Mindy McCready, a Singer Long Troubled, Dies at 37
Published: February 18, 2013
Her life was one of those aching odysseys sermonized about across the musical landscape in which she performed. The rocket rise to stardom. The volcanic men. The depression. The drugs and booze. The brushes with the law. The heartbreak. The suicide attempts.
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Such were the tangled threads of the country music singer Mindy McCready’s life.
In an interview with The Associated Press three years ago, she summarized her world as “a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time,” adding, “My entire life things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself.”
On Sunday afternoon Ms. McCready, 37, was found dead on the front porch of her house in Heber Springs, Ark., of what the police said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Just last month, David Wilson, a music producer who was her boyfriend, was also found dead at their home from a gunshot wound. His death is being investigated by the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office. Ms. McCready had denied any involvement in it.
Earlier this month, her two young sons were removed by the local authorities.
Long before the tumult and tragedy, she likened her life to a Cinderella story.
She was born Malinda Gayle McCready on Nov. 30, 1975, in Fort Myers, Fla. She began singing at her local church when she was 3, and took training for opera before gravitating to country music. As a teenager she would sing karaoke, favoring hits from the likes of Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire.
In 1994, she headed to Nashville, equipped with her karaoke tapes and a large reservoir of hope, and was soon signed to a recording contract. Within two years, she had her only No. 1 hit, a male chauvinism critique, “Guys Do It All the Time.” She said her kind of song was one where the women were equal to the men.
Her first album, “Ten Thousand Angels,” sold over two million copies. Soon she was singing at concerts alongside some of country’s megastars.
But dark clouds trailed her. As her personal struggles intensified, her record sales dwindled.
She fought depression, and abused drugs and alcohol. In 2004, she was charged with fraudulently obtaining painkillers. In 2005, she was charged with drunken driving.
Her romantic life featured its own turmoil. In 2005, Billy McKnight, a fellow country singer with whom she would have a son, was charged with attempted murder after the police said he had choked and beaten her.
Ms. McCready served brief jail sentences in 2007 and 2008 for probation violations.
One more controversial episode ensued in 2008, when allegations arose that Roger Clemens had used performance-enhancing drugs, and The Daily News in New York reported that she had had a romantic involvement with the pitcher since she was a teenager. He denied that they were anything more than friends.
Ms. McCready tried to kill herself at least three times from 2005 to 2010.
In 2009, like other troubled stars willing to allow the public to watch them repair themselves, she signed up to appear on the reality series “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.” On one episode, she suffered a seizure.
In the last few years, four other cast members from that series have also died.
After her appearance on the show, she spoke of reigniting her career. She mentioned writing a book and creating a reality show with her brothers. Her fifth and final album was released in 2010, titled, “I’m Still Here.”
But she soon found herself in a custody battle with her mother and Mr. McKnight over her elder son. She settled down with Mr. Wilson in the rural town of Heber Springs, and had a son with him last year.
After Mr. Wilson’s death, according to published reports, her father became troubled by her behavior and her drinking. A judge ordered her to undergo evaluation and treatment. Her sons were removed from her care.
She was found on Sunday next to Mr. Wilson’s dog, a Dogo Argentino, which the authorities believe she shot before killing herself.
In addition to her children, Zander, 6, and Zayne, 10 months, she is survived by her mother, Gayle Inge; her father, Tim McCready; two brothers, Josh McCready and Tim Jr.; a half-brother, Sky Phelan; and her stepfather, Michael Inge.
On Monday, radio stations were playing her hits, and other country stars were expressing sadness.