'I’ve been sick about it': Robert Flaxman's ex wife shocked as disgraced real estate mogul kills himself

'I’ve been sick about it': Robert Flaxman's ex wife shocked as disgraced real estate mogul kills himself
Robert Flaxman's suicide shocked his friends and family (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for LAAA)

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

MALIBU, CALIFORNIA: Wealthy real estate mogul, Robert Flaxman was found dead in his $16 million Malibu mansion last week. The 66-year-old had served a month in prison over the massive college admissions scandal in 2019.

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Flaxman's death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, as per an October 26 article by The Real Deal, the news outlet that first reported his death. The news came as a shock to those close to him . An email from Flaxman's lawyer, Bill Weinreb read, "I can tell you that I was shocked and saddened by the news, which came as a complete surprise," reported The Daily Beast. Weinreb had represented Flaxman in the Varsity Blues college admissions case.

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Robert Flaxman (L) and artist Kadir Lopez attend Kadir Lopez's Art Show on August 12, 2016 in West Hollywood, California.
Robert Flaxman (L) and artist Kadir Lopez attend Kadir Lopez's Art Show on August 12, 2016 in West Hollywood, California (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for LAAA)

For Flaxman's first wife, Laurie Henderson, the news and manner of his death came as a shock. She told the source, "When you think about it, nobody knows what people’s demons are. People do things for a reason [and] they don’t even know what the reason is," before adding, "I don’t know why he [died by] suicide. I’ve been sick about it all day." Speaking about their college days, she revealed he was a "great guy" who graduated at the top of his class from chiropractic school. He seemed to have the Midas touch, as he "probably could have touched anything and turned it into gold." Adding to this, Henderson, 64, recalled Flaxman's knack for business at a young age, when, as a student, he would earn an extra $8,000 a week back in the day by selling water softeners as a side hustle.

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The couple married young when Henderson was just 21. When they started their relationship, Flaxman had also been managing a mall, and soon became involved in his "passion" of real estate." Years after their divorce, Henderson acknowledged that the real estate developer had, in her words, "got into the cocktails a little too much, the drugs," adding that "he kind of started liking that quite a bit. I think the money, combined with all that—there’s just no boundaries." She continued, "He might have partied, but he did that because he could afford to do that. But people that mattered to him, mattered to him. He truly cared about people." 

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The Beverly Hills real estate developer found himself staring scandal in the face when he, along with other celebrities like Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman were charged in the admissions scandal. Flaxman had allegedly bribed test authorities to inflate his daughter's ACT scores. He later pled guilty, served one month in jail, and paid a fine of $50,000. He was also ordered to serve 250 hours of community service. Attorneys for Flaxman's lawyers at the time said his crime was an act of desperation by a father. His lawyers said he wanted his troubled daughter to remain in recovery and was willing to pay $75,000 to get her into a safe environment inside a college. Flaxman reportedly also cried in court, apologizing to students “that work hard and don’t cheat no matter what.”

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Speaking to the outlet, his ex-wife suggested that such the admissions scandal may have added to his unhappiness. "Every family has troubles. But when you’re out there in the news, your troubles are going to be bigger than everybody else’s. And he didn’t really have a way to hide them anymore," she said. Flaxman’s second wife and current partner has not made any public statements about his death, yet.

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