Country singer Mindy McCready dead in apparent suicide
A source close to McCready has told TMZ that the singer shot her dog before turning the gun on herself.
Born Malinda Gayle McCready on November 30, 1975, in Fort Myers, Florida, McCready began singing as a child in her Pentecostal church, graduating high school at the age of 16 to pursue a career as a musician. By the age of 18, she had moved to Nashville and signed with BNA Records, which released her song "Ten Thousand Angels," hitting Number 6 on the Hot Country chart in 1996. Her debut album sold over 1.2 million copies, followed by hits like "A Girl's Gotta Do (What a Girl's Gotta Do)," "Maybe He'll Notice Her Now," and the popular anthem decrying gender double standards, "Guys Do It All the Time," her only number-one song.
But all told, hers was not a happy story; continued success eluded McCready, and she remained in the public eye largely due to a host of personal problems plaguing her over the years. In 2004, she was arrested for using a fake prescription to procure the painkiller OxyContin. The following year she was charged with driving under the influence and with a suspended license, and soon after, charged in Arizona with identity theft, unlawful use of transportation, unlawful imprisonment, and hindering prosecution. In 2007, she was arrested in Fort Myers and charged with battery and resisting arrest after a domestic incident involving her mother, and the next week was taken into custody in Nashville for violating her probation. In 2008, she was again arrested for violating the terms of her probation, and during the next two years spent time in and out of jail.
McCready was linked romantically to hockey player Drake Berehowsky and to one-time fiancé, Lois & Clark star Dean Cain, as well as songwriter Billy McKnight, who was charged with attempted murder in 2005 after beating and choking her. She reportedly attempted suicide twice that year, before giving birth to their son in 2006. In 2008, news reports revealed that McCready had been involved in a long-term affair with baseball star and family friend Roger Clemens, starting when the singer was just 16 (he denied the affair was sexual). She would again attempt suicide that year, before appearing on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010, one of several trips to rehab for the singer.
Things started to look up for McCready as she continued recording, releasing her first album in eight years, I'm Still Here, to critical praise in 2010, and developing a relationship with producer David Wilson, with whom she had a son last April.
Her death, however, comes just a month after Wilson's, who is believed to have shot himself on the same porch of the home they shared in a wooded community of lakefront residences north of Little Rock. His death is being investigated as a suicide, though some news agencies had recently pressed her on this issue, including an interview with NBC's Today show in which she called Wilson her soul mate and caregiver to her sons, adding, "I just keep telling myself that the more suffering that I go through, the greater character I'll have." In the interview, McCready was pressed to answer whether she and Wilson had argued that evening about an affair, and whether she had shot him. "Oh, my God," the interview transcript reads. "No. Oh, my God. No. He was my life. We were each other's life."
McCready's two children had been removed from her home by a judge earlier this month, and she was committed for two days to a treatment facility for evaluation. The children remain in foster care and were not home at the time of their mother's death.
Reports of her death hit Twitter by Sunday night, with several country stars commenting on her life and the sad news. "I grew up listening to Mindy McCready...so sad for her family tonight. Many prayers are going out to them," wrote Carrie Underwood. "Oh my! Mindy. Dear sweet girl. This is so sad. It just breaks my heart what addiction continues to take from this life," was the comment from Wynonna Judd. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks aptly contributed this thought: "Too much tragedy to overcome. R.I.P Mindy McCready." And from Chely Wright: "Really really sad to learn the news about Mindy McCready. I will pray for her children and I hope that people are gentle with her memory."