Ricki Lake revealed in a new interview that her ex-husband Christian Evans died by suicide.
Speaking to People for an interview published on Wednesday, March 1, the 48-year-old actress shared heartbreaking details about the death of her former spouse, who suffered from bipolar disorder took and his own life at age 45 on Saturday, February 11.
“I have to spread the word about recognizing this disorder and getting treatment as soon as possible,” Lake told the magazine. “Christian didn’t want to be labeled as bipolar, but he admitted he was in the note he left. That was him finally owning it. That was him giving me permission to tell his story.”
The Hairspray alum, who divorced Evans in 2015 after three years of marriage, told People that the jewelry designer had been open about his condition since the start of their romance in September 2010. “I felt like the luckiest girl that he chose me,” she said. “He was the funniest person. He was so charismatic.”
Lake added: “He had a lot of self-esteem issues and a lot of demons. But I understood him, and he was someone that I think a lot of people misunderstood.”
Despite his battle with bipolar disorder, Lake told People that she and Evans had a great relationship. “We never fought, we never had an argument. He showed up for my kids,” said Lake, who shares sons, Milo, 19, and Owen, 15, with her first ex-husband, Rob Sussman. “He was this quiet force that was just all about love and goodness and wanting to help people.”
The former talk-show host went on to recount the first time she witnessed Evans have a manic episode. “I didn’t know what the hell hit me because I didn’t know what it looked like, so I didn’t see it coming,” she told People. “For me, someone who has lived with him for four years and seen how hard it was for him to get out of bed and be excited for things, I saw him starting to be happy. It presented initially as him being motivated.”
But Lake soon realized that Evans’ extreme highs were not a good sign. “[He] thought he could fly. He thought he could cure cancer with his hands,” she continued. “It was horrific. He just wasn’t the person I had been with for four years.”
Eventually, on the advice of her therapist, Lake cut off contact from Evans and filed for divorce. Not long after, Evans was hospitalized under a 5150 psychiatric hold and checked himself into a treatment facility afterward.
“He didn’t want to be there, and he didn’t want to be medicated. But he did it to appease me,” said Lake, who continued her relationship with Evans even after their divorce was finalized in 2015. “He wasn’t stable, and he was so fragile. But I was still in love with him, so there was something romantic about it. I wanted to save him.”
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