Family of 'Fox 2' Host Who Committed Suicide after Eye Surgery Breaks Silence

Jaimie-lee Prince
Mar 06, 2019
05:54 P.M.

Jessica Starr's family finally spoke publicly about their loved one's passing. Her surgery, they said, was "absolutely" a factor in her suicide.


The meteorologist who took her life in December 2018 left behind a husband and two young kids when she committed the act. Her parents were also distraught at the news.

Her mother Carol Starr, and husband Dan Rose spoke to ABC News' Paula Faris about what happened. The signs were small, but they were there.

Jessica underwent laser eye surgery, specifically small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) in October 2018. During the eight weeks after, she experienced complications.


Eight weeks later she took her own life by hanging herself. When asked if the complications contributed to Jessica's decision, Rose was adamant.

He told Faris:

"Absolutely. There was nothing else that we can attribute it to."

Carol noticed that her daughter immediately lost a large amount of weight after the surgery, around 25 pounds.

She explained:

"I kept saying, 'Are you eating? Are you okay?' And she said, 'I'm not eating and I'm not sleeping, Mom. This is worrying me. I don't think it's gonna get better.' "


The surgery required that a small opening be made on the eyes to get rid of a layer of tissue. This corrects the cornea's shape and fixes nearsightedness.

The surgery was approved in 2016 and reportedly has a less than one percent chance of going wrong. Over 1.5 million surgeries of the same type have been done worldwide.

Yet when Jessica completed her surgery, she "knew something was not right within a matter of days" according to her husband.

He added:

"She started to complain of incredibly dry eyes. She had almost no night vision. She had starbursts that she was seeing during the day and at night."


Jessica herself expressed intense regret about the decision to do the surgery. In a video diary that should have helped with her recovery, she admitted the truth.

She said:

"I'm really mad at myself for doing this. I don't know why. I was fine in contacts. Glasses weren't that big of a deal. It was fine."

Her family noticed the change in Jessica demeanor, saying that she "started to withdraw from life."

Carol would take the kids to the movies herself. It was the complete opposite of Jessica's bubbly personality they had known before.

On December 13, her station made the devastating announcement:

“Last night we were informed of the heartbreaking news that our friend and colleague, meteorologist Jessica Starr took her life. All of us here at Fox 2 are in deep shock and cannot believe that such a wonderful, bright and intelligent individual will no longer be with us."


The station, Detroit's WJBK Fox 2 channel, also aired a tribute that showed snippets of Jessica's life. She was seen riding a roller coaster and talking about wet weather which she called "wet butt."

The Walled Lake Central High School graduate received praise from her former basketball coach Robert Schopf. He said she was "living her dream." Jessica got her degree from Michigan State University, but her hometown was always especially proud of her achievements.

Jessica, who had asked fans for tips on dealing with her situation, was not the first to commit suicide due to the excruciating pain sometimes caused by laser eye surgery.

Our hearts go out to her family and friends who have had to endure the pain of the sudden loss. We send many thoughts and prayers their way as they continue getting by.

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