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Mindy McCready

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Malinda Gayle McCready, better known as Mindy, was practically born with a microphone in her hand and a song in her heart. She was extremely dramatic as a child and brought a ray of sunshine into so many lives. She was vivacious, intense, creative and unbelievably humorous. Her beginnings were modest as she stood on her toy box with a hairbrush as her microphone, belting out "I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas" at the top of her lungs. She dressed in her mother's clothes and looked for the applause.

Mindy remembers a divine experience at a very young age. She was only 3 and recalls singing in front of the entire congregation at her local church. The feeling that came over her was the instant emotional connection to her audience and being compelled to sing even through her fear. She had an understanding -- even then -- that she was created to sing.

She was accustomed to singing for her family; songs such as "This Little Light of Mine," and "Jesus Loves Me," but on that particular day she sang "Is There Anything I Can Do For You?"

Mindy won first prize writing an essay in the second grade called, "What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?" Mindy won talent shows singing on cruises and always pretended she was a famous singer in her play-time. She turned rooms in her house into recording studios. Once, she sold tickets to neighbors and friends to come to her concert.

Mindy took years of dance and piano lessons but never strayed from her first love: singing. She began voice lessons at an early age as well as opera, and she graduated with honors from high school at the age of 16. Although college was expected from her family, Mindy followed her heart and moved to Nashville to follow her dream. Within a year, her fairytale dream became a reality. She was signed to the most prestigious record label in Nashville and in a moment her entire life changed. She was overwhelmingly successful.

Her first album, Ten Thousand Angels, produced four hits and sold over 4,000,000 copies. Mindy toured with major artists and her second album sold more than 825,000 copies. She released two more albums and toured all over the country, as well as Europe, Scotland, and Brazil. She did radio promotions and toured to raise money for St. Jude's hospital, which she visited and became personally involved with some of the patients. She made national and international television appearances, and her album sales skyrocketed.

Mindy's promising career had ballooned from the Darling of Country into a tabloid frenzy. Her romantic endeavors included well-known athletes as well as a brief engagement to actor Dean Cain. Her last love affair plunged her into a well-publicized reckless and violent situation that has forced her to face herself and talk about her hell in domestic violence.

Mindy's life continues to play out in the media, despite the fact that she has not had a current radio single in over 3 years. There is an unexplainable fascination about her and she continues to be one of the most talked about artists in the news.

Mindy felt misunderstood and suffered a number of dramatic losses that seemed to manifest themselves all at once. She was desperately trying to secure a record contract when legal obstacles began to unfold. Her livelihood depended on the outcome of the legal issues. The pressure mounted and Mindy's finances and the uncertainty concerning her home and all she had worked for was at risk.

As a young teenager, Mindy endured watching her mother stay in an abusive relationship. She lacked tolerance and understanding and vowed openly this would never be her life. She was strong-willed, confident, and "in-your-face" about condoning abusive behavior. Mindy lied to her family and friends to keep them from knowing the pain she was suffering.

She was unable to meet unrealistic expectations so she continued to live a facade to those who had come to love her through her music. She was suffocating as she tried to camouflage the destruction in her life. Mindy looked for strength and compassion in what appeared to be an incredibly passionate relationship with Billy McKnight.

Billy was poetic and vowed his unconditional love for Mindy. He was critical as he secluded her from family and friends, telling her that no one could ever love her like he did. Mindy's low self-esteem made this attraction more volatile to a man who appeared to want her all to himself.

Mindy recalled how he said he loved her so much he would kill her if she tried to leave him. She became distraught and withdrawn, as his 'unconditional love' became fused with vile accusations and violent behavior. Billy described how he could bury her.

In moments of desperation she would call her mother and step-father Michael in the middle of the night and cry. Mindy had lost herself in circumstances and only recently realized that she had become the woman she vowed to never become.

Family members pleaded with her to get out of the tumultuous relationship before something drastic happened. Mindy described how she had given all of herself and how at this low place she had nothing left to give. She had helped McKnight with his singing career and had ignored her own professional situation, which had become desperate enough that she lost everything -- including her home.

After Billy savagely beat her and left her for dead, she admits to trying to make the relationship work. She spoke candidly on the Oprah Winfrey Show that she is now pregnant with Billy McKnight's baby and that she had pleaded with him to be sorry for hurting her.

On one of her suicidal attempts she wrote a letter, describing her unbelievable pain, considering all she had done to further his career and to help him with his sobriety. She quoted him, saying that "[Mindy] destroyed his life as well as the lives of his family."

Mindy began her career with a song called, "Is There Anything I Can Do For You?" Somewhere in the midst of this disturbing relationship, THAT Mindy died, doing everything she could for a man who almost killed her. It's been said that for every end there is a new beginning.

Is there life after death for Mindy? She looks in the mirror and doesn't recognize the woman she has become and she represents so many women across the country. She proclaims that Christ within her is trying to get her attention.

He promises the old will pass away; and all will become new. Mindy now looks for a new beginning and she asks God, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

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