Before Kate Spade‘s death, the designer and her husband of 24 years Andy Spade had been planning to file for divorce, a source confirms to PEOPLE.
“They both had lawyers and were divorcing,” a source tells PEOPLE. “But they hadn’t filed yet.”
The couple’s marital problems had become so difficult, The Blast reported, that in the months prior to Kate’s suicide, Andy had started looking to purchase a new one or two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. “Kate and Andy were having relationship problems,” another source told PEOPLE.
Late Wednesday, Andy released a statement addressing his wife’s passing and also denying they were planning on getting a divorce despite living apart for 10 months.
“We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce,” he said in the statement provided to PEOPLE. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break,” Andy continued.
But from the outside, Kate and Andy’s marriage and family life appeared to be picturesque, according to friends of the couple.
“They seemed to be the perfect, happy family,” actress and longtime friend of Kate, Cornelia Guest told PEOPLE, adding, “Nobody knows what’s going on with someone. When the doors close, you never know.”
Kate once told PEOPLE 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.”
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Police confirmed Kate was found dead Tuesday morning of an apparent suicide at her and Andy’s Park Avenue home in Manhattan. No one was home at her time of death. A housekeeper discovered her, according to a police source, and she left a suicide note for her husband and their only child Frances Beatrix, 13.
Kate Spade, née Katherine Noel Brosnahan, was the designer behind her successful namesake label, Kate Spade New York, which she co-founded in 1993 with her then-boyfriend Andy, combining her first and his last names.
“My Catholic parents…I told my mom and honestly, she burst into flames,” Kate recalled in NPR’s How I Built This podcast of the moment she told her parents the name of their brand. “She said, ‘But you’re not Kate Spade! Oh, now you’ll never be Kate Spade, now you’ve jinxed it. And why would you name it Kate Spade?’ And I said, Well, it’s my first name, his last name, it’s like Dolce & Gabbana, and she goes, ‘Who the hell’s that?’”
The line began by designing its famously colorful handbags before expanding into other accessories and clothing, ultimately turning into a billion-dollar brand. Tapestry, Inc. bought Kate Spade in July 2017 for $2.4 billion.
In 2016, Kate shared the advice for working with your husband, telling PEOPLE, “Treat them as well as you 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. I’ve had to learn to be as respectful.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).