Mindy McCready's personal demons overshadowed early success
In this undated file photo, country singer Mindy McCready performs in Nashville, Tenn. / AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File
HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. Perhaps there was one heartbreak too many for Mindy McCready.
The former country star apparently took her own life Sunday afternoon in Heber Springs, Ark. Authorities say McCready died of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot to the head and an autopsy is planned. She was 37, the mother of two young sons.
Her death ends a series of tumultuous public events that marked much of the singer's adult life. David Wilson -- the singer's boyfriend and father of her 10-month-old son -- was believed to have killed himself last month. McCready said in an tearful interview on Jan. 29, "He didn't just touch my heart. He touched my soul. He was my soul mate."
McCready's body was found on the same porch where Wilson died.
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"I think it obviously speaks on the pain that she was feeling, that, for whatever reason, she chose to go to the same location and do the same thing that he did," said Shane Tallant, a friend of McCready's.
In a June 2010 interview with CBS News, McCready addressed reports she had attempted to commit suicide multiple times.
Mindy McCready, dead from apparent suicide
"I was never in a state in which I was conscious and with it and said, 'Oh I want to die,'" she said then.
In an interview that same year with the Associated Press, McCready smiled wryly while talking about the string of issues she'd dealt with over the last half-decade.
"It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time," she said of her life. "I call my life a beautiful mess and organized chaos. It's just always been like that. My entire life things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself. I think that's really the life of a celebrity, of a big, huge, giant personality."
This time it seems the whirlwind overwhelmed McCready.
Like so many times before, McCready showed a little toughness in the midst of a personal storm following Wilson's death, again endearing herself to her fans. But as usual, the brave face for the camera hid a much more complicated internal struggle that surfaced publicly time and again over the last 10 years.
This time, along with her remembrances of finding Wilson as he lay dying, she also answered questions about whether they'd argued earlier that evening about an affair and if she'd shot him.
"Oh, my God," the "Today" transcript reads. "No. Oh, my God. No. He was my life. We were each other`s life."
Mindy McCready: 1975-2013
It's unclear what circumstances led to McCready taking her own life, but it appears she was struggling again with twin issues that have persisted for years substance abuse and the custody of her children. She checked into court-ordered rehab and gave her children up to foster care earlier this month after her father asked a judge to intervene, saying she'd stopped taking care of herself and her sons and was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.
It's not clear where her sons, 6-year-old Zander and infant Zayne, were Sunday.
A deputy stationed outside McCready's home Sunday night referred questions to the Cleburne County sheriff, who was unavailable. Yellow crime-scene tape cordoned off the front yard and a dark-colored pickup truck sat in the driveway.
News of McCready's death spread quickly Sunday night on Twitter, with major country stars paying their respects to the onetime Nashville darling.
"Too much tragedy to overcome. R.I.P Mindy McCready," wrote Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks.
And Carrie Underwood added: "I grew up listening to Mindy McCready ... so sad for her family tonight. Many prayers are going out to them..."
Melinda Gayle McCready arrived in Nashville in 1994 still in her teens with tapes of her karaoke vocals and earned a recording contract with BNA Records. She had a few memorable moments professionally, scoring her first No. 1 hit almost immediately.
"Guys Do It All the Time," a self-assured dig at male chauvinism, endeared her to female fans in 1996. She also scored a hit with "Ten Thousand Angels," and her album of that title sold 2 million copies.
Beyond that, though, she's mostly remembered for a string of dramatic moments as she spent the next 15 years chasing another huge hit. Her problems included a custody battle with her mother over one of her sons, arrests, overdoses and discord in her love life.
She made headlines in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with baseball great Roger Clemens. Published reports at the time said she met the pitcher at a Florida karaoke bar when she was 15 and he was 28 and married. Clemens denied the relationship. A decade earlier she was engaged to actor Dean Cain, but the two never married.
She also had a turbulent relationship with Billy McKnight, a country singer who is the father of her oldest son. McKnight was arrested in 2005 on charges of attempted murder after authorities say he beat and choked her.
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