Mindy McCready Death: Is Celebrity Rehab Exploitation to Blame?

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News of troubled country singer Mindy McCready's death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound took the celebrity news world by storm late Sunday.

Criticism of VH1's Celebrity Rehab spread almost as fast.

Mindy is now the fifth celebrity cast member to die since appearing on the show, hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, and the third from Season 3 alone.

Mindy McCready and Dr. Drew

The Celebrity Rehab stars who died before McCready:

  • Mike Starr, bassist for Alice in Chains
  • Joey Kovar, a Real World participant
  • Rodney King of L.A. riots fame
  • Actor Jeff Conaway

Starr and Kovar overdosed, King was found dead in his pool with alcohol and marijuana in his system, Conaway died of pneumonia and an infection.

All stirred up rumors of a curse and a debate about the show's purpose/helpfulness. Mindy's apparent suicide upped the pitch of the reaction, however.

Singer Richard Marx, who made news slamming Chris Brown earlier this month, compared Pinsky to Dr. Jack Kevorkian on Twitter: "Same results."

Marx backed off later, saying the crack went too far.

He reiterated, however, that the show is ... well ... "It is, however, my opinion that what Dr. D does is exploitation and his track record is not good," he wrote.

VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew is not currently on the air. Pinsky switched his focus to non-celebrities in Season 6 last fall and changed the title to Rehab.

Season 3, shot in 2009, featured McCready, Dennis Rodman, Tom Sizemore, Mackenzie Phillips, Heidi Fleiss and a handful of lesser known celebrities.

McCready was a sympathetic character on the show and appeared far less damaged than her fellow cast members in terms of full-fledged addiction.

Pinsky diagnosed her with "love addiction." Mindy suffered a seizure while on the show, further endearing her to Dr. Drew and the others.

In an interview with The Associated Press several months later, he said McCready had a good shot at recovery if she remained in treatment.

"Like with anybody I treat, it's really up to them," Pinsky said. "I never know. If they do the work they're supposed to do, yes (there can be success)."

"If she does the work it will be great. It's up to her how much of that she does, how much she feels she needs to do. It seems like she's doing rather well."

Three years later, she's dead.

Her body was found on the front porch of a home she shared with boyfriend David Wilson, who died in the same place - and fashion - 36 days earlier.

Pinsky issued a statement Sunday night after he learned of Mindy's demise.

"She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many," the statement said.

"Although I have not treated her for a few years, I had reached out to her upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger (child)."

"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."

What do you think? Does Celebrity Rehab actually help its cast members? Or does it do the opposite and actually make matters worse?

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Mindy McCready Biography

A Mindy McCready Image
Mindy McCready was a country singer who had success in the 1990s but spiraled out of control for years until her death in early 2013. It... More »
Fort Myers, Florida
Full Name
Malinda Gayle McCready