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8 Celebrities Whose Deaths Left Their Exes Mourning

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8 Celebrities Whose Deaths Left Their Exes Mourning

Our hearts still go out to the families and friends of the celebrities that have passed away way too early in their lives. Mourning over celebrities is something we all do.

We've compiled a list of stars' estranged lovers who have been the first or most vocal to express their devastation after the announcement of their exes' deaths. Because the pain can still linger, even after all this time.

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1. Heath Ledger

Heath, 28, and Michelle Williams, then 26, had broken off their engagement after a three-year relationship from summer 2004 to September 2007, and the birth of daughter Matilda Rose in October 2005.

After Heath was found dead by an accidental prescription drug overdose in New York City in 2008, Williams asked the public in a formal statement to allow her "to grieve privately... My heart is broken... Matilda will be brought up with the best memories of him."

2. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's death in 2009 at the age of 50 left behind his three children and two ex-wives, Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe.

Both expressed anguish at the news of his death, remembering him as a world-class talent, generous heart, and loving father. Presley said at the time, "I wish I'd saved him," and, "I know it's naive to think that I could've, but I wanted to."

3. Anna Nicole Smith

The controversial custody battle over Anna Nicole's daughter, Dannielynn, was thought to influence her drug overdose in February 2007 at age 39.

Larry Birkhead, Howard K. Stern, and a handful of other men each argued that they were Dannielynn's biological father, but after Anna's death, Larry Birkhead won the DNA contest and custody of the baby.

Now, it has been 13 years after Anna's death.

Birkhead recently said:

"I went to the point where I had dropped 30 or 40 pounds. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. It was a tough spot to be in. Not having to witness your child being born, to then having to hear that Anna’s son died, then having to deal with Anna’s death, then planning Anna’s funeral. 

I went from buying a tombstone to buying my daughter’s first birthday present and planning her birthday party. It was a lot for me to process. And... I was in a spot where I was numb for a while. I just walked through it.”

4. Elvis Presley

Elvis and Priscilla Presley had been married for just six years (but together for 14) when they divorced in 1973, reportedly holding hands during the court proceeding.

When Elvis passed in 1977 at 42, he left behind Priscilla and their five-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie. Priscilla attended Elvis' funeral, and in 1987 published a memoir about their relationship. It's reported she oversees Elvis Presley Enterprises to this day.

Priscilla said in 2019:

"Even going back to that time... it was devastating, it was devastating. He was so alive with so much energy and to think that it happened so soon. 42, so young. And so much left in him, that he wanted to do.

And yet there was a side of him that was wondering what to do. I mean, how do you keep up with your fame? How do you, y'know, what do you have to outdo what you did the last show, the last project? You have to outdo it.

There's a lot of pressure that comes with fame. Trying to keep on top. All of this was always trying to entertain his audience and make them laugh. I think of those times and I just think there was still a lot in him that he could have done."

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5. Kurt Cobain

Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain were married for two years and had daughter Frances Bean before Kurt's apparent suicide in 1994.

While they never officially split, the relationship was notoriously volatile, with Courtney reading Kurt's suicide note to his thousands of funeral attendees and interjecting her own comments about how he should have given up rock and roll and asking the crowd to join her in that Kurt was an "a*****e."


A post shared by Courtney Love Cobain (@courtneylove) on Feb 24, 2020 at 6:10pm PST

In a memorial post on Instagram, she wrote:

"28 years ago, we got married, in Honolulu, on Waikiki beach tonight spoke to sponsor, I .. Lit some candles chanted, diamoku, Walked my dog. Went to sushi with my best friend, the closest I have to another one.

28 years ago I recall feeling, deeply, delighted, dizzy, so in love, and knowing how lucky I was. This man was an angel. I thank him for looking out for me, many parts of the last 28 years have been torturous chaotic and uphill, and in public? That is the darkest s**t imaginable, it almost tapped my resilience, almost.

but between Kurt’s strange amazing divinity, and the honor of a few true friends, the gift of desperation and sobriety. Of a Higher power and of love, and of empathy, I’m here now. It’ll be ok, I see him on the shore. Rocking in the free world. My husband."

6. Sonny Bono

Sonny and Cher carried on famously as friends after their 13-year relationship that ended in divorce in 1975. Together they had daughter Chastity (now living as a man named Chaz), and Cher delivered a six-minute eulogy after Sonny's death in 1998.

At her flustered delivery, Cher said, "He is someplace loving this... we were definitely a marriage made in heaven... how proud I am of what he made himself after we were separated." She called him "the most unforgettable character I ever met," and in 1998 told Ellen DeGeneres that she felt a connection with Sonny more than with anyone else in her life.

Of their bond, she said, "It was perfect."

7. Farrah Fawcett

Farrah's battle with cancer brought her nearly three-decade, on-and-off romance with Ryan O'Neal to a boil.

In 2009, just before her passing, Farrah agreed to marry Ryan, but they never got to exchange vows. She also reconciled with ex-husband, Lee Majors, before she died on June 25. 

Kate Jackson was one of her co-stars in Charlie's Angels

After Fawcett's death, Jackson said, “I will miss Farrah every day. She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her.

When I think of Farrah I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit, and, of course, her beautiful smile. Today, when you think of Farrah, remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered: smiling.” 

8. DJ AM (Adam Goldstein)

Hayley Wood's last MySpace login was two days before Adam's death. She's was at the time listed as "in a relationship," and next to her heroes she had posted, "RIP Michael Jackson."

Around the time of Adam's death, her MySpace and blog were riddled with bleak phrases and thoughts including the line, "This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine," and a poem stating that "when it's over, it's over" in the days before DJ AM's death. Her blog was quickly removed.

Reportedly, she had broken up with Goldstein just weeks prior to his apparent drug overdose, but after the announcement of his death, paparazzi caught Hayley leaving Adam's apartment looking disheveled and distressed.

Evidently neither Nicole Richie nor Mandy Moore issued formal statements responding to DJ AM's death, which was surprising because he was in a long-term relationship with both of them. Goldstein and Richie were engaged for nine months until 2005, and he and Moore dated, broke up, then reunited after his plane crash the year before, finally splitting when he met Hayley Wood.

Mandy Moore issued a statement on Adam Goldstein's death expressing that she was "absolutely heartbroken" and that Adam was "the very definition of a true friend... To say that he will be missed beyond words is an understatement. My heart goes out to his loved ones."

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Kristine Gasbarre is a freelance culture, lifestyle, and relationship writer for national consumer magazines and popular websites.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in August 2009 and was updated with the latest information.