Story behind the Tragic Death of Rosie O'Donnell's First Wife Michelle Rounds

Michelle Rounds, Rosie O’Donnell’s first wife, may have been an achiever, but mental illness led her down a path that ended with her death at the age of 46.

Rosie and Michelle started dating in 2011, and quietly tied the knot in June 2012 at their Nyack, New York home. Seven months after they wed, the pair adopted their daughter Dakota.

However, in February 2015, Rosie filed for a divorce and cited their “irretrievably broken relationship” as a reason after they separated in 2014.

A custody battle ensued after Michelle filed for sole custody of Dakota in April 2015, but they finally came to an agreement wherein both women felt “very happy about the outcome,” and finalized their divorce in March 2016.

The following year tragedy struck when Michelle’s lifeless body got discovered in her home in Windermere, Florida on September 11. 

The Orlando Medical Examiner’s office listed the cause of death as intoxication by quetiapine, clonazepam, and amitriptyline, all prescription medication used to treat anxiety and depression.  After the news broke, Rosie extended her condolences to her ex-wife’s family in a statement to PEOPLE.

"I am saddened to hear about this terrible tragedy. Mental illness is a very serious issue affecting many families. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle's family, her wife and their child," she said.

But Rosie also revealed that Michelle got hospitalized in 2015 for an apparent overdose, which she believed to have been her first suicide attempt as she said,  “It was not the first time, there was a time in September 2015. You think love has the answer. But mental illness has no say.”

At the time of Michelle’s death, she had been married to Krista Monteleone since 2016. The pair also shared a daughter, and a son Krista had from a previous relationship.

Also known for her work on Cairo Jazzman in 2017, the IT executive worked as a top recruiter for an IT staffing company in New York where they selected elite candidates for Fortune 500 companies.

Born in Corning, New York, on May 10, 1971, Michelle started with a career on Wall Street after she graduated cum laude at New Paltz from State University of New York.

The year 2015 turned into a tumultuous time for Rosie. Not only did Rosie have to deal with a custody battle and divorce, but also the struggles of her seventeen-year-old daughter Chelsea she adopted with her first wife, Kelli Carpenter.

In August 2015, Chelsea vanished from their home with her therapy dog, Bear. She reappeared a week later, but the reason for the fallout would only shed light on an already complicated relationship between Rosie and Chelsea.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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