Mindy Got a Gun: Celebrity Death Trap or Rehab?

I woke to the sad news this morning that Mindy McCready — mother of two young children, country music singer, and star of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab” — was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Those of us who watched Celebrity Rehab could see this end bearing down on Mindy from afar, and the question was always not if she’d be run over by life, but when.  As of yesterday, we have our answer, and now the mourning for her children must begin.

Country star Mindy McCready died of an apparent suicide on Sunday night, CNN reports. The singer was 37 and left behind two young children.

According to the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, McCready was found dead in Heber Springs, Arkansas of a single, apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She was found on the same porch where her boyfriend, David Wilson, the father of her younger son, was discovered after another apparent suicide in January.

The first thing I want to know is how did Mindy get a gun with her public history of court-mandated mental health and alcohol problems?  We also cannot escape the fact that Dr. Drew created a Magic Golem with that horrible Celebrity Rehab show that will haunt him until the day he dies.

In addition to Mindy, here’s the current “Celebrity Rehab” Death by Addiction List:  Mike Starr died in March 2011 and in May of the same year, so too, did Jeff Conaway. Rodney King died in June of last year and Joey Kovar in August. What a legacy of dead bodies for Dr. Drew Pinksy’s Rehab program for celebrities!

Here’s what I wrote about the death of Mike Starr in 2011:

I find Celebrity Rehab and Sober House to be depressive and memeingless.  The toxic relationships are difficult to tender and impossible to abide.  Should rehab and therapy and healing be done in private and away from the public square or shown weekly on VH1?  I can’t imagine anyone who is addicted ever wanting to attend a rehab program after watching those Pinsky train wreck soap operas.

I am most disappointed in Drew Pinsky, who appears to be a good man, but his direct involvement in the exploitation of celebrity addiction is stunning because he is trained to know better.  Drew Pinsky must know those people need privacy and ongoing, deep, therapy away from the very lights and microphones that likely helped push them down the path to their addiction in the first place.

Instead of facilitating addicted celebrities with the cover of a respected privacy, I believe Dr. Drew is doing them full, foul, harm for the world to see, and he is peddling tickets to the slaughterhouse so we can vicariously watch a melting bloodbath as many of those celebrities lose their minds, and sometimes — like Mike Starr — their lives.

Five months later, I wrote this article — Why We Were Right All Along about the Wrong of Celebrity Rehab — agreeing with Celebrity Rehab co-creator and producer, Bob Forrest, who regretted ever doing the show:

If I had to do it all over again I don’t think I’d walk into the office and say we should do this show,” Forrest said of “Celebrity Rehab.” “I don’t like the editing of it. I don’t like that they show the same thing over and over again. I don’t like what it’s become technically.

Bob is still right, and Dr. Drew is still wrong for not outright condemning his hallmark show.  The whole idea of Celebrity Rehab as television reality was terrible from the start because there’s no everlasting winning over a limited process; and now Dr. Drew and Bob will have to deal with the increasing mound of addicted dead bodies surrounding them.

Unfortunately, that leaves Dr. Drew in the uncomfortable position of hoping for death-by-natural-causes for his forever co-stars, because any other horrible, addicted, end will find fingers pointing back at him for not doing enough and for not saving them from their own demons that he identified and treated on television.

Is it Dr. Drew’s job to continue to serve the stars he used on his show for the rest of their lives?  No, but that doesn’t dim the notion that  he is somehow morally responsible for ongoing interaction and aftercare for all his Celebrity Rehab patients, if only because the show was memorialized, by his own choice, on television and will live on forever in reruns.

“Celebrity Rehab” will outlive Drew Pinsky and Bob Forrest — and I don’t think that sort of infamous immortality is good for them, or for the rehab process.  Sure, addiction is awful, and must be tended to every day, but for Dr. Drew to keep his good name, he must continue to try to save the lives of those he exposed on his reality television show, even if they reject his wants and habits — because he owes that daily devotion not only to them, but to us, who so hopefully believed in Dr. Drew and his process that he could actually help those lonely, desperate, people in need  –who just happened to be famous enough to get a star slot on his show.

Dr. Drew asked for their lives on television, and now he owns those rights in perpetuity.

13 comments

  • Goodness this is even more tragic and gruesome than I already thought. I consider my self lucky that I had no idea of Celebrity Rehab at all although knowing of it now fills in a lot of blanks to this tragic womans story. I feel for the children – how on earth are they going to escape from this horror and live normal lives ?

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    • On the show, Mindy was engaged in the rehab process and charming and you wholly rooted for her to get her life back and start winning again. I don’t think she found much success after leaving the show, though. I understand Dr. Drew reached out to her — but that really isn’t enough — he needed to make her a full Rehab offer, in private this time, and at no expense to her to set her right.

      You’re right that her children will suffer the most. They are entirely rudderless now and there’s no explanation that will ever make any of this make any sense to them.

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  • The idea of what Dr. Drew was trying to do was a good one. On the show, people appeared to get pretty much better. Sober House was the next step in his shows, and that sort of worked too, but not as good as Rehab. He forgot to do “Sober Living” though, and that’s where it all fell apart. If you start something on TV, you sort of need to finish it all the way even if it’s for the rest of your life. If you don’t want that commitment, then don’t ask people to join you in the first place.

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    • Sober House was a scary show. There was not enough support for the staff. Celebrity brings a whole new, horrifying, angle to the healing process that is not good thing. Dr. Drew was not involved enough in the daily ramblings of Sober House.

      I agree, a “Sober Living” follow-up was needed — and we can only hope it was in someway provided in private for at least a little while.

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  • “I wish I hadn’t started the engine of the bus that is about to crash” is how Forrest’s statement sounds. He started the fire but now it burns beyond his control and he pleads helpless as more people are consumed by its hungry flames. Terrible tragedy, really.

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    • I think they really do have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of these Celebrities privately and off-the-record now. It isn’t fair, and it may not be standard practice — but neither is doing Drug and Addiction Rehab on reality TV!

      They’re in a grey and oozing area they have created by their own will and the fact that there’s no standard protocol in place is something that must be fixed, and the default must be to provide more, and deeper, ongoing care than not.

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  • This is so disheartening. I really hope that her children have someone that can explain this to them. Even if its not a family member. They are truly the ones that are going to need the support.

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  • UPDATE:

    I missed the part where Mindy also shot her dog:

    Troubled country singer Mindy McCready, the mother of two young sons, has died of an apparent suicide, in Heber Springs, Ark., police said Sunday. She was 37.

    “She shot herself and the dog,” a source told E! News.

    http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/Music/2013/02/17/Report-Singer-Mindy-McCready-shoots-self-and-dog-to-death/UPI-82831361156048/?spt=mps&or=2

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  • Dr. Drew finally faces reality and stands down from his indefensible precipice — all while still feeling sorry for himself and not his dead patients:

    “These are really sick people. That’s why they die. These are people with life-threatening addiction,” he said. “We do what we always do and let them run the cameras.”

    “I’m tired. It’s very stressful. It’s very intense for me. And to have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease–and I have to take the blame for that? Rodney King has a heart attack, I take blame for that?” Drew said. He said the celebrities were capable of deciding whether or not to be on a reality show: “Their cognition is not that impaired. They can understand things.”

    http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/celebrity_rehab/2013_May_06_drew-tired-of-blame

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  • Pingback: Year of the Tongue: Winding 2013 Back in the Mouth « Boles Blogs

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