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“What happened, Brittany Murphy?”  From HBO Max: 6 Things We Learned From The Documentary

There have been a lot of questions surrounding Brittany Murphy since her sudden death in 2009.

Murphy, who was 32 at the time of her death, died of pneumonia, anemia and multiple drug poisoning from prescription and over-the-counter drugs, according to the medical examiner’s report to the era. His death was deemed accidental.

Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, died four months after Murphy’s death from similar causes.

“What happened, Brittany Murphy?” from HBO Max? explored the relationship between Murphy and Monjack, the conspiracy theories behind his death and the deterioration of his health.

Murphy’s downward spiral apparently began when she met Monjack. The Hollywood star, who had appeared in films such as “Clueless”, “8 Mile” and “Uptown Girls”, was on the way to becoming something big.

Here are six things we learned from the HBO Max documentary, “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?”


HBO’s “What Happened, Brittany Murpy?” Max explored the Hollywood star’s relationship with her husband Simon Monjack as well as her deteriorating health and death.
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic)

Murphy’s allegedly “restrictive” relationship with Simon Monjack

Murphy and Monjack began dating in 2006. The two had a short courtship before they tied the knot in a secret ceremony in 2007.

Close friends of Murphy were alarmed at how quickly the relationship evolved, and some even called it “restrictive.”

“One day her numbers changed, no one knew where to find her,” Murphy’s longtime friend Lisa Rieffel said during the documentary. “Has disappeared. Simon took her. That’s all. He made sure no one could reach him.”

“Simon and Brittany were basically locked in this house,” reporter Sarah Hammel said during the documentary.

“They did these really weird photoshoots in the middle of the night where he dressed her like a doll,” Hammel said. “She became more and more insecure about her appearance, more and more paranoid that people were there to look for her. Simon had disconnected the landlines, so the only way to reach her. [Brittany’s mother] Sharon or Brittany was by Simon. Simon and Brittany would stay up late at night and take downers, then drink coffee and take uppers to go up. They rarely left the house. “

Not only did Monjack seemingly cut Murphy off from his close friends, but he also controlled all aspects of his career by becoming his agent, manager, lawyer, and ultimately his makeup artist.

“He was driving her to work, but while waiting,” former co-star Kathy Najimy revealed during the documentary. “And every time there was a break, she would leave and be in the car with him. It was more and more restrictive.”

“What happened, Brittany Murphy?”  From HBO Max: 6 Things We Learned From The Documentary

Simon Monjack and Brittany Murphy pose together. The two met in 2006 before getting married in 2007. Murphy died in 2009 and Monjack died four months after her from similar causes.
(Photo by Michael Bezjian / WireImage via Getty Images)

Monjack’s dynamic with the actress’ mother

Monjack and Murphy’s mother, Sharon, appeared to have a strange relationship in the months following the actress’ sudden death. Throughout Murphy and Monjack’s relationship, Sharon lived with the couple and continued to live in the house after the death of the “Clueless” actress.

The doc also said that, according to a Radar Online reporter at the time, the two shared a bed after Murphy’s death. Monjack and Sharon also reportedly posed for a photoshoot where they held hands. The end result looked like “grieving parents as opposed to a husband and stepmother,” an insider said during the documentary.

Monjack denied that anything happened in between.

“We’re close friends, and we’re family,” he told People magazine in 2010. “It’s a horrible and ridiculous thing to say.”


“What happened, Brittany Murphy?”  From HBO Max: 6 Things We Learned From The Documentary

Brittany Murphy and mom Sharon Murphy.
(Photo by Rebecca Sapp / WireImage via Getty Images)

Murphy would have feared to “die”

Monjack appeared to admit in a joint interview with Larry King featuring Murphy’s mother that Murphy was aware of a health issue and believed she was dying on the morning of her death.

“That morning she woke up. She couldn’t breathe,” Monjack told King in an excerpt from the interview, which is shown in the documentary. “She went out for some fresh air. Sharon followed her. I’m going to say it because I know you can’t. She said, ‘Mom, I’m dying. I love you.’ “

“Did she know she was dying?” The king replied.

Monjack’s mother, Linda Monjack, also recalled a moment when Murphy revealed to her that she was having trouble catching her breath as she walked up the stairs.

“‘I’m having trouble breathing … (When) I get to the top of the stairs. I can’t breathe,'” Murphy’s Linda recalled telling her just before the actress died. “She said, ‘Do you think I’m dying?’ I said, ‘No, of course you’re not dying. You’re fine, but you have to go to the doctor. ‘”

Addressing cause of death conspiracy theories

Murphy’s autopsy report indicated that the cause of his death was pneumonia, anemia and multiple drug poisoning from prescription and over-the-counter drugs. However, the real cause of his death has been debated by the public, his friends and his father since his death.

Drug overdose: There have been many rumors that the actress has died of a drug overdose since she was so young and because the toxicology report mentioned “multiple drug poisoning”. However, Dr. Lisa Scheinin, who performed Murphy’s autopsy, never found any illegal drugs in Murphy’s system. She also ruled that the prescribed drugs found in Murphy’s system were not the leading cause of death.

Poisoning: Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, believed Murphy had been poisoned. He hired a private lab to perform tests on Murphy’s body. The lab found large amounts of 10 metals in the Murphy’s system. However, a medical examiner explained that the metals were not found in Murphy’s blood and concluded that she had not been poisoned.

Black mold: Reports that exposure to black mold played a role in Murphy’s death surfaced in the media, but the coroner confirmed there was no black mold in the household.


The coroner’s conclusions

The Los Angeles County coroner claimed he found 90 vials of prescription drugs on Monjack’s nightstand the night Murphy’s death.

The coroner added that the drug had been prescribed under different names, including “Lola Manilow”, a possible pseudonym of Murphy. The coroner also issued search warrants which led him to discover that the orders came from several doctors.

Relatives were worried

In the document, Najimy said at one point that she expressed concern over Murphy’s “diminishing” appearance. “She said, ‘That’s what I was told, if I want to be seen as a prominent woman, I had to lose a lot of weight,'” Najimy recalls, telling her as Murphy.

Makeup artist Trista Jordan, who worked with Murphy on her latest film – “Something Wicked” from 2009 – also showed up for the special. She claimed that Murphy’s appearance during her final months was shocking.

“Her eyes were so sunken, and she looked so sad,” Jordan told the outlet.

The last time Najimy saw Murphy, she specifically remembered Murphy showing up late to an event with Monjack where she had “watery eyes.” “I just don’t recognize her anymore,” she said during the documentary.