Neil Armstrong’s Death, and a Stormy, Secret $6 Million Settlement


“Obviously, the information about this wrongful death claim would prove extremely useful to such projects, and the boys’ involvement would net a monetary gain far in excess of the demand that has been made for settlement,” she wrote. Wendy Armstrong’s original demand on behalf of the family was $7 million.

Records from the Hamilton County probate court show that the bulk of the settlement, nearly $5.2 million, was split equally between Mr. Armstrong’s sons, Mark and Rick. The astronaut’s brother and sister, Dean A. Armstrong and June L. Hoffman, each received $250,000, and six grandchildren each got $24,000.

His widow, Carol, who was Mr. Armstrong’s second wife, did not participate in the settlement. “I wasn’t part of it,” she said in an interview. “I want that for the record.”

When a reporter noted that she had signed off on the settlement in her role as executor of the estate, she replied, “I had no choice — it was either that or lose my job as executor.” Asked if that meant she had not approved of the claim against the hospital, she said, “I don’t think I can answer that,” saying she was subject to a confidentiality agreement.

Mark and Rick Armstrong, who served as consultants for the 2018 film “First Man,” which starred Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Wendy Armstrong, who acted as the family’s lawyer in the settlement, likewise did not respond. Ms. Lawson, the lawyer who represented the hospital group in negotiations, declined to discuss the case.

Karen Armstrong, Rick Armstrong’s former wife, said, “We are all under nondisclosure agreements through the courts — everyone associated with the family is — so no one is allowed to say anything.”

James R. Hansen, an emeritus professor of history at Auburn University and author of the Armstrong biography “First Man” that became the basis for the movie, said he had been aware of the problems with Mr. Armstrong’s care “since very shortly after he died.” Mr. Hansen said he withheld the information from an updated 2018 edition of his book “out of respect for certain members of the family.”