Brittany Murphy’s December 20, 2009 death continues to mystify — and her husband’s questionable behavior at the time certainly isn’t helping clear anything up.
In the new HBO Max documentary What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, former Radar Online reporter Amber Ryland looked back at an encounter she had with the late star’s husband Simon Monjack days after Murphy died of community-acquired pneumonia, iron-deficiency anemia, and multiple drug intoxication.
Ryland explained that she had been covering the news of the actress’ sudden death at the time, recalling in a sneak peek of the film:
“The amount of reporters and paparazzi sort of dwindled off and we stayed. We were told to stay, spent the night in my car. It was almost 24/7.”
On Christmas Day, the journalist received a call from her boss, who told her to buy a bouquet of flowers and bring them to Murphy’s house. When she rang the doorbell, Monjack answered. She remembered:
“I said, ‘Merry Christmas. I’m just so sorry about Brittany.’ I said, ‘My card’s there if you want to talk but no pressure.’”
Ryland left the house, but said she was “shocked” to receive a call from Monjack less than an hour later.
“I said, ‘Hi.’ And he said, ‘This is Amber, right?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Thank you. I got your flowers.’ And he was kind of silent for a minute and he said, ‘You know you’re the only one I’ve called.’ And I said, ‘Oh.’ [He said,] ‘You’re the only one that I want to talk to.’ I had access to him now.”
As you likely know, Murphy died in December at just 32 years old; she was laid to rest on Christmas Eve of that year. Monjack died in May 2010 at the age of 40. Months later, the Los Angeles County coroner listed his cause of death as community-acquired acute bronchopneumonia and cardiomegaly with focal myocardial fibrosis as other significant conditions.
The two-part doc features interviews with Murphy’s family and, interestingly, Monjack’s ex Elizabeth Ragsdale, who claimed the producer lied to her about who he was. According to Ragsdale, she became pregnant shortly after she and Monjack got engaged, relatively early in their relationship. The screenwriter apparently insisted she give birth in the US, so he bought her a plane ticket to New York and told her he would meet her there — only, Monjack didn’t come with her. She recalled in the doc:
“When I got to my little studio in New York, I called him and he answered. I said, ‘Simon, I’ve made it to …’ and before I could get that sentence out, he hung up on me. He left me pregnant and abandoned.”
What Happened, Brittany Murphy? is available to stream on HBO Max starting October 14. Will U be watching?
[Image via MEGA/WENN]