Zelda Williams on dad Robin’s suicide ‘we don’t have an explanation’

A photo posted by Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) on

Zelda Williams, 25, is speaking publicly for the first time since her father’s tragic suicide in August. I can’t believe it’s already been six months since Robin Williams passed. Zelda is working to continue her late father’s charity work, in particular his work with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides adaptive devices and athletic opportunities to veterans and others who have limited mobility. This Friday Zelda will be presenting an award to the CAF and to her dad at the Noble Awards, which honor humanitarians. You can read more about Zelda’s work with the CAF on her Instagram. Her words really touched me. She wrote that she can’t compete in triathlons biking 44 miles like her dad did for the CAF from 1998 to 2009 but that ” she “will do everything else in my (decidedly less athletic) power to continue Dad’s legacy and support the charities he loved that I’ve watched first hand change thousands of lives.”

Zelda had an interview air on The Today Show this morning, conducted by Kate Snow. You can see the videos in two parts, below. Zelda impressed me so much, especially in light of some of the invasive questions Snow was asking. Zelda talked about how she’s grieving following the loss of her dad, and how she’s trying to move forward in her life. Zelda came across as vulnerable and honest but straightforward and practical. My heart went out to her after watching her interview. Here’s some of what she said.

Grieving for her dad
For me especially it’s going to take a lot of work to allow myself the fun happy life that I had.

On the outpouring of love for her dad
There was an enormous outpouring of love from every corner of the world… the side of him that people know and love and that is attached to their childhood is the characters that he had so much fun being and that’s what’s important. I do think that’s what a lot of people will hold on to… for the most part it’s nice to have just our private life be our private life.

She was asked if she ever wonders why her dad committed suicide
I don’t think there’s a point [to wonder why]. It’s not important to ask.

People want to know why her dad took his own life
Diseases are – until we find out exactly how they work, we don’t have an explanation. There’s no one I can offer. A lot of people who have been through it and lost someone… who have gone on to lead very full lives know that there’s no point questioning it and there’s no point blaming yourself or the world… it happened so you have to continue to live and manage.

On public acceptance of mental illness
One of the things that is changing that is wonderful is that people are starting to approach talking about illnesses that people can’t immediately see. I want people to be more accepting.

It was important for [my dad] for people to talk about important things. He didn’t like people feeling like the things that were hard for them, they should go through alone. That’s the big legacy for him.

On what people should remember about her dad
People should remember what they want to remember of him. Who am I to guide what their childhood memories are of watching his movie.

[From The Today Show, videos below]

A few of the questions Snow asked seemed too personal, and I hope that she cleared them all with Zelda ahead of time. You could see Zelda bristling at points, but she was composed and so well spoken. Zelda works as a voice over actress and has been going back to work recently. I’m surprised she’s not a writer. At one point she said that the public’s response to her dad’s death was “not something that’s even easy to put into words… as much as I love words and have a lot of faith in them.” She also revealed that she has a hummingbird tattoo on her hand, which she got to remind her of her dad every day. She said “Hummingbirds are fun and flighty and strange. It’s hard to keep them in one place and Dad was a bit like that. Keeping a conversation in one moment was impossible with him.” That’s the Robin we knew and loved, and it sounds like Zelda has so many more meaningful memories of her dad. Kudos to her for speaking out on his behalf and supporting the charities he loved.

Here are Zelda’s interviews and please scroll down for PUPPIES!

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Also, I just discovered that Zelda has TONS of pics of puppies on her Instagram so let’s stare at the adorable puppies for a while.

New Calendar idea: Puppies and dudes in leather jackets. Cute badassery ensues!

A photo posted by Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) on

George has his 'too cute to be denied' face DOWN (PC: @atg511)

A photo posted by Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) on

photo credit: WENN.com

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39 Responses to “Zelda Williams on dad Robin’s suicide ‘we don’t have an explanation’”

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  1. Joy says:

    I still can’t believe it either. Beyond the mental illness he dealt with for years, based on the reports I read he had been diagnosed with a type of dementia. It could be that he knew he would deteriorate and wanted to go on his own terms. It could be that he didn’t even know what he was doing at the time, as the brain is a mysterious place. Either way, she lost her dad. I’m glad she realizes how intertwined he is in people’s childhoods and life experiences. It just makes me sad.

  2. Mia4S says:

    Could there ever be a reason that makes sense? No, and it’s not the point. Find and fight the illness.

    She seems lovely, I genuinely wish her well. I hope most of all though that she has all the support she needs.

    • Kelly says:

      I understand but wouldnt it be helpful to find out so that we could explore that mindset and give the public more insight into the illness? Someone at my school committed suicide and we found out that she suffered from depression, felt out of place, ad was just too tired. As a result, we were able to spend the rest of the semester learning about depression, inclusion, and the importance of checking in with others.

      I’m not saying we need a point by point explanation as to what exactly he was thinking when he killed himself, but learning more about how he felt leading up to the event might help, right ?

      • Xtina says:

        My dad killed himself when I was younger (32 now) and I had several friends in high school do it, too. Because of this, I’ve had to watch my mom and brother battle severe depression and anxiety (mine had been manageable). My opinion, to be honest? Suicide is a very personal thing. America considers it taboo but, for example, Japan has a history of honorable suicide.

        Here’s my point — it’s personal. It’s not our place to dissect it and decide that it was “wrong” for that person to make that decision. Just like with any illness, it gets to a point where you have to decide what’s better or worse?

        I don’t think I’m articulating my point well on mobile (plus medicine head from the flu)… But I just think you should support the survivors because it’s a lonely place to be afterwards… And support those suffering, of course, but don’t judge this decision. It’s hard but sometimes the illness taking over our body can be harder….

    • NeoCleo says:

      Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which my husband also has. He was diagnosed at a very early age. I know that deep depression is part of the disease process and there is no cure. Despite two brain surgeries which slowed the progression but did not stop it, my husband continues to decline and he is only 57 years old. Fighting the disease becomes pointless, one can only deal with the inevitable progression. It can be soul destroying for all involved but especially for the afflicted. I don’t judge suicide for that reason.

      • MrsBPitt says:

        @NeoCleo…my heart goes out to both, you and your husband…

      • lucy2 says:

        Best wishes to you and your husband, NeoCleo.
        When it was revealed that Robin had been diagnosed with Parkinsons, I wondered if that was what did it for him. He had been dealing with depression/addiction for so much of his life, and then to have that diagnosis on top of it…I can see how he may have felt it was just too much.

      • Xtina says:

        Thank you for sharing this 🙂 I think your example perfectly illustrates the point I was trying to make. <3

  3. Sixer says:

    Wow. I only wish I could reach that level of – I don’t even have a word – if something so terrible happened with someone I loved.

  4. Suzy from Ontario says:

    She seems like a lovely young woman and I’m sure that the pain she is still feeling is immeasurable. Bravo to her for taking on the things her Dad cared about and trying to keep them going to help others. I loved the commercials she did with her Dad for Nintendo. It was a peek at how special a relationship they had.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Before I read this comment, my son (who is home from school on a snow day) saw what I was working on and said “Zelda! Is she named after Legend of Zelda?” and I said she was and so he JUST pulled up some commercials on YouTube. I am crying after watching this one.

      • MrsBPitt says:

        Wow…that Legend of Zelda commercial on Youtube, brought a tears to my eyes…Suicide is such a mystery…I had heard RW talk about his kids in interviews and it always seemed to me, that he was crazy about them…why, of why would he leave them with such heartache…he must have been in such a horrible place, mentally, emotionally, and physically…my heart breaks for Robin and all his loved ones….

      • Greek Chic says:

        This commercial is so touching…It breaks my heart. Thanks for posting

  5. Kitten says:

    I saw the Today interview this morning and she was amazingly eloquent and thoughtful.

  6. aims says:

    It’s hard to wrap your head around something if you’ve never experienced that level of pain. Whether it be mental or physical or both. I am in no way condoning suicide, but as soon as you feel that type of pain you really have no idea. Mental health is such a debilitating disease that even trying to do the basics can be exhausting. It’s time that we start a dialog about it without shame or judgement. It’s devastating for not only the person who is battling it, but also for the loved ones.

    There should never ever be any shame regarding mental health.

  7. Jenna says:

    crying at my desk.

  8. Reece says:

    Good call. I needed to stare at puppies after reading this. *cries*

  9. lucy2 says:

    She seems like such a sweet person. No one should have to go through what she has, and I truly wish the best for her and her family.
    I think putting time and energy into causes her dad cared about is a lovely way to honor him and keep him close in her heart. He really did so many kind and generous things that many didn’t know about until people shared them after he passed away.

  10. Josefa says:

    She seems very articulate and smart and handled these questions with a lot of grace. My best wishes go to her and her family.

  11. PunkyMomma says:

    What a composed, thoughtful young woman – to be able to respond in such a poised manner to questions regarding the fairly recent suicide of her father in an interview that was clearly difficult. And the hummingbird tattoo – my heart aches for that family.

  12. Birdix says:

    I hope her interviews draw attention to his charities, it must be hard to speak about something so private, and have curiosity wherever she goes. His old house is across the street, still feel a pang of sadness when I walk by. It’s a tough burden to have a parent commit suicide. Love the hummingbird analogy.

  13. Anniefannie says:

    I was so impressed with her and her thoughtful responses. She is a real credit to her father.
    It’s gratifying to know that Zelda felt all of the outpouring of love & sympathy that his death generated. I don’t know of anyone that wasn’t deeply affected. It appears she’ll prevail….which i find so inspiring,

  14. GingerCrunch says:

    Some forms of mental illness are fatal without proper treatment. Lost my own dad this way and really, he had less of a chance against it than a lot of other bodily illnesses. Only time and this knowledge have made it bearable.

    Thanks for the PUPPIES!

  15. minx says:

    His death was so shocking. Still processing it six months later.

  16. smcollins says:

    She seems like a very lovely young woman with a good head on her shoulders who, based on her Instagram posts, has also inherited her Dad’s witty humor. I wish her all the best (her family too).

  17. Shambles says:

    “the side of him that people know and love and that is attached to their childhood is the characters that he had so much fun being and that’s what’s important. I do think that’s what a lot of people will hold on to… for the most part it’s nice to have just our private life be our private life.”

    This made me so profoundly sad to read. The way I interpret it, the implication is what we all came to know when Robin took his own life: that there was so, so much pain behind all the laughter. We’ll never know the kind of sadness he wrestled with, or what kind of pain Zelda had to see growing up. My heart goes out to her. Her father’s death was and continues to be the only celebrity death that’s impacted me in such a real and painful way, and it’s still impossible not to tear up thinking and writing about it. Rest in peace Robin, you who are still so loved and missed. And all the good vibes to any posters fighting their own battles.

    • Shambles says:

      ETA: I adore the tattoo, and her for sharing that because it’s lovely to be able to think of Robin in that way.

  18. Jayna says:

    I miss him.

  19. Jojar Pinks says:

    so sad. and sometimes there just is no explanation.

  20. wonderwoman21 says:

    So sad, it hurts to read her words. I hope they find peace, or at least some semblance of it.

  21. Vampi says:

    Love her. Love her poise. Love the hummingbird reference. And last, but certainly not least… LOVE YOU ROBIN!!!!!!!
    My heart has all the feels right now. Hubby asked why he sees tears running down my cheeks…I showed him the commercial CB posted upthread and he understood and got choked up as well…..
    My prayers are with his family…

  22. Nopity Nope says:

    She’s a lovely person and her strength is so admirable. My own father committed suicide six years ago and I can’t even speak about his death and who he was to me and my siblings that articulately. For her to be able to do so a mere six MONTHS afterward speaks highly of her strength. I wish her peace as she continues to heal.

  23. serena says:

    I didn’t notice before but she really looks a lot like him. I hope she’ll be fine and continue her dad’s legacy in some way. But yeah, people needs to realize depression is a real illness. Even if you are smiling and chatting like always, you could be really broken inside. People are fragile. And many don’t realize that, thinking that’he/she seems fine’ , that ‘she/he’s feeling down, it’ll go away’ or worse, shaking it off like ‘everybody’s feels down one time or another’. I hate it. Good think something’s starting to moving, but I just can’t think about Robin Williams without crying a bit.

    Also Snow was really insensitive at times.