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After beloved actor Brittany Murphy died suddenly in her home at just 32 years old, questions arose and suspicion was cast on her husband Simon Monjack. But just months later the mystery deepened when he died under the very same circumstances.
Her mysterious death and their relationship are the subject of the new two-part docuseries “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?,” no streaming on HBO Max.
In December 2009, at the height of her acting career, Murphy collapsed in her bathroom and died after going into cardiac arrest. Her cause of death was listed as pneumonia with secondary factors of iron deficiency anemia. The new docuseries examines if Monjack had anything to do with the “Clueless” star’s death, Bustle reports. And it's revealed he didn't have the most innocuous past: rumors have long persisted that Monjack was a con man and grifter who kept Murphy away from her friends and loved ones.
Who exactly was Monjack and why were some suspicious of him?
Monjack was born and raised in England. His father died of a brain tumor when he Monjack was 15. This shocking death apparently led him to fixate on his own death for the rest of his life, according to “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?”
He grew up aspiring to work in the the entertainment industry and wrote and directed the UK B-movie “Two Days, Nine Lives” in 2001. That same year he married UK TV personality Simone Bienne in Las Vegas, the New York Post reported in 2009. Their marriage lasted five years during which Monjack faced mounting legal trouble.
He was arrested in 2005 on credit card fraud and theft allegations in Virginia and in 2006, he was sued in New York for nearly half a million dollars after being evicted from four different homes, the New York Post reported in 2009.
He and Murphy wed in 2007 – they pair seemed mismatched from the beginning and their relationship drew negative press scrutiny.. According to the docuseries, he lied about being a billionaire, having terminal spinal cancer that had to be treated with medicine that contained shark fins. He also bragged about a non-existent collection of sports cars, claimed he had dated Madonna and Elle MacPherson, and said he had the largest collection of Johannes Vermeer paintings in the world.
In reality, he was draining the “8 Mile” actor of her earnings. He spent an estimated $3 million of her money over the course of three years, Rolling Stone reported. He took over her finances as well as her email account and phone. He also became her manager after they wed. Those close to Murphy point out in “What Happened, Brittany Murphy” that he isolated her from people both in her work and personal life.
Monjack also apparently fathered two children with other women, neither of which were his former wife, before dating Murphy, according to the docuseries.
After Murphy’s death, Monjack began sleeping in the same bed as Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy. The two made an awkward appearance on “Larry King” following Murphy’s death, in which they behaved much like a grieving couple. The docuseries points out that Monjack changed his story multiple times about the events leading up to his wife’s death.
Questions about Monjack's motives and identity will most like remain unanswered as, in an eerie turn of events he died in May of 2010, just months after Murphy. He was 40 years old and they shared the same cause of death: pneumonia and anemia.
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