Brittany Murphy's Husband May Have Spent Most of Her Money
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans Posted Jul 28th 2010 02:00PM
Seven months after her untimely death, sordid details of Brittany Murphy's troubled life and marriage continue to emerge. Her former business manager, Los Angeles-based accountant Jeffrey Morgenroth, tells PEOPLE that her husband Simon Monjack was squandering the late movie star's fortune just before his own sudden death in May from pneumonia and anemia, which also killed Murphy.
"There were huge amounts of money in [Brittany's] pension plan and bank account, and all of that's gone," Morgenroth tells the magazine. "I would see it on the statements. There was money being withdrawn by Simon, hundreds of thousands."
Morgenroth says Monjack had spent nearly 80 percent of the 32-year-old star's assets in the months between her death and his, rattling the financial future of Murphy's mom, according to PEOPLE.
Brittany and Simon
Flowers grow outside the home once shared by Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack. The screenwriter was found dead May 24 near the same room his wife collapsed in December. More Images >>
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"She was looking at the pension statement and I said, 'Look. There are almost no zeros there,'" Morgenroth said of Sharon Murphy. "She needs guidance on how to deal with things."
Morgenroth didn't immediately respond to PopEater's requests for comment.
High-profile women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who isn't involved in the Murphys' financial dealings, said it's best for the rich and famous to leave money matters to the professionals to avoid being taken advantage of.
"It's important for women celebrities and women in general to handle their own money and their own business affairs," Allred told PopEater. "Mixing love and money can cause problems, and there are danger signs if a celebrity is isolated from family and friends."
Murphy died after collapsing in her bathroom on Dec. 20. Five months later, her British film producer husband was found dead in the couple's home at the age of 40.
Autopsies confirmed the causes of death for both were pneumonia and anemia, with multiple drug intoxication also blamed in Murphy's case. The coroner said she had over-the-counter cold medicines and the pain killer Vicodin in her system.
Reports that household "black mold" may have been a culprit in the couple's deaths have been disputed by Murphy's mother and the Los Angeles Department of Health.
Since the pair's controversial marriage in 2007, rumors have swirled about Monjack's controlling behavior over Murphy, his shady financial dealings and their alleged drug abuse.
Morgenroth says Monjack took his wife's cell phone away and wouldn't let her see him when he came to the door to ask her to sign tax forms, according to PEOPLE.
"The excuse was her hair was messed up," he said. "I was at the front door and Brittany [called down] and said, 'Hi Jeff, sorry I couldn't see you, bye.' It sounded fishy and weird."
Murphy was reportedly fired from the last film she made, 'The Caller,' because she refused to send away a drunk and combative Monjack when he appeared on the set unannounced and disrupted filming.
Monjack also was implicated in a credit card fraud case, charges that were brought in Virginia and ultimately dropped. He spent just over a week in jail in early 2007 for letting his work visa lapse. In 2006, a $500,000 judgment against him was handed down in a lawsuit brought by a financial investment company in England.
His mother Linda Monjack denies that he blew through his dead wife's savings.
"He didn't get much, maybe a few hundred dollars, and he paid off his debts with it," she tells PEOPLE. "He was spending his time crying his eyes out most of the time. He was in a terrible state."
While Monjack's behavior after his wife's death has come under increased scrutiny, it seems his mom is also not immune. Jeannette Bycott, an assistant to Morgenroth, tells PEOPLE that she saw Linda Monjack order Murphy's mother out of their house in a bizarre scene.
"Linda started acting like everything belongs to her," says Bycott. "Before Sharon could say anything, Linda stated the house was now hers."
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