Mindy McCready is the fifth member of the show Celebrity Rehab to die within the last two years, a record that has critics questioning the show and has its star speaking out.
McCready died on Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head. The country singer had many problems with drug abuse in the past and had reportedly attempted suicide multiple times. Her troubled life took a tragic turn last month when her boyfriend died of a gunshot wound in what appeared to be a suicide, though doubt was cast on McCready over whether she may have murdered him, E! News noted.
Her ongoing fight with pills and alcohol led Mindy McCready to join Celebrity Rehab in its third season, one that has gained a tragic record. Two of her castmates from that year had already died — Mike Starr of Alice in Chains overdosed in 2011, and Real World star Joey Kovar died in August of opiate intoxication.
They are not the only deaths — within the past five years, Rodney King and Jeff Conaway have also died.
Mindy McCready’s time on celebrity rehab was particularly hard. She suffered an on-air seizure in front of roommate Mackenzie Phillips, who mistakenly thought McCready was playing a joke.
The treatment of McCready and other celebrities on the show points to a troubling trend of taking private struggles and making them public, Buzzfeed author Kate Aurthur noted:
“That the person who recorded this scene off his television and uploaded it to YouTube, however, thought it was hilarious because of the seizure, strikes me as the terrible problem endemic to Celebrity Rehab. If you watched the show as a serious documentary, it had a lot to offer, and was unsparing and often moving. If you watched it as a hilarious spectacle, then — well, it’s hard to figure out how to end this sentence, because I think you’re awful. But reality TV sends these things out into the world, and there’s no controlling what a viewer’s reaction is going to be. It doesn’t help that Dr. Drew has sometimes seemed like a fame addict himself.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky, the star of Celebrity Rehab and the doctor behind the treatment of the trouble stars, issued a statement about Mindy McCready’s death, calling her a “lovely woman who will be missed by many.”
“Although I have not treated her for few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.
Pinsky did not address Mindy McCready’s suicide in relation to other deaths on Celebrity Rehab however.