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Mindy McCready: Looking Back at Fallen Country Singer’s Storied Life and Career

Ron Galella Collection

Mindy McCready‘s apparent suicide on Sunday, Feb. 17, was merely the final act of a tumultuous life played out largely on the public stage. Fans of the country singer, and others who may have known her name but didn’t know her music, were shocked and saddened by her death, yet those who had followed the darker headlines that hounded the 37-year-old throughout the past two decades — and especially in the past several years — were somehow not as surprised at the heartbreaking turn of events. Although it only tells a small part of the entire story, The Boot presents this special timeline of the milestones, both triumphant and tragic, that shaped the life, career and public image of Mindy McCready.

Nov. 30, 1975: Malinda Gayle McCready is born in Fort Myers, Fla. Her parents divorce when she is 11 years old. Rebelious Mindy clashes with her stepfather but graduates high school (with honors) at 16. A year later she takes a karaoke demo to Nashville. Mindy soon meets — and falls in love — with producer David Molloy.

June 1995: One year after moving to Nashville, 19-year-old Mindy inks a deal with BNA Records.

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Dec. 1996: Mindy’s debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, featuring the Top 10 title track and No. 1 “Guys Do It All the Time,” is certified platinum for sales in excess of one million copies. It will eventually go on to sell more than two million.

May 1997: Mindy files for bankruptcy. Former manager Richard Haskins attempts to block the bankruptcy, alleging it is an attempt to avoid honoring a contract which pays him 25 percent of her entertainment income for nine years.

Sept. 1997: Actor Dean Cain proposes marriage to Mindy in Los Angeles, but the couple call it quits within a year.

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Nov. 1997: Mindy’s sophomore album, If I Don’t Stay the Night, is released to critical acclaim and achieves gold-record status. The music video for the album’s second single, “You’ll Never Know,” is directed by Cain.

Sept. 1999: Mindy parts ways with BNA Records following the release of her third album for the label, I’m Not So Tough. She goes on to sign with Capitol Records.

March 2001: Mindy’s neighbors file suit to have her evicted from her Nashville condo, claiming she makes too much noise. One neighbor even claims she has added to the stress of an already difficult pregnancy. A judge throws out the request.

June 2002: Mindy’s brother, Josh, is sentenced to four years in prison, for possession of more than 10,000 Ecstasy pills, with intent to sell them.

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Dec. 2002: Mindy parts ways with Capitol Records shortly after the release of a self-titled album, which peaks at No. 29.

Aug. 2004: The singer is arrested at her home south of Nashville on charges of drug fraud, having purchased OxyContin at a pharmacy six months earlier using a fake prescription. In November, she pleads guilty and is fined $4,000 and placed on three years probation.

May 2005: Mindy is arrested for DUI. Two days later, she is taken to a Nashville hospital after being beaten by her ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, who is charged with attempted murder.

July 2005: A week after being charged in Arizona with identity theft, Mindy is discovered unconscious in the lobby of a Tampa Holiday Inn. A four-page suicide note is found. She is hospitalized for a drug overdose.

Aug. 2005: Mindy is put behind bars in Florida for violating her probation by leaving Tennessee. She is transferred to the Williamson County Jail south of Nashville.

Brad Barket, WireImage

Sept. 2005: Her downward spiral continues as Mindy is hospitalized following her second overdose in a two-month period.

March 2006: Mindy’s first son, Zander, is born in Nashville. Throughout the remainder of 2006, she is in and out of courtrooms defending a drunk-driving charge (of which she is found not guilty) and of driving on a suspended license (of which she is found guilty). A contempt of court charge, for arriving to the courthouse 10 minutes late on the trial’s first day, is dropped. She also pleads guilty to violating her probation.

July 2007: Following an altercation with her mother at her Fort Myers home, Mindy is arrested on charges of assault and resisting arrest. Four days later, she is arrested in Nashville for violating her probation.

Sept. 2007: Mindy begins serving a one-year sentence in the Williamson County Jail. She is released after three months.

April 2008: A New York Daily News story alleges Mindy had a 10-year affair with baseball star Roger Clemens. The article states that the two met in a Florida karaoke bar when Mindy was a 15-year-old aspiring singer and Clemens was a 28-year-old Boston Red Sox pitcher — and a married father of two. Mindy responds with “I cannot refute anything in the story.”

June/July 2008: Mindy is again arrested on a probation violation. The following month, she is in a Nashville hospital emergency room, diagnosed with a nervous breakdown. In July, she checks into a rehab facility.

Nov. 2008: Mindy flies to Los Angeles for a consultation with psychologist/TV talk show host, Dr. Phil. One month later, she is in the emergency room again, having slashed her wrists in another apparent suicide attempt.

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Aug. 2009: Mindy, who is participating in the VH1 reality series, “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” is accused by her roommate, teen pageant queen Kari Ann Peniche, of stealing a computer drive which contained nude footage of Peniche with actors — and married couple — Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart. Mindy fights back, telling The Boot the former beauty queen stole from her.

Jan. 2010: During the second episode of “Celebrity Rehab,” Mindy is shown suffering a seizure.

March 2010: Mindy releases what will be her final studio album, I’m Still Here. She performs the title track on “Celebrity Rehab.”

May 2010: The singer is in a courtroom in an attempt to regain custody of her son. She appears in court again in September for the same purpose. Also this month, a sex tape titled “Mindy McCready: Baseball Mistress” is released, in spite of a cease-and-desist letter from a Nashville-based attorney.

Nov.-Dec. 2011: A judge orders Mindy, who has announced she is pregnant with twins, to return Zander to Florida, just days after she takes him from his father’s home in Cape Coral, which violates court-ordered custody privileges. She and her son are found hiding in a closet in a home in Heber Springs, Ark. In early December, Mindy claims she took her son from his grandparents because “it was the right thing to do,” alleging her mother and stepfather caused physical and emotional distress to her son. The boy’s father, Billy McKnight, wants his son sent to Florida.

Feb. 2012: A judge orders that Zander remain in foster care.

April 2012: Mindy gives birth to her second son, Zayne. Although, according to a rep for the singer, a misinterpreted sonogram supported initial feelings that she was carrying twins, it is later discovered she was only pregnant with one. The boy’s father is Mindy’s boyfriend, musician and producer David Wilson.

Jan. 13, 2013: David Wilson, 34, dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the couple’s home in Heber Springs, Ark. Mindy and David had been given full custody of Zander just before Christmas.

Jan. 24: Reports surface that suggest Mindy is allegedly being investigated in connection with Wilson’s death. Mindy’s spokesperson tells The Boot they “are working with authorities to obtain a formal statement on the status of the David Wilson investigation and they hope that statement will “eliminate the erroneous information” in published tabloid reports.

Jan. 29: Mindy appears on the “Today” show, to address suspicions she was in some way involved with David Wilson’s death. Although she confirms that the couple fought the night David died, she adds that rumors he was planning to leave her — or that he was having an affair — were untrue.

Feb. 6: Reports surface that Mindy’s children have been taken by child services and the troubled singer committed to a treatment facility. She is released just one day later and placed in 21 days of outpatient treatment.

Feb. 18: The country-music community comes to grips with the loss of Mindy McCready, who dies Feb. 17 from what Arkansas police suspect is a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She is found on the same front porch in Heber Springs, Ark., where boyfriend David Wilson died one month earlier. “I will remember her very, very fondly,” Carolyn Dawn Johnson posted in a Facebook message. “I wish life hadn’t gotten so hard for her.”

Watch Mindy McCready’s ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ Video

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