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Kate Spade's 'Secret Regret' Was Selling Her Original Company

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Jun. 8 2018, Published 11:58 a.m. ET

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Kate Spade's secret regret was selling her first, iconic company -- and it could have been one of the torments that caused her shocking suicide, has learned.

"Selling her company was the biggest mistake of her life," a source told of the designer known for her stylish handbags.

"That company was Kate. Her name was on everything they sold. It gave her something to do each day. It was her passion."

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In 1999, however, Spade, her husband Andy, and her partners sold 56 percent of the business to Neiman Marcus for $34 million, before offloading the rest of it in 2006 for $59 million, as Forbes has reported.

Last year, Spade's label sold to Coach for $2.4 billion, but she didn't see a penny in that sale as she and her other partners had cashed out of it more than a decade ago.'s source explained, "After Kate sold the company, yes, she made a ton of money, but she was in a golden prison."

"She got a great apartment but she lost her company, her friends and her staff. She was very isolated. It would break her heart to see someone carry a bag with her name on it when she had nothing to do with the design of that purse," said the insider.

Spade, 55, was found dead at age from apparent suicide by hanging in her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday, June 5.

Authorities reportedly said she was found with a red scarf around her neck attached to a doorknob.

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Spade's death stunned Hollywood stars who made her accessories famous.

In 2016, Spade and her husband Andy, the brother of actor David Spade, launched their next venture, Frances Valentine, a new shoes and accessories brand named for daughter Frances Beatrix, 13.

Spade implied to NPR that starting another business was stressful, noting, “We’re self-financing again, so I’m not crazy about…losing any money, so you know — this thing better work.”

The luxury shoe and handbag business Frances Valentine looked like another hit for Spade, but apparently overwhelmed by marital problems, drinking, and mental illness issues,  according to her estranged sister, she killed herself on June 5.

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