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Motive Still A Mystery On Why Phil Hartman's Wife Murdered Him, Then Killed Herself

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Motive Still A Mystery On Why Phil Hartman's Wife Murdered Him, Then Killed Herself

It’s been over 20 years since Brynn Hartman committed the tragic murder of husband Phil Hartman and later took her own life. Phil Hartman was best known as a beloved comedian on Saturday Night Live, but his life was cut short after the tragic murder committed by his wife on the night of May 28, 1999.

Their rocky relationship was kept very private, however, according to close sources, it was revealed that underlying allegations of abuse and infidelity existed which were the likely culprits of the unfortunate outcome. According to Heavy, the two got into an altercation and later that night, Brynn murdered Phil in his sleep. Shortly after, she confided in an ex-lover who then called the police after viewing Phil’s body and then fled the scene. Brynn ultimately took her own life a few hours later in the same room as Phil. What happened the night of this tragic event and how did it affect the Hartman children?  Who Is Brynn Hartman?


1. Brynn was jealous of Phil Hartman’s ex-wives.

Phil Hartman’s second wife Lisa Strain wrote in her book that she was in  an altercation with Brynn after sending a congratulatory card to the new parents and was met with an angry letter from Brynn. Brynn sent Strain a 4-page letter that threatened to “rip my eyes out” among other things. According to Heavy, “When Hartman was informed of his wife’s letter to Strain, he took some of the blame for the event. In a conversation with Strain, he said that Brynn became upset after asking if Lisa was his soulmate.”

2. It is believed that drugs were a factor in the murder-suicide.

According to Heavy, “It was well-documented that Brynn had issues with drug addiction that dated back to the 1980s and her first appearance in Hollywood. The battle was something that plagued her until the murder/suicide.” After the incident, “The family actually sued the makers of anxiety drug Zoloft about side effects that could have diminished her decisions.”

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3. Comedian Andy Dick admitted to giving Brynn Hartman drugs.

Brynn’s battle with drug use lead to allegations that Andy Dick enabled her last relapse during her final days. “She was already in relapse mode, which I didn’t even know she had a problem [with] at all in the first place,” The comedian said. Adding to the speculation, he did admit to giving her cocaine at a Christmas party.

4. The couple’s children were home during the incident.

When police arrived on the scene of the murder, they found the couple’s then-9-year-old son, Sean, running out the front door of the home. As the police also helped their 6-year-old daughter, Birgen, get to a safe place, a shot was heard from inside.

5. Brynn Hartman’s sister raised their children.

According to Heavy, “After the double tragedy, family swept in — in the form of Brynn Hartman’s sister — and took Birgen and Sean under their wing.” According to Distractify, Bergin Anika Hartman and her brother Sean Hartman were “sent to live with their maternal aunt and her husband in the Midwest.” The children were raised with a different last name “to shield them from the media and allow them to grow up in relative obscurity.” 

6. Brynn wanted to be an actress.

Brynn Hartman was looking to push past her modeling career and trying to  pursue an acting career, albeit unsuccessfully, booking only small roles. According to Heavy, “When Hartman first came out to Hollywood, she was in search of a career in acting. Those dreams quickly shifted when she began getting modeling opportunities…Her last appearance on-screen would be on the NBC series Third Rock from the Sun.”

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Elizabeth Ward is a writing student finishing her bachelor’s at the University of Louisville. She covers news, entertainment, relationships and everything in between.