Country Star Takes Life

Mindy McCready, dead at 37 (courtesy of USA Today)

On a cold dark cloud with nowhere to fall but down, like a single, naked, unrelenting tear… I’m still here.

These are some of the lyrics from the title track of country star Mindy McCready’s most recent album, “I’m Still Here.” Unfortunately, words that were intended to express resilience and strength now represent tragedy.

The body of the 37-year-old singer was found Sunday on the porch of her Heber Springs, Arkansas home. Authorities report that she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Oddly enough, her boyfriend David Wilson died the very same way only a month before.

McCready first gained attention in 1996 when she released “Ten Thousand Angels,” her debut album. It sold more than two million copies and launched her career as a chart-topping country star. In all, McCready saw six of her albums and 14 of her songs reach the charts, and she was an inspiration to many artists that followed.

Sadly, McCready’s personal life was far from perfect. For years, she struggled with addiction and mental illness. And thanks to the media, most of her struggles and missteps were broadcast publicly for all the world to see.

In 2004, McCready received three years of probation for fraudulently obtaining the controlled substance Oxycontin. The following year, she was arrested for drunk driving and suffered abuse at the hands of boyfriend Billy McKnight, who was subsequently charged with attempted murder.

As if being choked by her boyfriend weren’t bad enough, 2005 also saw McCready overdose on drugs numerous times, arrested for drug charges, attempting suicide and becoming pregnant with McKnight’s child.

Another suicide attempt followed in 2008, with another drug overdose two years later. As a result, McCready joined the cast of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2010 and, it seemed to many, was poised for both recovery and a comeback.

Unfortunately, that never happened.

2010 also saw Vivid Entertainment release a sex tape entitled “Mindy McCready: Baseball Mistress” that showed the country star having sex with a boyfriend known only as “Peter.” However, it’s not widely known what effect this may have had on the young singer.

The sex tape released by Vivid Video (courtesy of

Life got worse for McCready in 2011 when she fought a very public custody battle for her oldest son Zander. Her mother was given custody of the child and, in response, McCready took the boy and retreated to her Arkansas home. When authorities went to retrieve Zander later, they found him hiding in a closet with his mother.

It’s obvious that McCready didn’t live the life that most people associate with stardom, aside from all the negative exposure in the media, that is. What is even more tragic is the fact that just last year, things seemed to be looking up for her. McCready was planning to release a book about her life and even posted the following message to her official fan website. In retrospect, her words make this latest news even more troubling.

“I haven’t had a hit in almost a decade. I’ve been beaten, sued, robbed, arrested, jailed and evicted,” she wrote. “But I’m still here. With a handful of people that I know and trust, a revived determination, and both middle fingers up in the air, I’m ready. I’ve been here before. I’m a fighter. I’m down, but I’ll never be out.”

If only this were true.

Farewell, Mindy McCready. Here’s hoping you find the peace in death that eluded you in life.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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