As the world mourns the loss of country star Mindy McCready, who was found dead in an apparent suicide on Sunday, the troubled singer’s ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, said he’s “not shocked” by her death.
“As sad as it is, it didn’t come as a major shock because she’s just been battling demons for so long,’’ McKnight said Monday on NBC's "Today" show. “Of course, I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her. I feel for her mother and her family and especially my son, but I can’t say that it shocked me.’’
McKnight, who is the father of her six-year-old son Zander, said “the demons that she hasn’t beaten were there.”
McCready, a 37-year-old who had battled substance abuse, was found late Sunday afternoon on the front porch of her Arkansas home. Police said neighbors heard two gunshots outside of her home, where authorities found McCready and her dog dead on the scene.
Most recently, McCready was admitted to an institution on Feb. 6, following the death of her fiancé, David Wilson, in January. According to police, Wilson’s death from a gunshot wound is still being investigated as a suicide or murder.
During this time, McCready’s two sons were placed in foster care during her treatment, which McKnight said was too short. McKnight said had McCready been institutionalized for a longer period of time, it may have been possible to prevent the troubled country singer from suicide.
“I don’t know how she got out. I don’t have those exact details,” McKnight said. “Mindy does have a way of talking her way out of situations that maybe she shouldn’t have been so good at.
“Perhaps staying in there and grieving around people that could help her over the death of her fiancé could’ve calmed her down, but the demons that she hasn’t beaten were there, and until she was going to face them, something was going to happen and everyone who knows her personally knew that. She would’ve had to probably stay in somewhere quite a long time until she really healed and started looking into herself for getting better.’’
Both of McCready’s children, Zander and nine-month-old Zayne, whose father was Wilson, remain in custody following the singer’s death. However, McKnight is hoping to regain custody of Zander, who has been the subject of a long custody battle over the years.
“(Zander) shouldn’t have been taken from me to begin with,’’ McKnight said. “He was taken out of Florida, and he has a happy home here. I can provide for him, and it’s just been a really big mess and enough is enough. He’s up there all alone. He has no family in Arkansas. He has plenty of family who love him here. He needs to come home,” McKnight said. “I would like to keep those boys being brothers together and try to turn my son’s life around. He’s had a rough first six years, and he deserves better than this, and my heart’s broken for him right now. I’m very worried.’’
According to People magazine, McKnight said: "I don't know what is going to happen to Zayne.”
McCready, who rose to fame after her album “Ten Thousand Angels” sold more than two million copies in 1996, has had her share of controversies over the years prior to her suicide. Battling domestic abuse and drug addiction, McCready was arrested several times for DUI and has attempted suicide before.
In 2004, she was arrested for faking prescriptions, followed by arrests for DUI in 2005. That same year, McKnight was arrested for domestic violence against McCready. Shortly after, McCready was found unconscious in a Florida hotel room, after an apparent suicide attempt by drug overdose. The same year, McCready became pregnant with McKnight's child and attempted suicide again with an antidepressant overdose.
After the birth of Zander in 2006, McCready told the New York Daily News in 2008 about an alleged affair with baseball star Roger Clemens when she was a teen.
She was charged with battery in 2007 for a fight with her mother. McCready attempted suicide again in late 2008, when she was found with slits on her wrists.
A sex tape featuring McCready hit the shelves in 2010 right before she was hospitalized for another drug overdose. The same year, she released her fifth and latest album, “I'm Still Here.”
McCready also appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" in 2010, where she suffered a seizure.
“It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time,” she told the Associated Press at the time about her life. “I call my life a beautiful mess and organized chaos. It's just always been like that. My entire life, things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself. I think that's really the life of a celebrity, of a big, huge, giant personality.”