|L'Wren Scott in a signature look|
When fashion designer L'Wren Scott committed suicide Monday, the fashion and celebrity worlds mourned; when we read that she was adopted, the adoption community perks up its ears: another one lost to suicide.
L'Wren was adopted by Mormon parents in Utah, along with a brother and a sister. An intrepid reader found an old story that included an interview with her adoptive mother who states that she and her husband, who met and married while teenagers, turned to adoption after years of trying to have children. L'Wren's mother says that the children they adopted were all from the Salt Lake City area, and adds this crucial piece of information: "At one point Luann [L'Wren's name after adoption] said she wanted to contact her biological parents, but nothing came of it." This story is ten years old and none of the new stories mention this.
Combing through numerous press stories written since her death, I found no mention that she herself talked about her adoption to the press, or searching for her birth/first parents, or that they had ever searched for her.
We learn that she had not spoken to her adopted sister, Jan Shane, in six years, not since their mother died. Her life, as the long-time companion of Mick Jagger, does seem worlds away from the small town of Roy, Utah, where the tall and willowy teenager surely stuck out. She was six feet tall by the time she was twelve, topping out eventually at six-three.
One never knows all the reasons one commits suicide, but at least one friend of hers has stated that her being adopted led to her sense of isolation. Now I am going from the tabloids here, so take this with a grain of salt: Scott Tugel, 50, who says he dated her for a short time in the late 1980s, says that being adopted did bother her.
"She would get really down and solemn about being adopted," he told The Sun. "I think she struggled with that her entire life....She didn't want to talk about her previous life. She was creating a new identity for herself." He added that her adoptive parents "did a great job" and that "she loved them deeply--but I think that was the cause of her problems." He also said that she hated that she was adopted by a Mormon family. She did end up so far from that kind of upbringing and lived a very different life as the partner of Jagger for 13 years.
Some reports say that Jagger was breaking up with her, but he vehemently denies that. In Perth at the
Her sister, who learned of L'Wren's death through Google after someone texted her, granted an interview with a British newspaper, the MailOnline, and gave them several photographs of L'Wren as a child--when she was Luann Bambrough--with family members. Shane says that L'Wren said the last time she saw her was that she, L'Wren, wished she could have children, but wasn't going to have them with Jagger. Some said she enjoyed the family life of being with his children and grandchildren, and their apartment in Paris had room for them.
Her brother Randall flew to New York to identify her body, and it has been reported that he may bring her back to Ogden, Utah to be buried near her adoptive parents.
L'Wren's sexy but ladylike designs were worn by an international clientele that included Michelle Obama and Nicole Kidman. Jagger's front-row presence at her fashion shows guaranteed that the press would cover them. She had a deal with Banana Republic. Yet L'Wren's business was failing and was $6 million in debt. Her fall fashion show had already been cancelled. Some reports say that Jagger had already poured millions into her company to keep it afloat as long as it was.
L'Wren texted her assistant early Monday to come by her apartment at 10 a.m. She left no note. She would have been 50 in April. We can't help but think that out there is a tall, dark, handsome woman who recognizes herself in the person L'Wren became, and was as a child. Does her first mother recognize herself in the many pictures of the woman known as L'Wren Scott? If so, she may never have the closure of finding out, one of the many painful legacies of sealed birth records and closed adoptions.
Did L'Wren's being adopted, and not knowing her origins and first parents play at part in her feeling so despondent? We never truly know why anyone commits suicide. Yet the research is beginning to pile up that indeed, adoptees have a higher rate of suicide than the rest of us who are not adopted, who always are fully aware of our place in our own family. My daughter Jane committed suicide in 2007; I found her 1981 and we had a relationship through the years. Her birthday would have been in two weeks. I've written about her and adoptee suicide before; the FMF links below will lead to the journal articles. Tonight, in a late add to this piece I think of these lines of Frost's: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." --The Death of the Hired Man. L'Wren felt she had no place where "they" had to take her in.
When I think about suicides such as L'Wren's and my daughter and Mirah Riben's daughter and the late writer Shana Alexander's daughter--all adopted--is that they do not get "counted" in any real way. The studies cannot or have not yet been designed to look at large population groups and just compare how many suicides there are in the general population versus the adopted cohort. And though it it unscientific to extrapolate like this--how come I personally know of so many adoptee suicides? I don't go looking for people with psychosis--I know people involved in adoption, one way or another.
...and while I write about this death, we also mourn Jeni Gay Flock, an adoption activist, whom I knew only through Facebook. Rest In Peace, L'Wren and Jeni. Rest in Peace.--lorraine
L'Wren Scott hated adopted life
Luann wanted kids, envied my simple life and refused Mick's offer of money: L'Wren Scott's estranged sister who's married to a garbage man speaks out about her suicide and their strict Mormon upbringing
L’Wren Scott created at the ‘height’ of fashion
Adoptees more likely to commit suicide
My Daughter's Suicide
Remembering My Daughter on the Anniversary of her Death
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories Edited by Susan Wadia-Ells
With eloquence and conviction, more than 30 diverse birth mothers, adoptive mothers and adoptees tell their adoption stories and explore what is a deeply emotional, sometimes controversial, and always compelling experience that affects millions of families and individuals.