Earlier this week, Thomas Kinkade’s girlfriend told the San Jose Mercury News that the artist “died in his sleep, very happy, in the house he built, with the paintings he loved, and the woman he loved.” But another depressing article in The Daily paints a very different picture: When that same girlfriend, Amy Pinto, called 911 on the morning Kinkade died, she apparently told the dispatchers Kinkade had been drinking. “Apparently he has been drinking all night and not moving,” the dispatcher says on the recording.
In addition Kinkade’s relationship with Pinto was also seemingly troubled: Los Gatos police confirmed they had responded “a couple” of times to Kinkade’s home, and a neighbor says those calls involved domestic disputes. “They’d get into some nasty fights,” he says. The Mercury News notes Kinkade and Pinto started dating six months after Kinkade’s wife Nanette filed for legal separation and had been together about a year and a half.
If that weren’t enough Thomas Kinkade was known as the “Painter of Light,” but the last few years of his life seem to have been fairly dark: The Daily reports that Kinkade owed about $9 million to at least 165 creditors when he died. Claims range from the huge ($2.4 million from a decade-old dispute with two former gallery owners, $40,000 in back taxes) to the tiny ($125 owed to a computer and toner supply company) and also include the fairly bizarre ($2,251 to … Arrowhead Mountain spring water?). His bankrupt distribution arm, once worth $145 million, was down to $1.4 million in cash and $6.5 million in assets last April.
In retrospect one can only be surprised that the beautiful work produced by Kinkade was in no way reflective of his troubled life as was Picasso, Van Gogh and others.