LOS ANGELES - Ricki Lake has confirmed her ex-husband, Christian Evans, committed suicide amid a struggle with bipolar disorder.
The 48-year-old star announced last month her "soulmate" Christian Evans had passed away and she has now spoken of how she received a text message on 11 February while working in London from the jewellery designer's sister saying he had emailed a suicide note and knew immediately he had "gone".
She said: "I knew right then that he was gone. Everybody thought he was missing, but I knew.."
Christian was found dead two days later in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The tearful presenter said: "The struggle was just too much for him. He did the best he could.
"I have to spread the word about recognizing this disorder and getting treatment as soon as possible.
"Christian didn't want to be labeled as bipolar, but he admitted he was in the note he left. That was him finally owning it. That was him giving me permission to tell his story."
Though the couple had divorced in 2015, they were still in a relationship until late last year, and Ricki - who had sons Milo, 19, and Owen, 15, from her first marriage to Rob Sussman - admitted Christian's condition had led to their separation.
She said of the early days of their relationship, which began in 2010: "I felt like the luckiest girl that he chose me. He was the funniest person. He was so charismatic.
"He had a lot of self-esteem issues and a lot of demons. But I understood him, and he was someone that I think a lot of people misunderstood.
"We never fought, we never had an argument. He showed up for my kids. He was this quiet force that was just all about love and goodness and wanting to help people."
But in 2014, Ricki was horrified to see Christian in the grip of a manic episode.
She recalled: "I didn't know what the hell hit me, because I didn't know what it looked like, so I didn't see it coming.
"For me, someone who has lived with him for four years and seen how hard it was for him to get out of bed and be excited for things, I saw him starting to be happy. It presented initially as him being motivated.
"[At the height of it], he thought he could fly. He thought he could cure cancer with his hands.
"It was horrific. He just wasn't the person I had been with for four years."
Following the advice of a therapist to cut off contact until Christian stablised, Ricki went on to file for divorce a month later, in October 2014.
But he was later sectioned and then entered a treatment facility, and the pair resumed their relationship and eventually moved back in together after his release.
Ricki said: "He wasn't stable, and he was so fragile. But I was still in love with him, so there was something romantic about it. I wanted to save him."
But Christian's mania returned last September and he moved out again.
Ricki said: "I was upset, but I wasn't surprised. I knew he was having an episode, and there was nothing I could do."