Debt, divorce added to Robert Kennedy Jr wife’s woes

Robert Francis Kennedy Jr’s estranged wife Mary Richardson hanged herself in a barn on her Westchester estate.

Updated: May 19, 2012, 13:45 PM IST

New York: Robert Francis Kennedy Jr’s estranged wife Mary Richardson was deep in credit-card debt and in the middle of a divorce when she hanged herself in a barn on her Westchester estate, friends and documents revealed on Friday.

Kennedy Jr had slapped the mother of his four children with several restraining orders, trying to get full custody of the kids all while he publicly went around with his actress girlfriend, Cheryl Hines.

“He was kicking her while she’s down, all alone in this house that she built,” the New York Post quoted a source as saying.

“In the end, everything was just too much,” the source said.

And debt collectors added to her misery.

American Express filed a civil suit against the architect in Westchester on April 16, a surprising revelation for someone whose husband has access to the Kennedy trust fund.

A desperate Mary feared she’d lose everything - her kids, her financial independence and the sprawling estate that she had appointed like a presidential museum.

“He was going for full custody of the kids, which broke her heart. She also had been part of the Kennedy family for 30 years. And now she was being cast aside by them,” a second family friend said.

The 52-year-old fell deep into despair abusing alcohol and prescription drugs threatening suicide so often that the family staged an intervention, another friend revealed.

She even tried AA meetings, but often relapsed, friends and family said.

“There were times when she had to be taken to the hospital when she would be acting irrationally and threatening to hurt herself,” a source said.

Sister-in-law Kerry Kennedy said Mary, a lifelong friend, though, had been sober for five months, but was still battling depression.

“She fought with every ounce of her mission to overcome that horrible disease,” Kerry Kennedy told The New York Times.

“It was not something that she asked for; it was something that she was dealt,” she said.

Despite the claims of Mary’s friends, Kennedy Jr had only kind words for his tormented, estranged wife.

“A lot of times I don’t know how she made it through the day. She was in a lot of agony for a lot of her life. I don’t think anyone who was around her didn’t do everything that they could to help her,” he told the publication.

Calling Mary “extraordinary”, he said, “She was a good person who did not deserve the kind of pain she had to live with.”

Kennedy said that, contrary to reports, his wife did not leave a suicide note.

Court records show that Kennedy had relentlessly built a case against Mary in their custody battle.