Beverly Hills Real Housewife Kim Richards Tragic Past

NoahFairbanks.com

Kim Richards

Nineteen years ago, ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ star Kim Richards seemed to have it all. After finding success in films like Disney’s ‘Escape from Witch Mountain,’ she met and was soon engaged to commodities salesman John J. Collett.

“She loved him and he loved her and it was like a fairy tale,” his sister, Nina Stormo, told PEOPLE exclusively.

But in October 1991, her world shattered — Collett was gunned down by a hit man outside a San Fernando Valley deli.

Richards had to identify Collett’s body. Before his death, Collett had worked for a commodities firm that allegedly defrauded millions from investors, and many suspect his death may have been the result of a business scheme gone horribly wrong.

“It just tore her apart emotionally and she was not in good shape for a long time,” Jan Collett, John’s mother, told PEOPLE. “She really loved John. They were a good match.”

In June 1993, Marva DeCarlo Johnson was found guilty of John Collett’s murder and sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison. Although prosecutors presented evidence that it was a paid hit, there was no evidence of who financed it or why.

Family and friends admit Richards has never recovered.

“Kim was always carrying around a lot of pain, subsequent to my son’s death,” Jan Collett said. “I really cared for Kim. I thought she was a really good person with a good heart.”

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