(NEW YORK) — Troubled country singer Mindy McCready was “devastated” after the January death of her boyfriend and “fearful of stigma and ridicule,” according to Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated her in 2009 on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
McCready died Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at her Arkansas home, police said. She was 37.
The country singer who soared to the top of the charts with her debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, struggled with substance abuse, served time in jail and fought a lengthy battle with her mother over custody of her son.
The singer appeared on the third season of Dr. Drew’s VH1 show. She is the fifth person who has appeared on the show to die.
“I am deeply saddened by this awful news,” Dr. Drew said in a statement posted in a VH1 blog. “My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children. She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many.”
Dr. Drew said that he had not treated McCready for a few years, but “reached out to her recently” after her boyfriend and father of one of her two children, David Wilson, died in January of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“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,” Dr. Drew said. “Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
“Mental health issues can be life threatening and need to be treated with the same intensity and resources as any other dangerous potentially life threatening medical condition,” the doctor’s statement said. “Treatment is effective. If someone you know is suffering, please be sure he or she gets help and maintains treatment.”
Deputies from the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of gun shots fired at McCready’s Heber Springs, Ark., home at around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
There they found McCready on the front porch. She was pronounced dead at the scene from what appeared to be a single self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
When reached by phone today, the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office said the sheriff would be responding to questions later in the day.
McCready was ordered to enter rehab shortly after Wilson’s death, and her two children, Zander, 6, and 9-month-old Zayne were taken from her. She was released after one day to undergo outpatient care.
McCready scored a number-one Billboard country hit in 1996 with “Guys Do It All the Time,” but in recent years, the country crooner has received more media attention for her troubled personal life than her music.
McCready reportedly had a decade-long affair with baseball star Roger Clemens that began when she was a teen, the New York Daily News reported in 2008. Clemens’ attorney at the time denied any improper relationship, but McCready discussed details of the relationship on television.
“This is sad news,” Clemens said in a statement today, posted on the Houston Astros website. “I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice.”
She has been arrested multiple times on drug charges and probation violations and has been hospitalized for overdoses several times, including in 2010, when she was found unconscious at her mother’s home after taking a painkiller and muscle relaxant.
Her mother, Gayle Inge, was appointed to be her son Zander’s legal guardian in 2007 after McCready was arrested for violating probation on a drug-related charge. The boy’s father is McCready’s ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight.
Following a custody hearing in May 2011, McCready released a statement, saying, “We have progressed in a positive manner to reunite me and my son, Zander. I feel very optimistic this will happen in the near future.”
But just six months later, in November 2011, she was accused of violating a court order for failing to bring Zander back to her mother in Florida after a visit. The boy was placed in foster care while McCready and her mother worked out the custody dispute.
McCready’s struggle with substance abuse was broadcast in 2010 on the third season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
“You know what, I don’t think I’m ever going to be one of those people that has a normal, quiet existence,” McCready told ABC Radio in 2010. “I’ve been chosen for some reason to be bigger and larger than life in every way. Negative and positive.”
McCready, who was born and raised in southern Florida, moved to Nashville when she was 18 to start her music career.
Within a few months, she was starting to work with producer David Malloy, who got her tapes to RLG Records. The company signed her to a contract after seeing her in concert, giving her a record deal less than a year after her arrival in Nashville.
Her debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, went gold within six months of its release in April 1996, and eventually went multi-platinum. Two more followed: If I Don’t Stay the Night, in 1997; and I’m Not So Tough in 1999.
Her most recent album, I’m Still Here, featuring new versions of her early hits “Ten Thousand Angels” and “Guys Do It All the Time,” was released in March 2010.
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