Robert Blake's Daughter Doesn't "Want to Know" Whether He Killed Her Mother
Rose Lenore Blake was estranged from her father for years following his murder trial acquittal.
Remember for both his acting career and for being put on trial for the murder for his second wife, Robert Blake has died at the age of 89. As reported by People, Robert's niece, Noreen Austin, confirmed the news and said that the actor died of heart disease and was surrounded by family members at the time of his death.
The star of the 1967 film In Cold Blood and the '70s TV series Baretta made headlines in the early 2000s when his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was killed. He was subsequently put on trial and acquitted in regards to her death. When Bakley died, the pair were parents to an 11-month-old daughter, Rose Lenore Blake, who went on to grow up without her father in her life.
In recent years, Rose, now 22, has spoken out about growing up in the shadow of the highly publicized trial and without her birth parents. In 2019, she ended her estrangement from Robert, telling People that she "doesn't want to know" whether he's responsible for her mother's death or not. Read on to learn more about the case and what Rose and Robert's relationship was like before he died.
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Robert was found not guilty.
Bakley was killed in May 2001 while waiting in Robert's car after they had gone out for dinner. Robert claimed that he had gone back to look for a handgun that he had dropped by accident and that Bakley was shot in the car during this time. It was later determined that the gun Robert was talking about was not the one that shot Bakley. Robert maintained that he was innocent.
In 2005, a jury found him not guilty, but he was later determined to be liable for Bakley's death during a civil trial, according to the Associated Press.
Rose was raised by her half-sister.
Following her mother's death, Rose was raised by her half-sister Delinah Blake, Robert's daughter from his relationship with his first wife Sondra Kerr, and Delinah's husband. Delinah is 34 years older than Rose.
"We chose to live a private life," Rose told People in 2019. "I was busy. I was doing gymnastics, soccer, piano, cheerleading, dance."
But despite living a private life, Rose was well aware of her family's situation. She said she once caught a paparazzo sneaking photos of her during a school event.
"It's all so public," Rose said. "I can literally Google any of our names, and it would come up. It was kind of a traumatic childhood at that point."
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She got back in touch with her father.
Rose was estranged from Robert when she was growing up, but at 18 years old, she decided to reach out to him.
"I felt like waiting would not be a good option because I would regret not seeing him," Rose told Inside Edition in 2019. She said their first meeting since she was five years old was "overwhelming, it was a lot to take in. We did not hug."
Similarly, she told People, "It was a lot to handle. He started talking about [Bakley], and I said, 'This is too much.' And he was very respectful of that, which was good. I don't want to know if he did it or not."
She decided not to focus on whether or not her father was guilty.
Rose explained to People that forming her own opinion regarding whether or not her father was involved in her mother's death would only make life harder for her.
"It feels useless to have an opinion about it," she said. "Say he did it or he didn't do it—what's the point of knowing that, other than to just trouble myself? I think it's better to just see both sides for what they are and not try to overwhelm myself. It's complicated."
During the trial, Bakley's past was brought up and made its way into the media. She had been married nine times before her marriage to Robert and was portrayed as a grifter.
"People have a lot of negative things to say about her and that is really hard to hear. I choose to just focus on the good," Rose told Inside Edition of her mother.
Rose wanted to speak for herself.
When she spoke to People in 2019, Rose talked about how she has been portrayed in the media.
"I've read everything they write about me," she said. "'Rose is living a perfect life. She's 100 percent perfect.' I am far from that. I'm a big mess—but that's okay. And then there are other people writing, 'She must be miserable every day.' No, I'm not. I just want to be able to set the story straight."
She added, "This is me. I'm 19. I'm living my life … and I'm doing the best I freaking can."
Rose also told Inside Edition that she was interested in acting and that her father was "very supportive" of her. She has yet to speak out about Robert's death.