'Simon took her away': The shocking claims about Brittany Murphy's husband in new documentary (2024)

The following contains details from the two-part documentary"What happened, Brittany Murphy?" streaming on HBO Max.

Nearly 12 years after a star's shocking death, the HBO Max documentary "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" revisits the actress's life and tragic end. At 32,Murphy was found nonresponsivein her Los Angeles home in 2009 and was pronounced dead atCedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Despite the title of the two-part project, the doc actually offers little new information about the actress's death. It does, however, do a good job in clouding Murphy's husband,Simon Monjack (who died of similar circ*mstances five months later in 2010), in further suspicion. Those interviewed– journalists,Murphy's"King of the Hill" co-star Kathy Najimy, her friendsand a director of one of her last films– paint Monjack as a controlling, creepy villain.

Dr. Lisa Scheinin, the deputy medical examiner who conducted Murphy's autopsy, also appears in the documentary and explainsher findings– that Murphy died of pneumonia with anemia as a contributing factor. Scheinin describes Murphy'siron deficiency as a "life-threateningsituation" and concludes the actress would've beenbattling asevere case of pneumonia "for some time." Though Murphy had prescription and over-the-countermedications in her system,Scheinin says, "she had no evidence of alcohol or any drugs of abuse in her system."

A new documentaryabout the life and mysterious death of Brittany Murphy is coming

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

'She was so wonderful':Dakota Fanning recalls the best advice she got from Brittany Murphy

'Simon took her away': The shocking claims about Brittany Murphy's husband in new documentary (1)

It'sScheinin's belief that medical intervention could've saved Murphy's life that will pain fans.

"If she had gotten to a hospital early enough, you can detect pneumonia on a chest X-ray," she says in the film. "It's very easy to do. They could've possibly started treatment, but she would've had a chance."

So then the question naturally becomes, "Why didn't she go to the hospital?"Elizabeth Ragsdale, who was previously engaged toMonjack and says she shares a child with him, believes her ex is to blame.

"I believe thatSimon Monjack–even if he did not killBrittany Murphy–he allowed her to die because he did not get her to the doctor and get her help," she says in "What Happened." "And I believe that he did the same thing to himself."

Here are the most shocking claims about Monjack, Murphy and their relationship from the new documentary:

Brittany Murphy's father,Angelo Bertolotti, 92, dies nine years after his daughter

The 50 best TV showsto watch on HBO Max right now: 'Insecure' Season 5 arrives in October

Murphy worried she was 'dying'

In an appearance in January 2010 on the "Today" show, Monjack, alongside Murphy's mother, Sharon, told former morning show anchorMatt Lauer that Murphy was fine leading up to her death."She had a little bit of laryngitis," Monjack said."That was the only thing. Other than that she was perfectly healthy and well."

But the next month, to Larry King, Monjack, again paired with Sharon, told King that Murphy struggled for air on the day of her death. "That morning she woke up. She couldn't breathe," he said."She went out to get some air. Sharon followed her out. (To Sharon) I'll say this because I know you can't. She said, 'Mom, I'm dying. I love you.' "

A stunned King asked, "She knew she was dying?" It seemed Murphy knew exactly how severe her illness was, which again raises the question of why she didn't seek medical attention. In "What Happened,"Simon's mom, Linda Monjack, recalls a conversation with Murphy that occurred "just before she died." "'I'm having trouble breathing ... (When) I get to the top of the stairs. I can't breathe,'" Linda remembers Murphy saying. "She said, 'Do you think I'm dying?'I said:'No, of courseyou're not dying. You're fine, but you need to go to the doctor.' "

'Simon took her away': The shocking claims about Brittany Murphy's husband in new documentary (2)

Murphy's friend: 'Simon took her away'

Friends and colleagues remember an impenetrable fortress Monjack erected about Murphy.Monjack would drive Murphy to work, Najimy says,and stay, monopolizing any of her free time."Every time there was a break, shewould leave and go be in the car with him, and it got more and more restrictive," Najimy says. "And it got more and more apparent to all of us that she wasn't hanging out or having lunch with us or talking."

Celebrity fitness trainerHarley Pasternak says he triedto contact Murphy's representatives about training her for a role. They supposedly told him: "She fired all of us. Simon is her agent, managerand lawyer and everything now. You have to go through Simon. And they said, 'We're concerned because no one can contact her directly.' "

A friend of Murphy's,actress Lisa Rieffel, says:"One day (Murphy's) numbers were changed, no one knew where she was, couldn't find her. Disappeared.Simon took her away. That was it. He made sure no one could get to her.”

'Squid Game' is horrifying.It's more horrifying that we are all fascinated by it.

What doesthe ending of 'Squid Game' mean for a potential Season 2?

'Simon took her away': The shocking claims about Brittany Murphy's husband in new documentary (3)

Alex Merkin directed Murphy in one of her last films,"Across the Hall," made in 2008."I learned that she didn’t have access to her own email address," he says. "I learned she had no access to her own phone, and if I wanted to reach her, I had to reach her through him (Simon)."

Merkin asserts that his star's marriage was "something that felt completely unhealthy, something that feltdelusional on some level – a manipulative ploy on his part to control her and to keep his hooks in her."

Monjackallegedly lied about having cancer

"Autumn in New York" screenwriterAllison Burnett says in the documentary that he met Monjack in 1999. In addition to bragging about former flames that supposedly included singer Madonna and modelElle Macpherson,Monjack proclaimed "he had been dying from terminal brain cancer and that he had bought an experimental treatment derived from the fins of sharks and that it had saved his life."

Monjack spun a similar lie toRagsdale."Simon tearfully told me one night after I would not make love with him that he had spinal cancer, and that he was going to have to go to have this shark cartilage treatment in Monaco," she says.

"And then we have sex – after that," she adds. "He got what he wanted.”

Monjack's mom, who comes to his defense in the documentary, says her son "was terribly fearful that his father got cancer at 29. I certainly don't think he went out to tell people he had cancer. I think he believed it."

Monjack also 'cut off' ex 'from everybody'

Ragsdale says in 1998, Monjack hurried them to conceive because the cancer treatment would make him infertile. She says early in her pregnancy she experienced "severe nausea where I couldn't raise my head" and wanted to have her sister and others around for comfort,but Monjack wouldn't allow that. A friend ofRagsdale's made an unannounced trip out of concern. "She was also very worried about me because I'd been cut off from everybody,"Ragsdale explains.

"She said, 'You look like you've just come out of a concentration camp,' " Ragsdale remembers, adding that her friend threatened to take her if Monjack wouldn't take Ragsdale to the doctor." She says without doubt: "I believe that my friend saved my life."

There's a gold rushon Britney Spears documentaries. But do they help or exploit?

'Simon took her away': The shocking claims about Brittany Murphy's husband in new documentary (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 5291

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.