"Yes, that is sad news. I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice."
McCready also was engaged to actor Dean Cain in 1997, but their relationship fell apart as well.
Her troubles weren't just romantic. Over time she was arrested for fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, probation violation, misdemeanor assault of her mother Gayle Inge and other problems.
In 2010, after a stint on Dr. Drew Pinsky's "Celebrity Rehab 3" where she was treated for "love addiction," she told The Associated Press she may have finally found love and the strength to get her life back on track.
Pinsky, who had no comment Sunday, called McCready an "angel" in the season finale and expressed hope she would continue to seek treatment in a later interview. McCready suffered a seizure in one of the show's scarier moments. Tests showed she had suffered brain damage, something she attributed to her abuse at the hands of McKnight.
McCready is the fifth celebrity to pass away since appearing on Pinsky's show and the third from Season 3. Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and "Real World" participant Joey Kovar both died of overdoses.
She entered her relationship with Wilson, a producer and musician who was 34 when he died last month, a short time later. She'd just met Wilson and talked openly about their relationship in the 2010 interview. Wilson declined to speak on the record.
With a publicist, reporters, cameras, makeup artists and musicians swirling around her during a press day for her last album, "I'm Still Here," McCready fended off questions about a sex tape and said she and Wilson started out as friends.
"And I've never had a relationship like that before where we started completely as friends," she said. "It turned into friends really caring about each other and then it turned into love and I've never had that happen before."
Things didn't remain calm for long, though. Unhappy with custody arrangements, McCready took her older son from her mother, the boy's legal guardian, in late 2011. She fled to Arkansas without permission over what she called child abuse fears. Authorities eventually found McCready hiding in a home without permission and took the boy into custody.
She and Wilson had their son in April 2012, and she regained custody of Zander in December. But Wilson's death appears to have led to another dark period.
"I met Mindy at 23 coming off of a big record, and from knowing her as personal as I did back then, sometimes being famous can hurt you," McKnight said in a phone interview Monday from Tampa, Fla. "I think she was too young. I think that she was having some personal issues in her life and her family anyways, and when she got famous ... she started mixing booze and pills and the negativity, it took the best of her."
Music Writer Chris Talbott reported from Nashville, Tenn. Sports Writer Noah Trister, in Kissimmee, Fla., contributed to this report.
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