Mindy McCready's former boyfriend says he wasn't surprised by the news that the troubled country singer had apparently committed suicide.
"Well, as sad as it is, it didn't come as a major shock because she's just been battling demons for so long and, of course, I was around her when she attempted suicide twice and I knew it was in her," her ex, Billy McKnight, said Monday on the Today show.
McCready's body was found on Sunday on the front porch at her Heber Springs, Ark., home, the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. The 37-year-old, who had struggled with substance abuse and other issues for years, was found to be dead of "a single self-inflicted gunshot wound."
McCready, 37, leaves behind two sons, 6-year-old Zander and 10-month-old Zayne, who were placed in foster care when she entered court-ordered treatment at a facility earlier this month following the death of her boyfriend (and Zayne's father), David Wilson. The musician died of a gunshot wound in January, on the same porch where McCready took her own life, and the circumstances of the shooting remain under investigation. McCready, who has called Wilson her "soulmate," was not named a suspect.
McKnight, with whom McCready waged a public custody battle, is the father of Zander; McCready's messy, headline-generating personal life included charges of battery (against McKnight and her mother, Gayle Inge), as well as habitual drug and alcohol-related offenses, which led to incarceration and her stint on Celebrity Rehab. McCready reportedly attempted suicide two times prior. (She is the fifth death among ex-castmembers of the Dr. Drew-hosted VH1 show after Rodney King, Jeff Conaway, Real World's Joey Kovar and Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr.)
McKnight said on Today that he thinks a longer stay in the treatment facility might have saved McCready's life.
"I would like to think that," he said. "I don’t know how she got out. ... Mindy does have a way of talking her way out of situations that maybe she shouldn’t have been so good at."
He added: "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."
McKnight seeks to gain custody of Zander and also bring Zayne under his care, too.
“I would like to keep those boys being brothers together and try to turn my son’s life around," he said. "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."