Sunday, February 17, 2012
Perhaps there was one heartbreak too many for Mindy McCready.
The former country star appears to have taken her own life Sunday afternoon in Heber Springs, Ark. Authorities say McCready died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head and an autopsy is planned. She was 37, the mother of two young sons.
If confirmed, it was at least her fourth suicide attempt since 2005, ending a series of tumultuous public events that marked much of the singer's adult life.
Her death comes a month after that of David Wilson, her boyfriend and the father of her youngest son. He's believed to have shot himself on the same porch of the home they shared about 65 miles north of Little Rock, Ark., and his death also was investigated as a suicide.
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.
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, 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."
McCready also claimed to have carried on a decade-long affair with baseball star Roger Clemens that began was she was 15 years old and he was 28. Clemens denied that the relationship was sexual in nature.
"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.