy Ones creator David E. Kelley and more.

Robin's Wish is now available to rent and own on demand

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.