Robin Williams brought joy to the world with his gift for both comedy and drama, but after his death, his wife says she was “forced” to go to court with his children.
In part II of an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Amy Robach, which aired today on “Good Morning America,” Susan Williams talked about her husband’s state of mind leading up to his death and the media spectacle that came afterward.
Describing her late husband as meditative, contemplative, “intellectual, and sometimes, very, very funny” at home, Williams said her husband’s “fears and insecurities were killing him.”
She actually believed he was getting better, and described the Saturday before he died.
“And it was the perfect day,” the 51-year-old artist said. “We just did what we loved to do together. And I know now that he gave me that perfect day. He gave us that perfect day.”
Williams killed himself on Aug. 11, 2014. After experiencing “an endless parade of symptoms,” he had been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Subsequently, he suffered from depression, paranoia and anxiety, his wife said.
A coroner’s report revealed that Williams had Lewy body dementia, a common but difficult-to-diagnose condition that may have contributed to his decision to commit suicide. His wife said she believes her husband ended his life to take control over what happened to him.
“And I don't blame him one bit. I don't blame him one bit,” she told Robach on Monday in part I of the interview.
After his death, a media frenzy ensued. Susan Williams became embroiled in a contentious legal battle with her late husband’s children over his estate.
When Robach asked Williams why she decided to take legal action against her stepchildren, she replied: “I was forced into it, basically.
“And when I say that, here's what happened. Two and a half weeks after Robin had left, I was still in shock. And not back in our home. After being in the trenches with my husband for so long and trying to solve this thing, after seven years together in love, I was told that I might not be able to be able to keep our wedding gifts, that in fact, ‘While you're out of the house … we need to come in and take everything out,’” she said.
The things would go into storage, she said, recalling she was also told: “’Eventually once we’ve gone through it all, you can decide – tell us which items are yours. And we’ll decide whether or not that’s true.’ That was incomprehensible to me.”
Williams claims she was “stonewalled good and hard” when she started to raise questions.
“And I'll never forget being on the phone with one of the trustees and saying, ‘Are you kidding me? I'm not going to be able to keep our wedding gifts?’ What is this? I know Robin Williams is famous. He's my husband. He's my husband. If we're talking that you guys think everything is memorabilia, then take me. He's touched me. Where does this end?’”
They settled the case out of court in early October. After the settlement, Meredith Bushnell, an attorney who represented the actor’s three children – Zachary, Zelda and Cody, told the Associated Press: “I think they're just very happy to have this behind them."
Asked about what agreement was reached, Williams said it was “basically what my husband wanted, which was just that I could live in the home until I die. And that’s it. That it would be taken care of.”
She’s now back in that California home, living one moment at a time.
Susan and Robin Williams had had a seven-year relationship and a private, happy three-year marriage. The biggest lesson she says she learned from her husband was that people didn’t have to be so afraid.
“And really … what moved Robin was that he lived by the golden rule. And you should just treat others the way you want to be treated,” she said.