20 years ago, comedy genius Phil Hartman was shot and killed by his wife Brynn, while he was lying on his bed at their home in Encino.
The world was shocked, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for this violent act, which left two young children without their parents. But as the story played out, we found out there was much more going on behind the scenes in their relationship than anyone knew.
And now, for the first time in 20 years, Brynn's brother, Greg Omdahl, speaks to ABC News about his sister and Phil in a new special airing on September 19th at 9pm.
Greg says his sister came to L.A. in her 20's with dreams of becoming a model or actress, but she struggled, and got caught up in the 80s drug culture:
"She had a problem with cocaine."
Her brother says as her addiction got worse, her mental stability suffered as well. She suffered from anxiety and depression and was taking the anti-depressant Zoloft. As Phil's star in Hollywood continued to rise, hers did not, despite his effort to get her acting roles. In addition, Phil's friendly relationships with his ex-wives and co-workers were a constant source of tension between the couple that caused huge fights between them.
In one instance, when Phil and Bryn had their first child, Lisa Jarvis, his second wife, said Phil called her to tell her he became a father, and she was thrilled for them both. She sent a card to Phil and Brynn congratulating them and saying if they ever needed a babysitter, she'd be happy to help.
Brynn's response, Lisa says, was terrifying, telling ABC News that she:
"..got back a letter that was hair-curling, fury, rage and a death threat from Brynn...the gist of it was, 'Don't ever f***ing get near me or my family or I will hurt you. I never want to hear from you...never ever, ever come near us or you will be really sorry."
On May 28, 1998, Brynn went out for drinks with a friend who said she seemed 'happy and fine', before driving to see another friend, Ron Douglas. Douglas has previously said that Brynn complained about Phil and their relationship to him that night and eventually left to go home.
Brynn returned home and just before 3am, she walked into the bedroom and shot Phil three times.
Shortly before 4am, Ron Douglas says Brynn returned to his home, and said:
"I killed Phil. I don't know why."
Ron didn't believe her until a gun dropped from her purse. He took it from her and locked it in the trunk of his car. He followed Brynn back home and when he saw Phil's body, he called 911. While he was on the phone, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom..
When police arrived, Ron gave police the gun he took from Brynn, but no one knew if there were any other weapons in the house. As police escorted Ron and the couple's two young children, 9-year-old Sean and 6-year-old Birgen from the home, they heard a gunshot.
Brynn had shot herself.
The investigation into the murder revealed Brynn had a blood alcohol level of 0.12 as well as cocaine and Zoloft in her system that night. LAPD officer Daniel Carnahan told ABC News:
"For me it is one of the most tragic scenes. Hartman had actually experienced the American dream that most people don't get to experience. To have that taken away in this fashion seems so contradictory and so out of place and so unfair."
Brynn's brother sued Pfizer, the makers of Zoloft, claiming that the drug caused her violent and suicidal behavior that night. The case was eventually settled with no admission from Pfizer of wrongdoing.
The children, Sean and Birgen, were raised by Brynn's sister Cathy and her husband in the Midwest. Today, Sean is 31 and is an artist and a musician. Birgen, is 27, recently married and the owner of her own business.