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The more we learn about the untimely death of Gary Coleman, the more troubling the story becomes. Coleman, 42, died from a head wound last week. In wife Shannon Price's 911 call, she says she's too "stressed out" to help Coleman ("I just can't be here with the blood"). Now, Entertainment Tonight reports that Price, 24, wasn't actually married to Coleman when he died...and that's where things get dicey. Price is the person who authorized Coleman being taken off life support Friday.
Coleman and Price met on a film set in 2006 and wed in August 2007. As far as the world knew, they were married until the day he died. But Coleman's lawyer has verified the court documents discovered by ET, showing that the couple divorced in August 2008, just a year after they married. In a bid for privacy, they had listed their names as John and Jane Doe, and Coleman told his lawyer not to go public with the truth. As for Price, her agent claims she didn't know about the divorce. Nor did Coleman's estranged parents.
The staff at the hospital where Coleman died didn't know about the divorce either: "Shannon certainly portrayed herself as his wife to our staff and doctors. We assumed she was telling the truth," said a spokesperson for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. In other words: if the hospital had known Price wasn't actually Coleman's spouse, they likely wouldn't have allowed her to make the decision to pull the plug.
What happened here? We know Price and Coleman had a troubled relationship. They appeared on Divorce Court to "save their relationship" months after they were married. Twice, police intervened in the couple's fights, citing them with disorderly conduct and/or domestic violence. But for better or worse, it seems that Price was closer to Coleman than anyone else in his life. The famously cantankerous actor hadn't spoken to his parents in 15 years. Several Diff'rent Strokes costars had passed away. Coleman never found another steady job after the sitcom that made him famous, and had resorted to working as a security guard in Hollywood. He was a man who'd lost most of his connections to the world. And the last person he had left -- a woman he didn't want to stay married to more than a year -- was the one who had to make his end-of-life decisions.