More than a month after the still-mysterious death of his wife, actress Brittany Murphy, Simon Monjack has broken his silence in a big way, including threatening a wrongful-death lawsuit against Warner Bros.
In an emotional interview conducted by the Daily Beast’s Gerald Posner, Monjack takes on popular tabloid descriptions of himself as a boozing sponge, defends Murphy as a drug-free innocent in the shark tank of Hollywood – while waving a possible legal action.
The threat comes even as the final coroner’s report on Murphy’s death remains unpublished. Monjack claims that Warners’ cutting Murphy from voice work in its sequel to the animation film “Happy Feet” devastated his wife.
“They killed her,” Monjack bluntly tells Posner. The widower claims that Warners had seized on rumors about a Svengali-like Monjack misbehaving on the Puerto Rican set of the non-Warners “The Caller,” from which Murphy was fired. (Read TheWrap's exclusive on Murphy's odd behavior during film production.)
Warner Bros issued this statement early Wednesday evening:
"Any claim that Warner Bros. Pictures was somehow responsible for Brittany Murphy’s tragic death is demonstrably false, reprehensible and defamatory. Despite press reports to the contrary, Warner Bros. Pictures and Ms. Murphy never entered into any deal for 'Happy Feet 2,' and thus, there was not a contract to cancel."
A spokesman for Monjack said Monjack would not respond to questions.
The interview reveals a Monjack wildly swinging between grief, self-pity and contempt for Hollywood.
“Every story needs a villain, and everyone has decided it is me,” Monjack laments about “The Caller” incident, although it’s a sentiment that veins throughout his version of the canards allegedly hurled against him by bloggers and entertainment writers.
He also makes a very strong point of explaining that not only did he not live off Murphy’s money and celebrity, but that he paid for many of her expenses.
“I spent over a million on her engagement rings,” Monjack says, quantifying his side of the story. “And probably $3 million on clothes.”
The Daily Beast piece is accompanied by a gallery of photographs of Murphy lovingly taken by Mojack. The poses evoke Murphy as everything from a Pre-Raphaelite waif to a man-killing vamp to a female Hannibal Lecter.