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When news broke in 2009 that beloved Clueless actor Brittany Murphy died in her West Hollywood home, the world mourned the 32-year-old star. Countless rumors circled Brittany’s death, which is said to have been caused by a host of issues like untreated pneumonia, anemia, and drug intoxication (from legal substances such as over-the-counter medicine and prescriptions). Ultimately, medical examiners at the Los Angeles coroner’s office ruled Brittany’s death an accident.
More than a decade later, new unsettling and disheartening details about her passing have emerged in the two-part HBO Max documentary What Happened, Brittany Murphy?—a lot of which apparently involve her husband, Simon Monjack, his questionable past, and the couple’s marriage.
FYI, Simon certainly wasn’t regarded by others as a good fit for Brittany—to put it gently. Director of the docuseries Cynthia Hill told People that Monjack “was a disturbed individual who was used to conning people and Brittany was one of his last victims.” She continued, “There was a pattern of behavior that became very obvious the more research that we did.”
Interviews in the trailer offered similar sentiments. “Simon took her away,” said actor Lisa Rieffel, a dear friend of Brittany’s. “He made sure no one could get to her.” Another teaser showed someone saying, “Every single word out of his mouth was a lie.” Now that What Happened, Brittany Murphy? is available beginning this week on HBO Max, here is everything we know about Simon and his marriage to Brittany.
Simon died in 2010
To be precise, Simon’s death came in May 2010, exactly five months after Brittany died. He was 40. Eerily enough, the causes of his death were almost identical to Brittany’s—pneumonia and anemia—and Simon was even found dead in the same room of their Los Angeles home as she was.
Simon was a screenwriter
The UK-born man also produced and directed. Two of Simon’s most known films are Two Days, Nine Lives (2001) and Factory Girl (2006). Simon also took on the role of Brittany’s makeup artist in some of her final projects, which many found puzzling and a marker of his odd behavior and controlling tendencies.
Brittany and Simon were married for two years
Simon and Brittany met while the actor was having trouble in her career and after a string of broken relationships, including two called-off engagements and an extremely public romance with Ashton Kutcher. In 2007, Simon and Brittany quietly married after a very private dating period. There was endless speculation around the nuptials, which some believed to have been done in haste so that Simon could renew his visa. (In February 2007, just months before the two tied the knot, Simon was jailed and facing possible deportation, according to The Sun.)
Before dating Brittany, Simon was previously married to an English woman named Simone Bienne from 2001 to 2006. He and Brittany began seeing each other shortly after his divorce was final.
Simon had two secret children
Upon Simon’s death, TMZ reported that three people close to him went through his laptop. Simon’s mother, brother, and therapist found emails from two women asking him for child support. Apparently, the communications revealed that Simon had both a son and a daughter by separate women.
One of the women was Elizabeth Ragsdale, Simon’s former fiancée. According to People, Elizabeth revealed in the documentary that once she became pregnant, Simon wanted her to give birth in New York—he bought her a flight and she waited for her fiancé in the city. Once she arrived, she called him. “I said, ‘Simon, I’ve made it to…’ and before I could get that sentence out, he hung up on me,” said Elizabeth in the series. “He left me pregnant and abandoned.”
Simon’s daughter, Jazmyn, spoke to the Daily Mail UK in 2013 when more rumors and investigations around his death were circulating. She said she didn’t have a close relationship with her father but was deeply connected to her grandmother, Simon’s mom.
“My parents broke up when I was 2 so I don’t remember them ever being a couple, but my dad lived in England when I was younger,” the then-18-year-old told the outlet, mentioning that she last saw her father when she was 7. “He moved abroad and I didn’t speak to him for ages. When I was with my dad, I saw his money, but not when he left. He didn’t pay child support. He didn’t leave my mum anything at all when he died, no money at all.”
He had messy legal and financial issues
Simon was arrested in Virginia for credit card fraud and theft, according to the New York Post. The charges ended up being dropped. According to the New York Post, the following year, Simon found himself being sued by a mortgage firm for nearly half a million dollars. This time, he didn’t get off so easy and had to pay $470,000, the Post’s records show, and to make matters worse, Simon was also evicted from at least four separate homes over the course of almost a decade.
Additionally, TMZ reported that Simon’s loved ones found thousands of dollars in wire transfers, with one single transfer amounting to $48,000. It was said that he was “sending the money to lawyers as well as someone in Europe for some sort of settlement.”
Learn more about Simon and Brittany’s relationship and respective deaths by catching What Happened, Brittany Murphy? on HBO Max beginning October 14.
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