Vicky Cornell, the bereaved wife of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, has spoken out about her husband’s death in her first TV interview since he committed suicide, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Vicky — who chatted with “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts for a segment that will air on Wednesday, February 21 — claimed that her husband was the “furthest thing away from a rock star junkie.”
“He was the best husband, the greatest father. I lost my soulmate and love of my life,” the widow said. “He wanted to be there for his family, for his children. He loved his life, he would never have ever left this world.”
Vicky cried as she shared details of her grieving process.
“I know that people say, you know, you can’t blame yourself and I’m trying not to,” she said. “But there were signs.”
She then spoke about perceptions people have around addiction.
“People think that addiction is like ‘Oh you were an addict,’ and people don’t recognize it as a disease,” she said. “I feel guilty of the same thing. You think addiction is a choice and it’s not.”
Cornell took his own life in May of last year at the age of 52 following a Soundgarden concert in Detroit. A toxicology report discovered he had Narcan, Ativan, barbiturates and other prescription drugs in his system at the time of his death. Vicky reportedly committed to donating $100,000 to the Chris Cornell Music Therapy Program at the Seattle-based nonprofit Childhaven since he died.
“Chris was always interested in protecting traumatized children who had suffered physical or psychological abuse,” she said. “He always felt music was a way to heal even neurological and emotional conditions.”
“His promise was to help the most vulnerable children,” she continued. “My vow now is to keep his promise, and what better way to honor Chris and his hometown than by creating a music program to help these babies heal.”
According to US Weekly, Vicky has announced plans to commission a memorial statue to be placed in Cornell’s hometown of Seattle.
Vicky has reportedly hired sculptor and artist Wayne Toth to design and create the statue.
“He has already given me a design and the children and I love it,” she told The Seattle Times. Cornell and Vicky have two children together, daughter, Toni, 12 and son, Christopher, 11. He was also the father to a daughter, Lillian, from his first marriage.
The statue will reportedly take about seven months to complete and they are working to find a location in the meantime. Vicky said she is open to suggestions as they continue their search.
“He is Seattle’s son, and we will be bringing him home and honoring him, I hope, with all of you, your love and support,” she said.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255