In May 2010, she was hospitalized briefly after police responded to an overdose call at a home in North Fort Myers, Fla., owned by her mother. This followed a stint on "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," where she declared herself to be clean from drugs. She is the fifth celebrity appearing on that show to have died.
But her troubles began earlier. In 2004, she was charged with obtaining the painkiller OxyContin fraudulently at a pharmacy. She pleaded guilty and was placed on three years' probation.
She violated the probation with a drunken driving arrest in May 2005. A few days after that arrest, she was beaten and her boyfriend at the time was charged with attempted criminal homicide. Then she attempted suicide in July 2005, overdosed in September 2005 and slit her wrists in December 2008.
Also that year, McCready was charged in Arizona with hindering prosecution and unlawful use of transportation. Those charges stemmed from an alleged attempt in June 2005 to purchase two high performance boats, but she claimed she was trying to stop a con man.
In July 2007, she was arrested in her hometown of Fort Myers, Fla., on misdemeanor charges of scratching her mother on the face during a scuffle and resisting sheriff's deputies.
She made headlines again in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with baseball great Roger Clemens. Published reports at the time said she met the pitcher at a Florida karaoke bar when she was 15 and he was 28 and married.
In June 2008, McCready was arrested and charged with violating her probation by falsifying her community service records relating to the 2004 drug charge. A month later, she entered an extended care facility for undisclosed treatment, and followed that with a 60-day jail sentence in the Williamson County jail.
McCready found some peace after her appearance on "Celebrity Rehab" and told The Associated Press in early 2010 she hoped to get her career restarted, write a book about her experiences and begin production on a reality show. She felt she'd finally gained some control over her life.
"It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time," she said. "I call my life a beautiful mess and organized chaos. It's just always been like that. My entire life things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself. I think that's really the life of a celebrity, of a big, huge, giant personality."
Talbott reported from Nashville, Tenn. Associated Press writer Tamara Lush contributed to this report from Tampa, Fla.