Richard’s Thoughts

Richard Carpenter: I know enough, having gone through what I did, that you DON’T check yourself into the Regency Hotel and see a therapist for an hour a day and not on the weekends. It’s like an alcoholic saying ‘Okay, I’m going to check myself into the Regency Hotel and I’ll go see some guy an hour a day’! It DOESN’T WORK! I still don’t know whether she was just halfheartedly doing it to appease us, or whether she really felt that it would work. But I knew, and a number of others felt, that it couldn’t – here she was, one hour a day! And she’d WALK from the hotel to burn off more calories! It couldn’t work – and it didn’t.

Of course under the therapist’s care her weight went down, down, down and because he wasn’t a doctor, he couldn’t check her into a hospital, so he got a doctor associate to check her in, and they gave her hyperalimentation, with the tube in her neck to feed her. And THAT’S the only way they got the weight on her.

Now, she came back in Thanksgiving in late November of ’82 and she was 108lbs. And in her defense, the day she died – February 4th of ’83 – she was 108lbs. So, after being stuck in the hospital and being away from everybody… maybe she was turning the corner, because she did not lose a pound between November and February.

But you see, we got into a tiff because… she didn’t look well. I don’t mean weight-wise, but her eyes – I could see it in her eyes. And I was REALLY concerned. And I said a couple of things and I guess it got back to her and she just read me the Riot Act! I remember I was shopping at a department store called the ‘Broadway’ one night, and I came out and there she was in her car! Just waiting in the parking lot for me to come out! And of course she went through this whole thing again, that she is getting better, not to criticise all the time… She was eloquent, articulate, she just spelled the whole thing out and made me feel like a… creep! And I told her ‘Karen, the only reason I’m mentioning all of this to people is, I don’t feel you’re well. Yes, your weight is up and you may be doing your damned best’, but I told her, ‘I look at you – you DON’T LOOK WELL!’ And I said, ‘I’m only bringing this up because I love you’. And then there were like a few days and… that was that – she was dead.

The Coroner’s report stated that death was due to ‘heartbeat irregularities brought on by chemical imbalances associated with anorexia nervosa’.

3 Responses to “Richard’s Thoughts”

  1. Heather Duncan April 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm # Reply

    Richard don’t do this to yourself!!! It is breaking my heart. I know you have suffered for the last 30 years. I know you would do anything to have your Karen back. She loved you Richard, and still does. Try to not think of her disease because it will beat you up inside. Karen is happy and healthy again with mom and dad. Keep her love and talent alive as always. We all love You and Karen. Peace.

  2. brian April 10, 2015 at 2:52 am # Reply

    While I dont blame anyone directly, I feel that her drums where her shield and with that shield, she would have been more comfortable with herself and RIP dear Karen. I absolutely love the carpenter albums. Karens voice is so perfect. Your arrangments so beautifuly arranged around her angelic voice, uplifted her voice even more.

  3. Trashley Famous September 3, 2018 at 9:15 pm # Reply

    People who blame the family for not “saving” her are idiots. Yes, big mistakes were made in terms of the solo album, the wedding & other things but as far as the eating disorder itself goes, that was all on Karen. You can’t force someone to get better. Even her doctor had no clue she was abusing ipecac at the end because she was so secretive. That’s the nature of eating disorders though. Lie, deny & deflect. Richard clearly DID confront her at the end as you can see here and it did no good at all.

    Where loved ones could’ve acted differently are general things like letting Karen have more control over her career & personal life. Being more encouraging & supportive of her independence; building up her self-esteem & focusing less on professional perfection (though she was as much a perfectionist as Richard). But still, there’s no excuse for her continuing to perform & record Carpenters albums while weighing 80-90 lbs. That’s a bad look. Even if she insisted, someone should’ve put their foot down.

    I think the best thing we can do now is have an open dialogue about what happened with Karen so people can learn from the mistakes made on all sides. Trying to censor discussion only makes things look more suspicious than they are. R.I.P. Karen & condolences to her loved ones.

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