Robin Williams, who passed away on Monday, had a current wife as well as two ex-wives.
Williams met Valerie Velardi when he was 26, at a tavern in San Francisco. He was working as a bartender while trying to start a career in comedy while she was waiting tables while taking a graduate degree at Mills College.
People magazine reported that Velardi pushed Williams to try harder to get into the comedy business, which led to his first big break–his own show on ABC as Mork, a character he trotted out several times on Happy Days.
Williams and Velardi were married in June 1978, and Williams had his first son Zachary with her.
But the pair split in 1987, with Velardi upset over Williams’ allegedly cheating on her multiple times. The private, out-of-court separation agreement in 1988 that included shared custody of Zachary on a flexible basis.
“When Robin is out of town (as he often is), the boy lives with his mother in her San Francisco apartment; when Robin is at home in another section of the city, Zachary spends as much time as possible with him,” it reported.
Actor and comedian Robin Williams dances with his then-wife, Valerie Velardi, at Studio 54 in New York City on April 12, 1979. (AP Photo)
“Note that when Zach is with Robin he’s with Marsha too. Robin now lives with Marsha, who is both his secretary-assistant and (as he explains with a glow you could see from the moon) ‘the one who makes my heart sing.'”
Marsha refers to Marsha Garces, Williams’ second wife who was initially hired by Velardi to be a live-in nanny for Zachary when he was a baby.
Several years later, Garces had become Williams’ assistant.
They were married in 1989, with Garces already pregnant with Williams’ only daughter, Zelda. Garces later gave birth to Williams’ second son and last child, Cody.
The Filipino-American helped him with his work, even being nominated for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special for Robin Williams: Live on Broadway along with others in 2003, according to IMDB.
Garces, who was born on June 18, 1956 in San Francisco, is also credited as a producer on Jakob the Liar and Mrs. Doubtfire and executive producer on Patch Adams.
Robin Williams laughs with second wife Marsha Garces Williams as they arrive at the Christopher Reeve Foundation’s A Magical Evening gala Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
Actor Robin Williams, left, poses with his then-wife Marsha Garces Williams at the premiere of the film “Man of the Year,” Wednesday night, Oct. 4, 2006, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
She also served as assistant to Williams on Toys, Hook, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning, Vietnam.
Though they were together for almost two decades, the pair ultimately split in 2008.
People magazine reported that the divorce stemmed from Williams’ alcohol relapse in 2006 after 20 years of sobriety.
A friend said that while Williams entered rehab and then remained sober, “the trust was broken.”
But longtime Williams friend Richard Belzer clarified that the split was “amicable” as opposed to “a vicious, bitter thing”–in contrast with Williams’ first divorce.
Williams later met Susan Schneider in 2009. She helped nurse him back to health after his heart surgery that year, according to the Guardian. They were married in 2011 in St. Helena, California.
Williams told SF Gate that he was happy to be married again.
“I’m the luckiest man in the world… Being with a comedian, living with a comedian, is like keeping a chimp for a pet. You know we’re kind of cute but after a little a while, (you get thrown out),” he said after the marriage.
“So if you find someone who goes, ‘OK I really like you,’ You go, ‘You like me?’ She’s gorgeous and so sweet. Oh, she’s beautiful.”
Robin Williams and wife Susan Schneider arrive to The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York, Saturday, April 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Schneider, a graphic designer and painter, appears to have been less involved with Williams work than the other two wives, but was still a big part of his life.
Following his death, she released a statement. “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend,” she said. “The world lost one its most beloved artists.”
The burden of paying his two ex-wives weighed on Williams, according to a friend who spoke with The Telegraph.
The friend and neighbor, who wasn’t named in the report, said that Williams resented having to work on films such as the sequel and only felt compelled to do so to keep money coming in.
Williams had been working on four projects when he committed suicide. The friend claims that Williams dreaded making more films because they “brought out his demons” and were not conducive to his mental well-being.
“Robin had promised himself he would not do any more as he invested so much in his roles that it left him drained and particularly vulnerable to depressive episodes,” the friend said.
“He signed up to do them purely out of necessity. He wasn’t poor, but the money wasn’t rolling in any more and life is expensive when you have to pay off two ex-wives and have a family to support.” Williams reportedly paid over $33 million to his two former wives.
In the end, the friend concluded that the suicide stemmed not from money or work alone but a “confluence” of several factors.
But the friend emphasized that the marriage to Schneider was not one of the problems. “His wife was very worried by the end, but she knew what she was getting into with him. Their marriage was great, very strong. It was all about what was going on inside of him.”