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Trouble? Why were Robin Williams and his wife Susan Schneider sleeping in separate beds?

Susan Schneider
What really went on between Robin Williams and Susan Schneider?

Since the discovery of  Robin Williams body questions have been asked as to why the actor and his wife, Susan Schneider had taken to sleeping in separate beds and whether that intimated any degree of discord between husband and wife? Discord which may have exacerbated the depression that the actor had come to increasingly be feeling in recent months…

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The questions have come after Lieutenant Keith Boyd, from Marin County Sheriff’s Office would tell that his department had concluded that Robin Williams had spent his final hours in a separate bedroom from his wife. It would be a further 12 hours before the actor’s body which by then had already had set in rigor mortis would come to be found by the Robin Williams personal assistant Rebecca Erwin Spencer  late the following morning.

Officials would tell the actor had last been seen alive by his wife Susan Schneider at around 10.30pm on Sunday, when she went to her room. They would tell that they believed the couple had been the only people in the house at the time/

A police report would tell that Schneider left the family mansion in Tiburon, north of San Francisco, at around 10.30am on Monday, thinking her husband was still asleep.

It wouldn’t be until 11.45am that the actor would come to be found by Spencer after he failing to respond to knocks on his door.

Schneider would only come to learn of her husband’s death only after emergency services, called by Williams’ assistant, pronounced the 63-year-old dead at 12.02pm.

Told the wife via a statement at the time: ‘I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.

‘I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.’

Revealing the results of a preliminary investigation, assistant chief deputy coroner Lieutenant Keith Boyd, from Marin County Sheriff’s Office, said the actor appeared to have died from asphyxia due to hanging.

Offered Lieutenant Keith Boyd after determining that the actor had died of asphyxiation: ‘It is unknown when Mr Williams retired for the evening in a bedroom at his home.’

Boyd would also add that initial tests showed the Robin Williams had been dead for at least 12 hours, also pointing out that the actor’s body appeared not to have been moved after death and there were no signs of a struggle.

Asked whether Williams and his wife were sleeping in separate bedrooms, Boyd said: ‘We’re not going into that part of the investigation. What I will say is that she retired to bed. Mr Williams’ wife retired prior to Mr Williams into a room in the home. It is not known at this time exactly when Mr Williams retired for the evening, but he went to a different room of the home.’

Susan Schneider

What remains of intrigue is why Robin Williams wife had not come to check in on her husband, which may be customary if one assumes that she had become acclimated to the actor’s schedule and the notion that the actor preferred his solitude. A state of affairs that may have increasingly become the normal course of affairs as the actor increasingly sank into despair and depression.

That said one is also inclined to wonder if the actor had retired to another room in the house that evening was simply a one off occurrence or by now the usual pattern of behavior between husband and wife, and if so was that indicative of any possible tension between the married couple and had that tension exacerbated the actor’s sense of forlorn hopelessness which led to him taking his life?

The actor’s two ex-wives have yet to speak about his death. His first marriage, to Valerie Velardi, collapsed in 1988 after he had an affair with cocktail waitress Michelle Tish Carter. Carter sued him in 1986, claiming he did not tell her he was infected with the herpes virus, which he transmitted to her. The case was settled out of court.

In 1989, Williams married his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces, who was already pregnant. They split in March 2008. Williams was open about the effect his alcohol addiction had on his family relationships, and blamed his drinking for the break-up of his 19-year second marriage.

‘You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from,’ told the actor at the time.

That attitude may have led to the actor wishing to spare his current wife the degree of what he may have considered untoward and shameful behavior by insisting on separate sleeping quarters.

A state of affairs that by now may have been an ongoing matter which augers the question, was Susan Schneider necessarily aware of the disarray in the actor’s life and to what degree that disillusion may have manifested itself? Which is to wonder out loud had she been a party to the actor’s possible drinking bouts and had the actor constructed the idea of separate bedrooms so as to allow himself the room in which to continue his ‘shameful behavior’ unhindered?

Explaining his addiction to alcohol, Robin Williams once said: ‘It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t… It’s just a general all-round arggghhh! It’s fearfulness and anxiety.’

Although the actor continued to struggle with depression and last month checked into Minnesota‘s Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center for help, and the fact that he spoke candidly about his drink and drugs problems in interviews, longtime friends said he always concealed his inner self. A part of himself that the actor may have also been loathe to share with his third wife, Susan Schneider….?

Susan Schneider



  1. What’s the big deal? It’s sleep. Both may rest better. Good grief, folks need to get over themselves. You may be surprised how many couples still copulate but then retire to separate beds or bedrooms. Not a mystery. Really, clingy clings!

  2. I just LOVE all of the Monday morning quarterbacks posting here. We don’t know one blessed thing about their relationship, so the idea that he “left a gruesome scene for her to find” or ” A grieving loving wife would be stunned and speechless normally in most people’s view and not want to say a word at least for a few days” is utter garbage. Who are any of you to tell his wife how she SHOULD have reacted or what she should have done? You people are vultures.

  3. It is very depressing for married couple to sleep in separate beds. I totally hate it and feel very depressed when my spouse sleeps in a different room occasionally.

  4. If they had some kind of argument the night before she may have just been giving him the cold shoulder. He is one hundred percent responsible for his own actions. Thats why he needed outside help maybe a AA sponser

  5. EXACTLY..she does NOT seem to care,by not even checking in on him in his condition speaks volumes…i sure hope he had a pre nup and she gets zero…

  6. Something’s off here. It’s one thing to sleep in separate rooms (maybe snored?), but for her not to look in on him and say goodbye before leaving the house? Also, Robin left a gruesome scene for her to find, a very cruel act, figuring that she’d be the one to see him first. People don’t do that to each other if all is well with their relationship. He was trying to hurt her for some reason. My guess is the marriage was falling apart, and along with his depression, bills (I read that his property taxes alone were over $1 million), the deaths of family and friends the past few years (Christopher Reeves, his mom, his brother), the cancellation of his TV show, and the recent Parkinson’s diagnosis, a third failed marriage was the final straw.
    I am so sorry that he’s gone, and it breaks my heart that such a caring and funny man had to go through so much sorrow throughout his life – particularly at the end. He gave the world so many good times and laughs. I live in the SF Bay Area and, although I have never met him, he has always felt like one of our own. I hope he’s at peace now.

  7. This doesn’t smell right. I think there is a lot of story behind these two. I won’t imply anything, but it sure does not make any sense that his own wife would just walk out without even saying goodbye or looking in on him unless there was trouble between them. I have not seen her making those statements only read them. They do not read as if she was broken up and came out very quickly. A grieving loving wife would be stunned and speechless normally in most people’s view and not want to say a word at least for a few days. She made that pronounced statement nearly immediately. I can only hope for her sake that she is sincere and wrote it out and never showed her face full of tears that must be so much more deeper than the ones we all are shedding who did not know him personally, but felt we did and loved him so much as a stranger who felt like family. I hope the whole story comes out. The comment the publicist made that it no one will ever know and it’s depression and that’s it is also very fishy. He had too much feeling and too much to live for with so many true friends and his children. I just honestly do not feel good about this wife’s reaction. It’s tragic the whole thing, but I just can’t see him hanging himself and cutting a few marks on his arm by a belt on a closet. 12 hours or more and rigor mortis had set in before anyone found him. Too weird. I pray the detectives do a total and non-bias investigation for the sake of Robin and everyone, including his presumed grieving and loving wife Susan as well.

  8. I am not sure where the anger is coming from but why didn’t she even check on him or say good bye before she left?

  9. Actually for some it might be normal to sleep in separate rooms but if he was known for depression and recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, why wouldn’t she even bother to look in on him or say goodbye before she left. It makes a person wonder what their relationship was really like and suggests maybe they were having trouble.

  10. Dear Chris,
    Sometimes I sleep in a separate room from my wife because one of us wants to watch TV, or sleep late, or has a cold.
    So, with all due respect to your column’s questions, please

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