Country singer, mother, and reality show cast member Mindy McCready died Sunday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was 37. The once-promising star’s career devolved after a breakout first album, and, over time, the singer found her name plastered more on tabloid covers than on marquees. Here’s a look back at the music, drug abuse, and depression that marked Mindy McCready’s life.
The year was 1996. It was the year ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ ‘California Love,’ and the Bayside Boys remix of the Macarena tore up the charts. It was the year President Bill Clinton won reelection against Bob Dole. And it was the year unknown, 18-year-old country singer Mindy McCready burst onto the music scene with her debut album Ten Thousand Angels. Selling two million copies, the record paved the way for her breakout hit, ‘Guys Do It All The Time,’ which followed later that year.
Billy McKnight Arrested For Trying To Kill Her
In May 2005, McCready’s boyfriend and father of her eldest son, Zander, was arrested and charged with her attempted murder. Musician Billy McKnight had beat and choked her, the police said. On Monday, he was on Today, saddened by the news of her death—but not surprised. “As sad as it is, it didn’t come as a major shock,” he said. “She has been battling demons for so long; I was around her when she attempted suicide twice so I knew it was in her.”
An Affair With Roger Clemens?
In April 2008, McCready made another splash in the tabloids, claiming a sexual relationship with baseball star Roger Clemens. Though Clemens denied the relationship, McCready said the two met when she was only 15: he a 28-year-old, married pitcher with the Boston Red Sox; she, a karaoke contestant at a Florida bar. In this Access Hollywood interview, McCready explains that the two never slept together while she was under-age, but that the affair did turn sexual in her twenties. On Monday, Clemens called McCready’s death “sad news,” and said the singer was “extremely nice” the “few times” they met.
In early 2010, Celebrity Rehab aired its third season, and McCready made news for having a seizure on camera. She is the fifth Celebrity Rehab cast member—and the third from Season Three—to die in the last three years. In this clip from Access Hollywood, McCready explains how Dr. Drew convinced her to appear on the show. He promised her, she said, that “when it’s over, you will be a better person for it.” Dr. Drew released a statement on McCready’s death through his publicist, saying he was “deeply saddened by this awful news.”
Has She Tried This Before?
Sadly, rumors of suicide attempts circled McCready long before this year. In an interview with CBS in June 2010, the singer addressed the rumors head on, saying “I didn’t knowingly ever try to kill myself…it was after there had been a depressing moment…that I would drink too much and I don’t really remember making those decisions.”
‘Did You Kill David?'
"He didn’t just touch my heart. He touched my soul. He was my soulmate,” McCready said of her boyfriend, musician David Wilson, after he was found dead—also of a gunshot wound—in the couple’s home. He died only a few weeks ago, on January 13, and McCready was accused of having killed him. While police declared no official suspects in the case, left open as they try to determine whether Wilson committed suicide or was murdered, speculation shot through the media that McCready had been involved. In this Today Show interview from January 29, McCready answers the question straight-up: “Did you kill David?"
'I’m Still Here'
Chillingly, the title track to McCready’s last album is called ‘I’m Still Here.’ “On a cold dark cloud, with nowhere to fall but down, like a single, naked, unrelenting tear,” she sings, “I’m still here.”