Brittany Murphy’s death returns to the spotlight via HBO’s explosive documentary, What Happened, Brittany Murphy? The piece reveals that Brittany had little control over her life as her husband, Simon Monjack, made Brittany’s decisions. He also contributed to Brittany’s crippling weight loss and possible drug abuse. 

Sharon Murphy, Brittany’s mother, called 911 after finding her daughter on the bathroom floor. Doctors declared Brittany dead at the hospital. The coroner found that acute pneumonia, anemia, and drug intoxication caused the actress’ death. However, her fans have long claimed that Sharon played a role in her daughter’s death. 

The claims have intensified following the release of HBO’s documentary. Let’s look at Sharon Murphy now. 

Sharon adopted a private life after selling her daughter’s mansion

The shock surrounding Brittany’s death had scarcely settled when her kin started squabbling over her estate. Brittany disinherited her husband via her will, leaving her entire estate to Sharon. “I am married to Simon Monjack who I have intentionally left out of this will,” Brittany wrote.

However, Monjack maintained such control over Brittany’s finances that he withdrew nearly 80% of Brittany’s money despite his exclusion by Brittany. Per People, Murphy’s former manager, Jeffrey Morgenroth, revealed:

“There were huge amounts of money in [Brittany’s] pension plan and bank account, and all of that’s gone. I would see it on the statements. There was money being withdrawn by Simon, hundreds of thousands.”

Jeffrey also described Simon’s vice grip on Brittany and her finances. He talked of one incident where Simon allegedly denied her access to Brittany when he needed her to sign a tax form:

“Simon took [the form] from me. The excuse was her hair was messed up. 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.”

Monjack’s mother, Linda, also claimed a share of Brittany’s property. Jeannette Bycott, Jeffrey’s assistant, told People that Linda ordered Sharon Murphy to leave Brittany’s Hollywood Hills home after Monjack’s death. 

Simon passed away in May 2010, in circumstances eerily similar to the ones surrounding Brittany’s death. Per Jeffrey, Sharon couldn’t understand how Simon withdrew such large amounts from Brittany’s accounts. “She was looking at the pension statement and I said, ‘Look, There are almost no zeros there,’” Morgenroth said. 

Sharon tried to raise money by selling jewelry bought by Simon for Brittany, only to find that all of it was fake and worthless. She had no choice but to sell Brittany’s mansion, which went for $2.7 million in 2011. 

Brittany’s mother adopted a secretive life after the sale, having endured the deaths of Brittany and her husband. 

Sharon and Simon Monjack were allegedly having an intimate relationship

Sharon Murphy and Simon Monjack
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Reports that Sharon Murphy and Simon Monjack became intimate shortly after Brittany’s death complicated an already complex situation. 

Brittany, Monjack, and Sharon lived in the actress’ Hollywood mansion before her death. After her passing, Simon and Sharon continued living in the estate, which isn’t weird. What is strange is the allegation that the grieving pair shared a bed. 

In a photoshoot after Brittany’s death, Monjack and Sharon looked more like a grieving couple than a mother and son-in-law. The pair’s peculiar interview with Larry King followed. 

Sharon appeared to contradict her initial account of Brittany’s death, stating that she’d spoken to Brittany an hour before she called 911. “No, no, no, baby, this was – you’ve forgotten time,” Monjack interjected. We haven’t heard many men refer to their mothers-in-law as baby. 

Simon then told Larry King that he refused to have an autopsy performed on Brittany’s body because of her ‘pristine body.’ “Curvy in all the right places, with skin like silk… How could I say ‘cut it up’ in front of her mother?”

“That’s disgusting,” Sharon responded to rumors pointing to a romance between her and Monjack. “We’re close friends and we’re family. It’s an awful and ridiculous thing to say.”

Monjack’s mother, Linda, approved of Sharon and Simon’s close relationship, claiming that it helped him cope with Brittany’s demise. “Some days he wants to kill himself and other days, he seems to be coping better,” Linda told People. “I think they are really clinging to each other for support.”

In March 2010, Monjack talked to E! News about his intention to move to New York. Sharon would also move to New York but wouldn’t share a residence with Monjack. He explained:

“Sharon said that she always loved New York and LA is just too painful for her; so would I mind if she moved too? Of course I don’t. But I should point out we will be maintaining separate residences.”

A week before his death, Monjack told People that he planned to embark on a new project in Europe with Sharon. “Of course I’ll take her with me – I can’t leave her,” he said. 

On 23rd May 2010, Sharon found Simon dead in Brittany’s LA residence. Like with Brittany, she called 911 and the coroner blamed acute pneumonia and severe anemia as his cause of death. 

Sharon refuted her husband’s claim that Sharon died due to foul play

Sharon Murphy and Angelo Bertolotti welcomed Brittany in November 1977. Angelo left when Brittany was 2, forcing Sharon to raise her alone. 

Sharon deterred Brittany from establishing contact with Angelo, probably because of his criminal connections. Angelo was a mobster who spent several years in prison for racketeering, organized crime, and counterfeit scamming. 

In 2012, Angelo alleged that Brittany’s death involved foul play and urged authorities to review her case. “I’m not going to rest until my daughter’s untimely demise is properly investigated, which hasn’t happened so far,” Angelo said

Bertolotti’s allegations forced Sharon out of hiding as she wrote a letter to The Hollywood Reporter refuting her ex-husband’s claims. She referred to Angelo’s evidence as ‘flimsy’ and ‘more of an insult as an insight into what really happened.’

Sharon castigated Angelo for being absent, occasionally showing up to profit from Brittany’s success. “He was never, ever around,” Sharon wrote. Murphy stated that experts had dismissed the hair test that formed the basis of Angelo’s claims. She wrote:

“This report conveniently ignores what any good scientist will tell you: A hair sample can be affected by many outside factors, including hair spray, prescription medications, foods, smoking the occasional cigarette and environmental factors.”

Murphy stated that she isn’t sure what killed Brittany but felt confident that the coroner did all they could to establish the cause of death. She added:

“We will never know for sure. However, we do know the Los Angeles County Coroner did extensive tests and found that she died of natural causes. And now she is a real living angel in heaven.”