Mindy McCready performing in 2008. (Brad Barket/WireImage)
On Monday – just one day after she killed herself with a single gunshot to the face on the porch of her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas – her ex-boyfriend (and the father of her 6-year-old son, Zander), Billy McKnight, revealed in an interview with the “Today” show, “As sad as it is, it didn’t come as a major shock. She’s just been battling demons for so long … I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her.”
The country singer, who also shot and killed her dog, had been on a rapid decline ever since the January 13 suicide of her boyfriend, David Wilson, also the father of her 10-month-old son Zayne. Shortly after his death, McCready was accused of killing him in a jealous rage after she caught him cheating – all of which she adamantly denied.
Still, her two sons were removed from her care on February 6, after her father Tim McCready revealed in court documents that she had been in bed for three weeks and was neglecting them. “Sleeps all day,” he wrote. “Drinks all night and is taking Rx drugs. Not bathing or even helping take care of her 2 children.”
After her boys were put in state foster care – where they remain – McCready was ordered to enter a facility for a mental-health and alcohol-abuse evaluation, but was able to undergo outpatient treatment instead. Eleven days later, she was dead.
Once the news of McCready’s suicide became known on Sunday evening, many of her famous fans and friends in country music expressed their condolences on Twitter. “I grew up listening to Mindy McCready…so sad for her family tonight,” wrote Carrie Underwood. LeAnn Rimes, who also tweeted her sorrow, released a statement, as well. "Mindy and I both started our careers around the same time. We worked with a lot of the same people, so we ended up spending lots of time around one another. She was always so kind and very protective of me, like a big sis. My heart is broken that she's gone."
My heart goes out to Mindy McCready's family.I knew her well.It's a horribly tragedy.May peace be with her son's.
— LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (@leannrimes) February 18, 2013
McCready, whose 1996 debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, sold two million copies and peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart, appeared on the third season of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky,” and is now the fifth person from that series to relapse and die.
She’s also the third from her season to die. Last August, former “Real World: Hollywood” participant Joey Kovar was found dead at a friend’s home in Chicago following a cocaine binge. Before that, in March 2011, former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr overdosed on prescription pills in Utah. The other two “Celeb Rehab” alums to pass away are “Grease” actor Jeff Conaway (from prescription pills in May 2011) and Rodney King, who was found drowned in a pool after a night of alleged drinking and marijuana smoking in June 2012.
Dr. Drew released a statement about the loss of the latest star from his reality show. “I am deeply saddened by this awful news. My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children. She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many. Although I have not treated her for few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
Bob Forrest, Head Counselor on "Celebrity Rehab," shared his feelings on McCready's passing on "omg! Insider" on Monday. Calling her loss, "so devastatingly sad," he explained, "One of the key things is Mindy had two, possibly three or four interwoven problems," including personality disorder and addiction. "If one doesn’t get you the other one does ... They all play together in this perfect storm.”
Although “Celebrity Rehab” has certainly made for some riveting television through its five seasons on air, getting help in front of millions of eyes each week may not be the best solution.
Doug Thorburn, author of Alcoholism Myths and Realities, explains to omg! that Alcoholics Anonymous was created with the “understanding that alcoholism (and most other-drug addiction) causes egomania. They designed their program, the 12 steps, around the idea that the massive alcoholic ego must be deflated for recovery to occur. The first 11 steps are all about this: no practicing egomaniac can admit he is powerless over something; no practicing egomaniac can see the need to pay amends and then to actually become so contrite. This is the reason the program requires anonymity … ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and other shows like it violate this essential prerequisite to recovery; hence, so many relapses and, even, suicides.”
As for the reports that “Celebrity Rehab” pays its famous patients $250,000 for their 21-day stay on the show, Thorburn adds that the monetary incentive only acts as an enabler. “Give me two equally down addicts, one with money and one without: the one without has the greater chance of getting abstinent and achieving long-term sobriety,” he adds. “Hence, I’m not sure rehab really does anyone any good other than to get them started.”
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