Debbie Reynolds' former husband pays tribute to her life

Richard Hamlett, Debbie Reynolds' third husband, shared stories about his marriage to her and her relationship with Carrie Fisher, pictured at left. (Courtesy Richard Hamlett)

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) - Debbie Reynolds, who passed away on Wednesday, used to live in Virginia.

Reynolds was married to real-estate developer Richard Hamlett while living in Roanoke. Hamlett still calls the Star City home.

Reynolds' ex-husband said he had just been mourning the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died Tuesday, when he heard the news about Reynolds.

Hamlett said he is in shock and had just put a call in to Reynolds on Wednesday to check on her after Fisher passed away, but then heard she had had a stroke. He said he didn't think she would make it, but never thought it would take her life so quickly.

Hamlett remembers his life with Reynolds through old photos.

Hamlett said Reynolds loved her daughter so much that when she died it took her life, too.

"She didn't die from anything that ailed her, she died from a broken heart," he said.

Hamlett said Reynolds cared about others so much so, she even saved him from heart failure early on in their marriage.

He said he had to leave their wedding party early because he was so tired, even into the next day. "She said, 'Something's wrong with you,' so she called a limousine service and told them bring a limousine out there and take me to San Diego to the hospital," he said.

Come to find out, Hamlett had a heart problem that he was told could've taken his life had he not sought help.

Hamlett also remembers how much they cared about each other and says they had a great relationship that even trickled into working together. "She liked the way I did business and I liked the way she did business," he said.

He said their 12-year-marriage came to an end, though, when Hamlett said he had to work with her son, Todd Fisher. "I said, 'You're putting me in the middle of trying to get something done for you and I can't work because your son is screwing it up,'" he said.

It was so detrimental, he walked away for good.

"I said, 'Debbie you don't understand, when I go home I'm not coming back,'" he said. "So, I went home and that was the end of our marriage."

Hamlett and Reynolds divorced in 1996.

Reynolds never remarried, but Hamlett did; his wife just passed away from a heart attack in September.

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