Heber Springs, Ark. • Perhaps there was one heartbreak too many for Mindy McCready.
The former country star apparently took her own life on Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, Ark. Authorities say McCready died of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot to the head. An autopsy is planned. She was 37 and left behind two young sons.
McCready had attempted suicide at least three times since 2005, as she struggled to cope amid a series of tumultuous public events that marked much of her adult life.
Speaking to The Associated Press in 2010, McCready smiled wryly while talking about the string of issues she’d dealt with during the last half-decade.
"It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time," she said of 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."
This time it seems the whirlwind overwhelmed McCready.
Her death comes a month after that of David Wilson, her longtime boyfriend and the father of her youngest son. He is believed to have shot himself on the same porch of the home they shared in Heber Springs, a small vacation community about 65 miles north of Little Rock. His death also was investigated as a suicide.
It was the most difficult moment in a life full of them. McCready issued a statement last month lamenting his death. She called him her soulmate and a caregiver to her sons in an interview with NBC’s "Today" show.
Melinda Gayle McCready arrived in Nashville in 1994, still in her teens with tapes of her karaoke vocals and earned a recording contract with BNA Records. She had a few memorable moments professionally, scoring her first No. 1 hit almost immediately.
"Guys Do It All the Time," a self-assured dig at male chauvinism, endeared her to female fans in 1996. She also scored a hit with "Ten Thousand Angels," and her album of that title sold 2 million copies.
It’s unclear what circumstances led to McCready taking her own life, but it appears she was struggling again with twin issues that have persisted for years: substance abuse and the custody of her children.
She checked into court-ordered rehab and gave her children up to foster care earlier this month after her father asked a judge to intervene, saying she’d stopped taking care of herself and her sons, and that she was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.
It’s unclear why McCready was out of rehab.
Billy McKnight, McCready’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her oldest son, said the children remain in foster care.
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