Vicky Cornell, wife of the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, is opening up about the tragic death of her husband.
Vicky sat down with “Good Morning America” for her first on-camera interview since the musician’s suicide in May 2017 at age 52, and she reflected on life without her husband and the role addiction played in his death.
“I know that people say, you know, you can’t blame yourself. And I’m trying not to, but there were signs,” Vicky tearfully told host Robin Roberts during the emotional sit-down.
“People think that addiction is like, ‘Oh, you were an addict,’ and people don’t recognize it as a disease,” she explained. “I was, I feel, guilty of the same thing. You think addiction is a choice, and it’s not.”
The late singer and his wife tied the knot in 2004 and share two children — 13-year-old daughter Toni and 12-year-old son Christopher. Chris also has a 17-year-old daughter Lillian, from his previous marriage to Susan Silver.
The acclaimed musician was candid throughout his career about his addiction to various substances, including alcohol and prescription drugs, which he battled for many years, and managed to overcome many of his addictions.
“My husband was the furthest thing from a rock star junkie. He just wasn’t,” Vicky shared with GMA. “He was the best husband, the greatest father. I lost my soul mate and the love of my life.”
Before his death, Chris had a prescription for the anxiety medicine Ativan. According to a statement Vicky released to ET following Chris’ death, her husband called her the night he died and told her he “may have taken an extra Ativan or two.”
Vicky then called security at the MGM Grand in Detroit — where he was staying after performing with Soundgarden at the Fox Theater — to check on him.
The singer was found dead in his hotel room. His death was later ruled a suicide. The coroner stated in the official report that drugs did not play a role in his death.
However, Vicky believes that her husband’s judgement was impacted by his medication when he took his life.
“He wanted to be there for his family, for his children. He loved his life. He would never have ever left this world,” Vicky told Roberts. “I don’t think that he could make any decisions because of the level of impairment.”
She shared similar sentiments at the time of her husband’s death, telling ET in a statement that he “loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”
Vicky’s full, emotional interview with Good Morning America airs Wednesday, Feb. 21 on ABC.
For a look back at the beloved grunge rocker’s groundbreaking life and legacy, watch the video below.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).