The widow of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has come forward to say she doesn’t believe her husband meant to kill himself, in her first interview since the singer’s death on May 18, which was ruled a suicide.
Vicky Cornell sat down with ABC’s Robin Roberts, and told her that Chris ‘would never have ever left this world [on purpose].’
‘He wanted to be there for his family, for his children… he loved his life,’ she said.
Vicky also said that Chris had been battling addiction, and that she believed he was too impaired to make decisions on the night that he died in Detroit, Michigan.
Vicky Cornell, widow of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, has come forward to say she doesn’t believe he meant to kill himself, and that he was too impaired to make decisions when he died
‘He was the best husband, the greatest father,’ Vicky told Robin, in the emotional interview. ‘I lost my soulmate and the love of my life.’
Chris, 52, was already gone from this world when he was found on the floor in the bathroom of his hotel room in Detroit, at around 12.05 am Eastern on May 18.
He was wearing only a torn grey tee shirt and black underwear, with a band around his neck.
Police and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office immediately ruled his death a suicide by hanging.
Vicky, however, thinks there’s more to the story.
Chris Cornell and Vicky (Karayiannis) Cornell arrive to the Los Angeles premiere of ‘The Promise’ at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 12 in Hollywood
‘My husband was the furthest thing from a rockstar junkie. He just wasn’t [those things],’ Vicky told Robin, prefacing intimate details she was about to reveal about her husband’s continuing battle with substance abuse.
When Chris was found already dead just over an hour after what would be his final performance with his band at the Motor City’s Fox Theatre, he had drugs in his system.
The musician had a prescription for Ativan, a brand name for lorazepam, which is a drug used to treat anxiety.
The toxicology report released on June 2 showed he did, in fact, have lorazepam in his system at the time he died, along with pseudoephedrine, a decongestant; naloxone, which is used to counter effects of opioids; butalbital, a sedative, and caffeine, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The report also stated that the drugs ‘did not contribute to the cause of death.’
Chris (second from left) and Vicky (right) attend ‘The Promise’ screening with their children, son, Christopher (left), age 12, and daughter, Toni (second from right), age 13, in New York at Paris Theatre on April 18
‘You believe it was the addiction that led him to do what he did that night, in taking his life?’ Roberts asked the widowed mother-of-two.
‘I don’t think that he could make any decisions, because of the level of impairment,’ Vicky said.
She was dressed in all black from head to toe, as she opened up to the Good Morning America anchor about feeling like she could have done more to save her husband’s life.
‘I know that people say that you can’t blame yourself, and I’m trying not to, but there were signs,’ she said, choking back tears and covering her mouth with her hand to conceal her quivering lip, as she got the last word out.
Vicky was referring to signs that her late husband has been using drugs again.
Previously, she said she had spoken with Chirs after the show and he was slurring his words, saying he may have taken ‘an extra Ativan or two.’
Chris performs at Sleep Country Amphitheater on August 29, 2014 in Ridgefield, Washington
When Vicky couldn’t reach him later after he had gotten back to his hotel, she called his security guard to break into his room, which is where he was found, already deceased.
Robin tried to give comfort to the musician’s widow, echoing her words that she shouldn’t blame herself for her husband’s untimely death.
‘You can’t blame yourself, Vicky. You relapse after cancer. I had a relapse and nobody questioned it. Why is it when you have an addiction, which is an illness, why is it any different?’ Roberts asked, rhetorically.
‘It’s not,’ she added, answering her own question, seated across from the watery-eyed, grieving woman.
Vicky had momentarily averted her eyes, then sighed, as she looked back up from where her gaze had been fixed on the ground to make eye contact with Roberts.
‘People think that addiction is like, “Oh, you were an addict,” and people don’t recognize it as a disease, and I was, I feel, guilty of the same thing,’ she said. ‘You think addiction is a choice, and it’s not.’
Chris and Vicky, whose maiden name is Karayiannism, had been married for 13 years. Their children are daughter, Toni, age 13, and son, Christopher, age 12.
Chris also had another daughter, Lillian, age 17, from a previous marriage to Susan Silver, who was also the manager of Soundgarden.
Vicky’s full interview with Robin will air on Good Morning America on Wednesday.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-TALK.
The Cornell family is seen here at the world premiere of Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ at Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City