Before meeting Simon Monjack, then, a writer and director, in 2006, Brittany Murphy endured multiple “situations that left her heartbroken,” Clueless director Amy Heckerling said, including a public breakup with her Just Married co-star Ashton Kutcher and two broken engagements. Speculated Heckerling, “She must have been searching for something.”
And as soon as Murphy met Monjack, their relationship became very serious and they were inseparable.
“She wanted to marry him and I said, ‘Honey, it’s not been long enough,'” pal Kathy Najimy recalled, revealing only her mother was supportive of the whirlwind romance. “I think Sharon was for the marriage…we were all scared and freaked out, like, who was this guy and what was happening?”
After the pair wed in a quiet 2007 ceremony, they became reclusive, according to those close to her, rarely leaving their home, here Murphy’s mother Sharon was also living.
“One day her numbers were changed, no one knew where to find her,” Murphy’s longtime friend Lisa Rieffel said. “Disappeared. Simon took her away. That was it. He made sure no one could get to her.”
According to Najimy, Monjack “was making all of her decisions, he was clearly getting her money. He was driving her to work, but waiting. And every time there was a break, she would leave and go be in the car with him. It got more and more restrictive.”
Sara Hammel, a journalist who worked for People magazine at the time, provided details of what she learned about the final months of Murphy’s life.
“Simon and Brittany were basically locked up in that house. They did these really weird photoshoots in the middle of the night where he would dress her like a doll,” Hammel said. “She became increasingly insecure about her appearance, increasingly paranoid about people being out to get her. Simon had the landlines disconnected, so the only way you could reach Sharon or Brittany was through Simon. Simon and Brittany would stay up late nights and take downers and then chug coffee and take uppers to come back up. They rarely left the house.”