It’s been more than seven years since Robin Williams’s tragic passing, but the larger-than-life comedian’s spirit and legacy carry on in our hearts.
Williams’s death rocked the whole world; many believed that depression and drug abuse were behind his decision to end his life.
But, in fact, it turns out there was something else entirely behind Robin Williams’s tragic death. That’s why Robin’s widow, Susan Schneider Williams, decided to reveal the truth about what really killed her husband.
The world lost one of the greatest comic minds in 2014 when iconic funnyman Robin Williams died. Robin had a reputation for being a genuinely lovely person, a family man, and an all-around funny guy. Fans worldwide revered his talent through his classic roles in films like Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin.
Those who knew him in real life saw that he was just as funny off-camera—and that he could use his gift to bring joy to people when they needed him most.
Marriages and kids
The beloved actor was married three times and had three kids.
Williams met his first wife, Valeria Velardi, in June 1976. Back then, Williams wasn’t famous, and worked as a simple bartender in San Francisco.
“He was bartending. He had a French accent, offered me a drink, chatted me up and was absolutely delightful,” Valeria said in 2018.
“He asked me for a ride home. He was speaking French and I was teasing him and we had a kiss. And I just knew I was going to see him again”.
The couple tied the knot in 1978, and welcomed a son, Zack, in 1983.
Robin Williams and wife Valerie Velardi circa 1984 in New York / Getty Images
In 1988, Williams and Valeria separated. There were rumors that the actor had an affair with his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces – but Valeria has since denied this. That said, following the divorce, Williams married Marsha.
In 1989, the couple walked down the aisle while she was pregnant.
Robin and Marsha had two kids together, Zelda (born in 1989) and Cody (born in 1991). Unfortunately, Robin’s second marriage was also destined to end badly. After citing irreconcilable differences, Marsha filed for divorce in 2008.
Robin Williams & Susan Schneider
Then, three years after his second divorce, Robin met his soulmate, Susan Schneider. She first saw the famous comedian at a local Apple store in late 2007, where they shared a short conversation.
“I walked in and saw this man and I thought: ‘I think that’s Robin Williams. ‘ Then on my way out I happened to look at him again and he was smiling at me and something inside me said: ‘Oh, just go over and say hi’, Susan said.
They tied the knot in 2011. The ceremony was held at the Meadowood luxury resort in Napa Valley, California.
Around 120 guests were invited to the modest wedding – mostly family, close friends, and neighbors.
Robin and Susan had a strong picture of how they wanted their special day to be. No big stars were present, and it was a far cry from the flashiness and glamour one might usually associate with celebrity weddings in Hollywood.
Robin and Susan also created their own vows. Robin made sure that his brother and mother – who had passed away by this point – were honored during the ceremony. The actor asked that the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi be read aloud by the minister.
”The wedding day was very beautiful – they were very much in love and very quiet. Both Robin and Susan were very actively involved with the preparation of the ceremony,” the minister who married the lovebirds told Daily Mail in 2014.
Robin and Susan lived in the exclusive Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco Bay. The Mediterranean contemporary style 7,170-square-foot house had a magnificent view of the water, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands.
From the outside, it looked like Robin and Susan were very happy and had everything – but today, we know that their relationship was tested as Robin wrestled with his inner demons.
His declining health also affected his professional career. For example, Williams had trouble memorizing single lines while filming Night at the Museum 3, his final on-screen film appearance in 2014. Robin, known for memorizing hundreds of lines and delivering outstanding performances, didn’t understand why he suddenly couldn’t learn simple lines.
“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it,” Schneider Williams explained in 2016.
“Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of, or understand? Neither he, nor anyone could stop it – no amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.”
Though Robin had his issues, Susan was always there for her husband, and the couple were very open with each other. They often discussed their successes, setbacks, and biggest fears; their friendship and love grew stronger with each passing year.
Unfortunately, Susan did not have all the facts on the table, and did not fully understand why her soulmate was struggling. In many ways, Susan was powerless, but during Robin’s last months, the couple still managed to share some bright and beautiful moments.
Shortly before his passing, the struggling actor was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which led to more questions, frustration, and dark thoughts circling in Robin’s head.
Doctors had given Robin just three years to live.
“What he was going through didn’t match one to one [with] many Parkinson’s patient’s experiences. So, I think that was hard for him,” Robin Williams’ son Zak said in Max Lugavere’s “The Genius Life” podcast.
“There was a focus issue that frustrated him; there were issues associated with how he felt, and also from a neurological perspective, he didn’t feel great. He was very uncomfortable.”
It wasn’t until after his death that the whole truth would emerge, and the world got to glimpse what Robin was battling. Three months after the legendary comedian passed, the coroner’s report was released.