Inside Kate and Andy Spade's 24-Year Marriage: They Had 'Some Very Difficult Periods' (Exclusive)

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Kate and Andy Spade's marriage had some rough spots over the years, a source tells ET. 

Kate was found dead in her Manhattan apartment of apparent suicide on Tuesday, and there was a note left, the NYPD confirmed to ET. CBS News reports that she left a suicide note addressed to their 13-year-old daughter, Frances, telling her it was not her fault.

The iconic designer was 55 years old.

On Wednesday, a source told ET that the couple had a rocky relationship. 

"Her marriage wasn't easy," the source claims. "Some friends feared their marriage wouldn't last, but it did. Kate was determined to make her marriage work. She wanted to be as successful in her personal life as she was in business, and sadly, she put a lot of pressure on herself."

However, according to the source, raising their daughter definitely united Kate and Andy.

"She and her husband went through some very difficult periods of conflict during their 24 years of marriage, and having Frances was one of her most proud accomplishments," the source says. "Frances certainly contributed to the longevity of their marriage and she was a perfect reason to work as a team after they sold their company."

On Wednesday, Andy broke his silence about Kate's death and said the two were living separately for 10 months -- but stressed that they had no plans to divorce -- in a statement to The New York Times.

"For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other," Andy's statement read in part. "[Daughter] Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break."

Kate and Andy met when they were working at the same clothing store in Arizona -- where Kate attended college -- and continued to date while she worked at Madmoiselle magazine in NYC after graduation. The two married in 1994, though they started their label, "kate spade handbags," a year before, in January 1993. The incredibly successful line eventually spread to encompass everything from clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationary, to eyewear and more.

In a February 2017 interview with National Public Radio, Kate talked about having Andy's support when she was going to trade shows in the tough early days of starting the line.

"Well, I remember crying because when I came home, we hadn't even sold enough to cover the cost of the booth," she recalled. "And I started crying. And Andy said, 'Well, who did you get?' And I said, 'Well, we got Barney's.' And he said, 'OK.' And I said, 'Fred Segal in Los Angeles,' and he was like, 'Right?' And then he goes, 'Katie, you've got two of the best stores in America, why are you crying?'"

"I said, 'I think we should shut it down,'" she continued. "I'm very conservative. And I said, 'I have no interest in losing money.' You know, we've already spent $4,000. That's it for me. I'm not a gambler. So that's where Andy was like, 'No, keep going.'"

In a November 2016 interview with The Cut, Kate also said the family had dinner together every night, and again noted Andy's support when it came to the label she started in 2016 -- Frances Valentine, which she named after their daughter -- after the couple sold all of their Kate Spade New York shares in 2006.

"Being a mother adds an enormous amount of stress to your life," she said. "You need to make sure you’re there for everything. We don’t have other people to do it for us -- I want to make sure I’m there. When you’re trying to be a parent and a businessperson at the same time, that is the most stressful thing you could do. I can luckily bolt out when I need to. I can’t when it’s really important, obviously, but Andy will fill in."

On Wednesday, Kate's niece, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actress Rachel Brosnahan, shared a video on Instagram of Kate joyfully dancing with Andy to a mariachi band.

“Knowing Katy, this is how she would want to be remembered," Brosnahan wrote. "She had a light that words can’t capture but touched everyone she came into contact with. She was exceedingly kind, beautifully sensitive, insanely talented, funny as heck and one of the most generous people I have ever known. She was effervescent. Hug your loved ones extra tight today.”

Our source says that Kate suffered from depression for years, but "tried desperately to hide" her struggle. The source notes that Kate's loved ones' main concern is now for the well-being of Frances.

"Right now we are all looking for answers and are so worried for her young daughter," the source says. "Kate loved her daughter so much, but clearly couldn't endure the pain any longer." 

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

-- Reporting by Adriane Schwartz

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