Taylor Momsen is speaking out about battling depression and substance abuse following the death of Chris Cornell and her longtime producer, Kato Khandwala.
The “Gossip Girl” actress’s band, the Pretty Reckless, were on tour with Soundgarden in 2017 when frontman Cornell committed suicide.
“Opening for Soundgarden was the highest of highs for me,” she told People. “So to have it end so tragically was crushing. We were there that night in Detroit [when Chris died] and spoke that evening. To wake up to the news that he had passed was such a shock. I was not equipped to handle that.”
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Momsen cancelled the rest of the shows, but then received more horrific news 11 months later — her longtime producer and close friend Khandwala had died in a motorcycle accident at age 47.
“When I got that phone call that he died, that was the nail in the coffin for me,” she told the magazine. “I went into this hole of just utter depression and substance abuse. I was in a very unhealthy space.”
Momsen said that working on her latest album, Death by Rock and Roll, with her bandmates Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins helped pull her out of that dark place.
“I’d given up on life, but then I turned to music,” she shared. “It saved me. I am very lucky that I had my best friends by my side, pushing me in the new direction. Music has always been the constant.”
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The name of the album came from Khandwala, who used the phrase “all the time,” Momsen explained.
“It was like a code that we lived our life by, and that I still live my life by,” Momsen said. “It might sound really morbid to some people, but that is not its intention. It’s very much a battle cry for life — live life your own way. So, when Kato passed, that phrase became very relevant to me again.”
“I would consider this a rebirth in my life right now,” she added of the band’s latest album. “I really do. My band and I have been through so much, and the healing process is not over by any means, but we’re certainly well on our way. I want people to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a reason to keep moving forward.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.