Robin Williams’ Fil-Am ex-wife: Who is Marsha Garces?

Ryan Macasero

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

(UPDATED) Garces was born in San Francisco, USA, to a Filipino father Leon Panteleon Garces from Bohol and a Finnish mother

HAPPY MOMENTS. US actor Robin Williams and his previous wife Marsha sit in the stands prior to the start of the men's final on the last day of the 2007 US Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA. Photo by EPA/Andrew Gombert

(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines – While children of the 90s may have lost their Genie – a character immortalized by Williams in the classic Disney movie Aladdin, and millions of fans around the world of the comedic actor Robin Williams, have lost an idol – one woman, Marsha Garces, has lost the father of her two children. 

Garces, Wlliams’ Filipina-Finnish American ex-wife (one of 2 ex-wives), was married to Wlliams for 19 years. 

Garces was quoted in a report by E! Online: “My heart is split wide open and scattered over the planet with all of you. Please remember the gentle, loving, generous – and yes, brilliant and funny – man that was Robin Williams. My arms are wrapped around our children as we attempt to grapple with celebrating the man we love, while dealing with this immeasurable loss.” (READ: Robin Williams’ children, ex-wife on actor’s death

The Academy Award-winning actor and comedian was found dead  in his San Francisco Bay Area home on the afternoon of August 11, 2014, (Tuesday August 12 in Manila) due to apparent suicide, after a long battle with depression. (READ: Actor Robin Williams dead)   

Garces was born in San Francisco, USA, to a Filipino father Leon Panteleon Garces from Bohol, and a Finnish mother. 

According to a 2006 column by Janet Nepales in Filipino American weekly newspaper Philippine News, Robin jokingly described his ex-wife (wife at the time) as “Finnipino.”  

Garces met Williams when she was working as a nanny for Williams’ first child, Zachary, with Williams’ first wife Valerie Velardi. The couple married in 1989, after his divorce from Velardi, to whom he was married for 10 years. Garces and Williams had two kids together: Zelda Rae, who was born in 1989; and Cody, born in 1993. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Garces worked as Williams’ personal assistant before becoming a movie producer. 

Garces is listed as producer in at least 4 of Williams’ movies including: Mrs Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Jakob the Liar and Robin Williams Live on Broadway. The couple was married for 19 years before Garces filed for divorce in 2008 and was granted in 2010. Garces cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce. He married his third wife, Susan Schneider, in 2011 with whom he was living with in their Tiburon, California, home at the time of his death.

According to media reports, Williams’ two divorces cost a total of at least $20 million. He admitted in an interview with Parade magazine that he had to downsize his life following the costly divorce: “Well, not all [was lost]. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet. Are things good with my exes? Yes. But do I need that lifestyle? No.”

Williams openly talked about his struggles with alcohol abuse, which reportedly played a role in his divorce with Garces when he relapsed in 2006. Williams was also open about his struggle with cocaine abuse in the 1980s. 

Their daughter Zelda, who is also an actress, reportedly named after the Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda, posted an emotional message to her father on Twitter.  


“I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z,” Zelda said. –


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at