Some background: C. was a smart, beautiful woman with a lovely smile, piercing blue eyes, golden blonde hair, and an unfortunate tendency toward fits of depression (she went near catatonic with depression one night, then snapped out of it). She lived in a wealthy suburb, a dentist's daughter, and commuted to campus. We met in freshman calculus the first day (asked her coming out of class to get a cup of coffee, which just seemed so grown up, you know, and after all we were in college now. Neither of us actually drank coffee.)
We had a contentious affair with lots of ups and downs. (There's a story there about Halloween night ... she was dressed as a ship's captain and she was with a guy dressed as Sylvester, you know, the cartoon cat. So I got into a fight with Sylvester the Cartoon Cat in front of Paul's Tavern on South Orange Avenue for reasons I no longer quite recall.) C. and I split up in November when I decided to return to my high school girlfriend, K. This occurred after, of course, C. had disposed of Sylvester.
A little while later, K. ran into C. on campus (C. returning the confrontation), knowing by now all about the affair. K. grimly noted that C. was much prettier than herself and complimented me "on my taste." I knew there would be hell to pay for that. And there was. Lots.
But anyway, a few weeks earlier, while we were still going out, C. let me borrow her car one week, a week when her entirely big Catholic family was away. I'd run back and forth from the South Orange campus to her parent's place up in the Chatham hills. It was all very exciting. I remember driving to campus one morning, just after dawn, on South Orange Avenue, the clouds gathered in the valleys and the sun peering through and burning off the mist on the road. I was 18 and just out of my parent's place for the first time, and I thought this is what grown-up independence is like: spending nights in mansions on hills and gorgeous dentist's daughters lending you their cars in mornings and you just drive away the whole open road in front of you and nothing but peace and tranquility for as far as the eyes can see. It was going to be just like that. I knew it.
Well, I went back to K. C., a little upset, left me a nasty note under my dorm door. She called me a liar and a cheater and ended with the tag line (a running gag between us), "So what was your name again?" Except this time one of us meant it.
A year later, done with K. for good, I called C. up. She took the call, which was a pleasant surprised. I apologized thoroughly. She said apology accepted, and we had a nice talk of an hour or so. We agreed to meet. So once again I took the drive out to Chatham, positive this time I'd get it right, and she had agreed after all that we'd go out. Nope. C. was setting me up. When I got to the door, her mother let me in, briefly, and then told me that Cindy wanted me to go away. Ouch. I appreciated the irony, though. I drove back to the dorms, no clouds in the valleys, no sun peering through and burning off the mist, with my own junker of a car, wiser and sadder. It took the lovely KDD ('nother story) quite a few hours of emotional support to cheer me up, but we both agreed I'd gotten just desserts. That was that. Lesson learned, understood, grokked.
So, fast-forward 23 years, tonight on a whim I search for C. Found search results right away. Turns out she was involved in a messy, well-publicized, notorious, precedent-setting divorce. Her husband had gotten terminally ill, and went through a brutal series of operations (three liver transplants in three months). When he got out of the hospital the last time, C. recommended that he go back to his parents' house while his parents supported her and her two sons in a separate household. She eventually sued for divorce and wanted $20,000 a month in support from her husband's parents because she'd become accustomed to that lifestyle. She also had an autistic child in the local school system and wanted to keep the family home, and the mortgage on that was nearly $5k a month.
During the publicity, which included stories on NBC (Tucker Carlson and the boys had a great laugh at her expense), the Star-Ledger and New York Post (and all over the legal Websites), she was painted as a heartless gold-digger and a villain. She was laughed at openly. From my quick glean of the facts, and because I knew her, I can say that she had been completely misjudged by people who didn't know her. C. was anything but a gold-digger. She was anything but heartless. She was a jewel. But she got caught up in the gears and was trying to get free, you know, to find her way through. She didn't make it. During the height of the news cycle, she took her own life.
I've looked, but I can't find any more info than that.