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Joan Rivers’s Relationship With Daughter ‘Shattered’ After Husband’s Sudden Suicide

‘We absolutely could not find our way back to each other for two years.’

Joan Rivers made a name for herself as one of the first and most successful female comedians in America. With her dry, harsh humor and loud, vibrant presence, she became a TV legend. But behind her gleaming smile was a dark past Rivers fought to keep secret.

In 1987, the star’s husband of 22 years, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide. Their daughter, Melissa Rivers, found him dead inside their home.

“Joan was a young mother and her husband killed himself. It’s unfathomable, and not only did this happen, it happened in the public eye,” says’s Rob Shuter in REELZ’s new docuseries, Joan Rivers: Behind Closed Doors.

Joan Rivers & Daughter’s Relationship Shattered After Husband’s Suicide


“Joan had the whole world watching her grieve. For anybody to have a partner kill themselves is enough. To have that happen and the world be watching is something that’s just unbearable,” he adds.

That tragedy rocked the Rivers family more than they ever expected, causing a strain between the comedian and her only child.

In an interview after their reunion, Rivers said: “With any major break in any family, whether it’s suicide or sudden death, or any kind of a terrible something, people just shatter, and we absolutely could not find our way back to each other for two years.”

Joan Rivers: Behind Closed Doors airs Wednesday, September 4th at 9 ET/ PT on REELZ.