Within the truly strange sequels of Brittany Murphy's sudden death


Were the drugs? Toxic mold? Poisons for the home? Dirty game?

All were fodder for speculation in the following days, months and years. Brittany murphyThe sudden death of 2009 at the age of 32.

The actress had been the subject of many reports about rumors of health problems over the years. And she was a favorite of the tabloids, starring in one of the best teen comedies of all time, dated Ashton Kutcher, he got engaged twice and then married a guy who hadn't even been on the Hollywood radar.

Her apparent weight loss only in the 2000s was news for life, but she always insisted that any change in her appearance was not due to what the gossip of the day accused her of doing. Nor had she been arrested, had not gone to rehab and was not really so partying.

But no matter what problems he had or did not have, that did not make him less horrible when, on December 20, 2009, his life simply … stopped.

"There have been so many rumors in the last two years!" Murphy said that Cosmopolitan in 2004. "I prefer not to perpetuate something that is not true.

"But no, I've never had an eating disorder. And I don't use drugs. I occasionally drink a glass of champagne. I'm usually the person who dances at a party that everyone always thinks is intoxicated, but I'm really not."

Scott Gries / Getty Images

When she was newly single and lived in Los Angeles with her mother, Sharon murphy, who raised Brittany alone after her divorce and whom the actress called "the biggest in the world,quot; and a "pillar of strength."

His house used to belong to Britney Spearsuntil Murphy bought it in 2003 for about $ 3.85 million.

After Murphy and Kutcher, his co-star in the 2003 comedy Just Married, broke that April, was briefly engaged with the talent manager Jeff Kwatinetzand then to Joe Macaluso, production assistant in his 2004 film Small black book.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

When asked if any of the dramatic details reported about his separation from Kwatinetz was correct (he was still in love with an ex, etc.), Murphy said Cosmo, "Not a part was valid, apart from the fact that, yes, the commitment was canceled."

"After a break," he continued, "the fog takes a couple of weeks to calm down, but it's always a period of self-priority and growth. Life presents you with so many decisions. Many times, they're right in front of your face and they're really difficult, but we must make them. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships don't work. That's life. But hopefully, you learn from them. "

"I'm still friends with all my ex boyfriends, except one," said Murphy. "This particular break (with Kwatinetz) is like the next phase, as opposed to the end. Yes, the romantic part is over, but there is one side of the developing friendship that needs a lot of water. The most important thing is to preserve the friendship and do it grow ".

The rumor that she had a cocaine problem was not going either, and reiterated that Jane magazine in 2005, "No, just for the record, I've never tried it in my entire life, I haven't even seen it, and I don't get out of the house too much, except to go to work."

Marsaili McGrath / Getty Images

The veteran of the films that include 8 miles, Girl, Disrupted and Ride in cars with boys, as well as the voice of Luanne Platter on Fox & # 39; s King of the hill Since 1997, he was also recording music and aspired to have his own production company, BAM (for Brittany Anne Murphy). In 2005 he co-starred Sin City and provided the voice of Gloria, the main female penguin, in the hit 2006 animated film Happy Feet.

While you promote Sin City, the rumors had gone from drugs to an eating disorder. "I am the same size as me Clueless; it's just that the weight on your face changes as you grow and age, "he said at the time." This is my body. I'm proud of that, I'm healthy. "

In 2006, she and Macaluso amicably terminated their eight-month commitment.

"Everything is going wonderful, thanks," Murphy told reporters at the backstage of the Teen Choice Awards in August. "I'm just living every moment, you know, enjoying my day."

Later that year, he met the British writer, director and photographer. Simon Monjack at a party and, without the announcement of the public engagement this time, he married him at his home in Los Angeles in April 2007. They became constant companions.

First they dated as husband and wife in the Kentucky Derby in May, Murphy wearing a wedding ring and the two engagement rings they had bought in Neil Lane, without being able to decide between them.

If all the other rumors about Murphy had been up to the Hollywood youth course, the mill really started to shake after getting married. Suffice it to say that some people were worried about the actress (and her money).

First of all: who It was this guy?

"Nobody knows, but I took Brittany's first photograph for a magazine. It was Jane magazine; Brittany was that big, "Monjack said, indicating that Murphy was on the short side, New York Post reporter at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, a comment that resurfaced after his death through the Los Angeles Times& # 39; Blog of the Ministry of Gossip, where the journalist worked in 2009.

Monjack, who was almost eight years older than the actress, said Murphy was "too young to touch her,quot; when he first met her, but "to summarize the story, I was very patient."

Michael Bezjian / Getty Images

When asked about other rumors: did his visa that expired in February 2007 have anything to do with his whirlwind of commitment, was he in a serious financial situation, was he already the father of a group of children? "Monjack said," We never approached it (publicly), and I'm not going to do it now. "

As for his always together, he said: "We have created an environment conducive to art and fun and enjoyment, and we can take that environment with us wherever we go."

Monjack and Murphy really seemed to be in love, the journalist observed.

Murphy had said in a conversation with her. Ride in cars with boys co-star drew Barrymore for Interview magazine for its January 2003 issue that was learning the importance of "self-preservation."

Dave M. Benett / Getty Images

"Over the past year I discovered that if you keep giving and giving, you end up losing yourself," Murphy said. "I think learning to give and receive is the trick. Perfect happiness is also a feeling, and the most surprising thing is that we were all born with the gift of making it happen in an instant."

"Putting on some music, reading something can make us feel a certain way; affirmations, let us breathe, enjoy our loved ones and enjoy being in our own skin. I think the key to happiness is not feeling bad or guilty for feeling it and leaving make it contagious. And don't depend on other people to create your own happiness. "

But it seemed that Murphy preferred to be part of a couple, judging by the brief gaps between the committed relationships, even before dating his highest profile boyfriend.

In January 2003, he said in an AP interview that he "had a broken heart,quot; when he met Kutcher on the set of Just Married, "but we just clicked and had a great time filming."

She revealed that she and Kutcher had begun discussing during their first rehearsal together, a new experience for her, but once they reconciled, they became good friends on the set.

"Then I went to make a movie," Murphy continued, "he went to make a movie and it was approximately (two months ago) when we looked at each other and thought: & # 39; OK, this is something …" & # 39 ;

And yes, they were making a lot of headlines, but, he added, "just because people are paying more attention, I don't think you should change your behavior because that maybe I could put a greater strain on the relationship. "

(In that same interview, she never admitted anything more than being a close friend of Eminem, with whom it was rumored that he had dated while shooting 8 miles in 2001.)

After marrying Monjack in 2007, Murphy filmed some more films; the last released in his life was the thriller indie noir Through the hall on December 4, 2009. Something evil, which filmed in the spring of 2009, did not come out until 2014.

In what turned out to be Murphy's last public appearance on December 3, at the opening of a pop-up store in Los Angeles, he made a couple of disturbing comments in retrospect in interviews on the red carpet.

Michael Bezjian / WireImage

She told Pop News & # 39; Fox Tarts: "I'm a little thinner now than I would like to be." But like every time he gained weight, there was no indication on his part that something was wrong.

"I was a dancer for a long time," Murphy added. "I still take ballet classes now, what it does to your body is amazing."

Then Access Hollywood He asked about his plans for 2010, which was just around the corner.

"As for having a New Year's resolution, I would love to have a child next year," Murphy shared. "I have been very blessed to have a really great loving husband. I spend more time with my family than anyone in the world."

She, Monjack and her mother, Sharon, still lived in Britney Spears' old house.

There was a power outage in his neighborhood in the early morning hours of December 20, 2009. Shortly after the electricity returned, around 3 am, Murphy went out to the balcony to get some air, Monjack recalled more late. Larry King Live. She was out of breath, and he called Sharon to come up.

When Sharon went with her daughter, Brittany said, according to Simon, "& # 39; Mom, I'm dying. I love you & # 39;".

It was Sharon who was with her daughter when she collapsed in her main bathroom, which was decorated in soft peach tones and where she often retired to relax.

Around 7:30 a.m., Brittany told Sharon: "& # 39; Mommy, I really don't feel well & # 39;". When she collapsed at 8 a.m., Sharon shouted for Simon and he initially tried to revive her with cold water in the shower while Sharon called 911, then they told her The Hollywood reporter.

AP PHoto / Dan Steinberg

Paramedics tried CPR and then took Murphy to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m.

"The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy," his family said in a statement. "She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a bright star. We asked her to respect our privacy at this time."

That was just the beginning of what would turn out to be a strange saga, full of weirder twists than fiction (which in fact turned out to be the fodder for a 2014 Lifetime movie that Murphy's father called "cheap,quot;).

As the commotion spread through Hollywood and beyond, the authorities set out to determine what happened to the actress of just 32 years.

An autopsy was performed, but the cause of death was deferred, as is usually the case, pending the results of toxicology tests. Interestingly, the death certificate issued by the county listed Murphy's father as "unknown," although he It was known. He was Sharon's ex-husband, Angelo Bertolotti, and did not attend his daughter’s funeral on December 24.

The day before, he told E! News: "If I wanted to go, I would go, but I don't want to see her that way. She was perfect for me. She was a bright little girl. I only have good memories of her. It's a memory for me now. For me, she's making a movie somewhere. "

Bertolotti said he was "very shocked,quot; by the death of his daughter. "I can't really believe it," he said. "It happened very fast; I'm just trying to solve everything now. I'm very upset about that."

Not surprisingly, all the financial and legal search problems in Monjack's past were resolved in a matter of days, but it was not hidden. Instead, with the support of Sharon Murphy, he was determined to speak on behalf of Brittany.

And then Monjack approached Access Hollywood The day after his death.

"My world was destroyed yesterday," he told the store. Murphy had been suffering from flu-like symptoms and had developed laryngitis and had seen a doctor, but otherwise his wife seemed fine, he said.

"I was tired at the end of the year, made a couple of movies," Monjack said.

When asked if there had been bad influences in his life (including, of course, him), Monjack replied: "I don't know why anyone would think that. She found love. We found love. Brittany didn't get where Brittany was with someone who controlled her … Brittany was Brittany. "

In January 2010, Monjack and Sharon Murphy sat with Larry king.

"Do you want to know what broke Brittany Murphy's heart? Hollywood broke Brittany Murphy's heart," Monjack said on CNN Larry King Live. When asked how they were maintained, he replied: "I don't think it is. I don't think any of us are."

"You wake up in the morning and it's like a renaissance," said Monjack. "… Your dreams, whether good or bad, when you wake up and I approach to touch or hug my wife and she is not there."

She also continued to insist that Murphy did not suffer from anorexia, a rumor that had harassed her for years, and that she was not using illegal drugs.

On February 25, 2010, Murphy's death was officially determined as an accident, caused by pneumonia, anemia and multiple drug intoxication. His type of severe iron deficiency, the autopsy report explained, "leads to a weakened state of health and would increase your vulnerability to infection."

The substances found in your body include acetaminophen and hydrocodone, both found in the Vicodin painkiller; Chlorpheniramine, the active ingredient in certain over-the-counter medications; and L-methamphetamine, a component of some inhalers, which are sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of pneumonia.

"The possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be ruled out, especially in their weakened state," the report reads.

Murphy's death was "accidental but avoidable," Los Angeles County coroner assistant Ed Winter said at the time. "She had been ill for at least two weeks. If she had been taken to the doctor or hospital, it would have been treatable."

John Parra / Getty Images

It is not exactly a satisfactory conclusion, and it certainly was not a closure for Murphy's loved ones, but for them, at least, it was a claim.

"Although Brittany's autopsy report was incredibly shocking and sad for the family, for me, Sharon and I shed tears," Monjack told Radar Online. "We are vindicated because we always said that Brittany never made any illegal substances and that the medicine she was taking was the one that was in her system and we hope that now people understand Brittany Murphy's legacy and Brittany's incredible body of work Murphy. "

He added: "As the most defamed man in the United States, I hope people realize that they should not believe anything they hear and read, and I love my wife as much as I did today with her."

He also stopped that February: the Brittany Murphy Foundation. Monjack launched himself and then closed the effort after inquiring minds began to question its legitimacy and it was discovered that the IRS had no record of it, nor was it registered as a non-profit organization.

A few months later, Monjack was supposedly working to get the foundation to work again when he died at age 40 on May 23, 2010, in the same house in West Hollywood where he and Sharon continued to live after Murphy's death.

Strangely, Murphy herself had supposedly not wanted to live there any longer. After four years, he felt that the house had no luck. Monjack told him The Hollywood reporter A month after his death, he had wanted to sell the place and move to New York. She wanted to raise a family there, she said, and relive her career in the thriving independent film scene.

"She absolutely hated Rising Glen's house," said Monjack. "Every time we drove to Sunset, Brit would say: & # 39; Please, can we stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel? & # 39; I would say: & # 39; Honey, you have to be realistic. We have our house , a 10,000 square foot house. We'll stay in it & # 39; ".

Monjack's publicist, Roger Neal, said his client had looked good the last time he saw him two days before, but that Monjack had a heart condition and planned to undergo bypass surgery. "He was a man full of life and a man excited about the future," Neal said, adding that Sharon Murphy was "devastated."

"She is a very strong woman. I don't know how you handle something like that," Neal added. "He's resting. Sharon loved Simon like a son. They were a very close family."

Monjack was buried next to Murphy in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood.

When the initial autopsy results were published in July 2010, their the death was also attributed to pneumonia and anemia, "just like Brittany," said deputy coroner Ed Winter. (Also, doctors said his heart was slightly enlarged, but that was not a factor.)

Conspiracy theorists went crazy.

Sharon Murphy issued a statement asking people to "stop the imprudent hints that my daughter and son-in-law misused any type of prescription medication."

Autopsy findings showed traces of medications in the Monjack system, but no more than at therapeutic levels and were considered unlikely to have contributed to his death. A final report published in August 2010 established the cause of death directly in acute bronchopneumonia acquired in the community.

Rebecca Sapp / WireImage

That summer was also when the theory that toxic mold had killed them accelerated, after TMZ reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was investigating the possibility.

Ed Winter said he had talked to Sharon, Monjack and his lawyer about a possible mold problem during the investigation into Murphy's death. Sharon said that "the coroner or someone from the Health Department had never personally asked him to come to inspect my house for mold." Winter said it wasn't true, while Roger Neal backed her.

Neal said the house had been inspected two months before Murphy died and the report said it was safe to inhabit it.

In any case, Winter said "there were no indicators,quot; that mold caused the deaths, and Sharon called the flood of erroneous information "absurd."

However, in December 2011, Sharon Murphy filed a negligence lawsuit against his former lawyers, claiming that he was advised to accept an agreement from the home builders, who believed they had been dishonest about possible defects in the house, early of that year instead of leaving. after the builders for wrongful death.

The results of an environmental review were never made public, so it was never confirmed if mold was actually found inside.

Sharon sold the house in July 2011 for $ 2.7 million. Finally, he abandoned his demand in 2013.

However, she was not the only one reluctant to let the case rest in peace.

In January 2012, Brittany's father, Angelo Bertolotti, sued the Los Angeles County coroner for his findings and requested that an independent laboratory analyze samples of his daughter's remains to detect other toxins or heavy metals.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit months later, but Bertolotti went on to commission an independent laboratory to perform further tests on Brittany's hair strands, insisting that chronic arsenic poisoning could have been mistaken for anemia.

In 2013, Bertolotti said the test results yielded traces of "heavy metals," including barium, which is consistent with substances such as rat poison.

The independent report, obtained by CNN, stated: "If we eliminate the possibility of an accidental simultaneous exposure of heavy metals to the donor from the sample, then the only logical explanation would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a responsible third party. with probable criminal intent. "

Cue the dirty game theory again.

"It's very suspicious," Bertolotti told HLN in November. "I feel she was poisoned and there is no doubt about it. She was killed."

In giving his expert opinion to CNN, Dr. Bruce Goldberger, director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida and president of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, called the conclusion of the report "ridiculous,quot; and the accusation of criminal intent "a unfounded accusation and outrageous statement to make based on a single hair test. "

Goldberger said it can't be determined if someone was poisoned by trying a single strand of hair, and that the level of chemicals was consistent with the use of hair dyes, and Murphy, in fact, had regularly changed hair colors.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said there was no plan to re-investigate Murphy's death, which supported his conclusions and opinions.

Meanwhile, Sharon Murphy had had enough.

In a letter published by The Hollywood reporter On November 25, 2013, he said unequivocally that the theories and interference of his ex were not appreciated.

"I have no choice but to present myself to the inexcusable efforts to stain my daughter's memory for a man who may be her biological father but who was never a true father to her in her life," Sharon wrote. "Angelo Bertolotti has moved to California in his old age to affirm that he is here for Brittany, since he was never in life. He has made scandalous statements in recent years, which culminated in this latest madness: that my dear daughter was murdered." .

"Their claims are based on the weakest evidence and are more an insult than an idea of ​​what really happened, as I will explain shortly."

First, Sharon declared that Bertolotti appeared in Brittany's life shortly before she Clueless but after she was already a successful teenage actress. Then he knocked down any supposed evidence of poisoning that the so-called laboratory had found.

"We will never know for sure," he concluded. "However, we know that the Los Angeles County coroner did thorough tests and discovered that he died of natural causes. And now he is a true living angel in heaven."

20th century / Kobal / Shutterstock

Ashton Kutcher told ABC News a few months after Murphy's death that it didn't make sense what happened, so he would only try to remember her as she was.

"I just celebrate who he was," said the actor. "He was like the person who entered the room and was always the first person to dance. You know when you go to a party and everyone is standing, and the music plays, and you know that sooner or later everyone leaves. Dance. It was always the first person to dance. And I just try to connect with that and celebrate who I was and what it was like, and not make sense of it, because it makes no sense to make sense. "

Kutcher said he had not really kept in touch with Murphy since his separation, but he had seen her about two months before he died, since he wanted her to play a role in a television show that her production company was doing.

November 2010 Winona Rydersaying Total movie that I couldn't look anymore Interrupted girl, in which Murphy's character, Daisy, commits suicide. "I was very close to her before she died," Ryder said.

"It was crazy," Eminem said about It's crazy because at one time we were very close and she was a very good person.

In April 2014, Murphy's final film, the supernatural thriller Something Wicked, finally premiered, although it has obviously been his previous work in the likes of Clueless, 8 miles and Happy Feetas well as the long-standing syndicate King of the hill, who lives in his place.

That September, the big picture Brittany Murphy's story released in Lifetime, starring Amanda Fuller as the doomed actress, Twin peaks star Sherilyn Fenn like mom Sharon and Eric Petersen Like Simon

"I am outraged and outraged because Lifetime decided to produce such a bad project, contaminating the memory of my beautiful and talented daughter, Brittany Murphy," Bertolotti told Examiner at the time. "Frankly, I'm surprised at his boldness to call him & # 39; a true story & # 39 ;, without doing any research or consulting with any family member.

"Brittany Murphy's story It is an affront to everything my daughter was in real life. It's horrible, unauthorized and completely false. "

In 2015, the plot part outside the rails thickened when Jaime Presslyappeared in Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry and said he was connecting with someone whom Pressly concluded, according to what he said, it had to be Murphy.

After his death, the paparazzi asked Pressly at the airport if they had been friends, and she replied: "I was before I married him."

A source said People in 2009, after Murphy's death, "Not many around him were admirers of (Monjack). He wanted to find someone to share his heart with so much. They thought he was a little forced, but you couldn't help but see his joy and devotion She really wanted it to work. "

Henry told Pressly: "We have a younger woman who steps forward and feels that she died too soon, and when she is arriving, she is making my lungs hurt quite a lot. Mentally it feels strange, physically it feels strange."

None of that was not strange by then.

"She is blaming an external influence," Henry continued, "and said she was in a very manipulative situation, in which I really feel like an external person who is harmful to influence many of her actions or actions in certain areas." .

The case finally seemed destined to rest, but in 2016, with a real crime and new investigations, forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht (co-author of a book on the subject JonBenét Ramsey research and the doctor who performed a second autopsy on Anna Nicole SmithDaniel's son at his request) told E! News that, according to what the hair test discovered in 2013, the Murphy case would have reopened.

"I would have verified if the results of the private laboratory were valid and, if they could be corroborated and analyzed, if there was exposure and where the exposure came from," said Wecht. "There are two people, a husband and a wife, who die five months from each other. And, without participating in any wild speculation, with two young people who die five months apart, you have to check it out, and I still don't do it." . I do not know what happened ".

Forensic assistant Ed Winter reiterated E! News at the time that since then they had been informed of the independent report, and "all they found was the presence of heavy metals, but I guess our people or the doctor explained to them that it was because Brittany dyed her hair .. Era of color was determined.

"It was not poisoned, and we defend the cause of death. He died from over-the-counter medications, pneumonia and anemia."

However, to reopen the case, Winter said: "We would have to have direct evidence. Honestly, it would take something like a confession. Something that connects someone with that."

A new investigation, which could include exhumming Murphy's body, could occur "if the police contacted us. Or we can reopen the case if there is substantial evidence."


Sharon Murphy was not available for comment, but Roger Neal told E! News in March 2016 that Sharon had "reviewed,quot; all the pending tasks for Brittany's death.

"His whole world fell apart," Neal said. "I don't know how he did it. I felt very bad for her. She is a very strong person. I don't know how she avoided having a mental breakdown. I don't know how she put two sentences together. She endured a lot and then had to endure that mom and Simon's father from Brittany entered the intimate press, she had something to do with their deaths and had to endure all those things and it was horrible. I don't think she had the right time to grieve. "

In May 2016, the property where Brittany and Simon lived and died returned to the market for $ 19.75 million, after being completely disemboweled, the modern square structure with glass walls from floor to ceiling that is nothing like the traditional style Mediterranean. house that once was there.

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Bertolotti did not want to give up his search for different answers, but he told Radar Online in February 2017 that he had "lost hope."

"My father has explored all the ways, but he has to move on with his life," he said Jeff Bertolotti, Angelo's son and Brittany's half brother. "He is not a good man."

Angelo Bertolotti died on January 22. Jeff wrote in a tribute on Facebook: "He passed with my beautiful sister Pia next to his bed, Frank Sinatra in his ears and a calm calm on his face. RIP Pop, I'm going to miss your crazy crazy ass, forever."

Sharon Murphy has remained out of the public eye.

"Cuando le pedí a mi madre que se mudara a California, ella vendió todo y se mudó aquí por mí,quot;, dijo Brittany a Associated Press en 2003. "Estaba realmente agradecida de haber crecido en un entorno propicio para la creación y no lo hizo,quot;. No sofoco nada de eso. Ella siempre creyó en mí ".

David Livingston / Getty Images

En lo que ahora no puede evitar ser un intercambio inquietante, Murphy había dicho a fines de 2002, durante sus preguntas y respuestas con Drew Barrymore para Entrevista, que si pudiera morir y volver como cualquier cosa, sería un árbol secoya. Ella no explicó por qué, pero su longevidad es una posibilidad.

Cuando se le preguntó cómo le gustaría morir, la actriz dijo: "Indoloramente. Me gustaría ser muy, muy, muy, muy vieja. Con toda la tecnología que estamos inventando y con lo que están desarrollando científicamente. , las personas tienen vidas más largas. Da miedo, pero en el mismo sentido también es muy emocionante. Por lo tanto, me gustaría ser feliz y saludable, y vivir el mayor tiempo posible ".

Siete años después, ella se había ido.

(Publicado originalmente el 11 de noviembre de 2018 a las 4 a.m. PT)