After a lifetime courting tragedy, country star Mindy McCready 'shot family dog before committing suicide on porch where boyfriend killed himself'
McCready, who recorded five studio albums, and scored 12 hits on the US country music charts, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, was published in 2014.
Monday 18 February 2013
Her life was like a country music song, punctuated by tragedies, bad relationships and struggles with addiction. But Mindy McCready was not to have her redemptive final verse. The troubled singer committed suicide on Sunday at the age of 37.
She was found dead on the porch of her home in Arkansas, from what Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office said was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Just one month previously, on 13 January, police had been called to the house in Heber Springs, west of Memphis, where they discovered the body of McCready’s boyfriend, record producer David Wilson. He too appeared to have shot himself on the porch. The couple leave behind their 10-month-old son, Zayne, and six-year-old Zander, McCready’s son from a previous relationship. Both children were in foster care when she died.
McCready was born in Fort Myers, Florida, but moved to Nashville aged 18, where she circulated copies of her karaoke recordings and swiftly secured a record deal. Her debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, sold two million copies following its release in 1996. It included the single “Guys Do It All The Time”, which reached the top of the country music charts. But she would never achieve the same success again.
Last year, McCready wrote on her official website, “I haven’t had a hit in almost a decade. I’ve spent my fortune, tarnished my public view and made myself the brunt of punch line after punch line. I’ve been beaten, sued, robbed, arrested, jailed and evicted. But I’m still here… I’m a fighter. I’m down, but I’ll never be out.”
In recent years, McCready’s music had made fewer headlines than her arrest record. In 2004, she pleaded guilty to obtaining the addictive prescription painkiller OxyContin fraudulently at a pharmacy, and was sentenced to three years’ probation, which she violated with her arrest for drunk driving.
In 2011 she took Zander from her mother Gayle Inge, the child’s legal guardian, and fled to Wilson’s home in Arkansas, where the authorities found her hiding with her son in a closet. She had also attempted suicide at least three times previously.
Her love life, too, was unsettled. She claimed to have had a lengthy affair with married baseball player Roger Clemens, which began when she was 15 and he was 28. In 1997, she announced her engagement to actor Dean Cain, but the couple separated a year later. In 2005, her then-boyfriend – and Zander’s father – Billy McKnight was charged with attempted murder after he beat and choked her. Despite her problems with drugs and alcohol, McCready claimed her only “true addiction” was to violent relationships. Yet in Wilson she believed she’d found her “soulmate”.
In 2010 she appeared on the TV reality series Celebrity Rehab, in which cameras followed her and other stars as they sought treatment for their addictions.
McCready was yesterday being mourned by the country music community. Singer Carrie Underwood wrote on Twitter: “I grew up listening to Mindy McCready… so sad for her family tonight.”
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Jamie’s Sugar Rush, TV review: Defeated by school dinners, Oliver takes on a new enemy
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees