Scott Weiland’s Ex-Wife Pens Heartbreaking Essay About Not Glorifying His Death

Last week, Scott Weiland, lead singer of the bands Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, died suddenly at the age of 48. While it’s still unclear what the cause of death was, Weiland had long struggled with drug addiction, leading many to reasonably suspect that his death was from drugs. Weiland is survived by his wife, Jamie Wachtel, and his two children from a previous marriage. Late yesterday, Rolling Stone published an open letter from Weiland’s ex-wife and mother of his two kids, Mary Forsberg, written on behalf and with the assistance of their two children, Noah, 15, and Lucy, 13. In the letter, Forsberg acknowledges was so many loved ones of addicts know deep in their bones — that the person who died was gone a long time ago, and what lost with their physical death was hope.

We don’t want to downplay Scott’s amazing talent, presence or his ability to light up any stage with brilliant electricity. So many people have been gracious enough to praise his gift. The music is here to stay. But at some point, someone needs to step up and point out that yes, this will happen again – because as a society we almost encourage it. We read awful show reviews, watch videos of artists falling down, unable to recall their lyrics streaming on a teleprompter just a few feet away. And then we click “add to cart” because what actually belongs in a hospital is now considered art.

Forsberg reveals the effort she had to put into shielding her children from their father’s addictive behavior and antics, while still doing what she could to encourage a positive relationship between them. Her letter serves as a reminder that drug-addicted artists like him, whom we revere and celebrate, leave a trail of destruction in their wake and the blow isn’t softened by another brilliant album or successful tour. Weiland was apparently a lackluster parent at best, failing to pay child support or participate in his children’s everyday lives the way most fathers would.

They have never set foot into his house, and they can’t remember the last time they saw him on a Father’s Day. I don’t share this with you to cast judgment, I do so because you most likely know at least one child in the same shoes. If you do, please acknowledge them and their experience. …

This is the final step in our long goodbye to Scott. Even though I felt we had no other choice, maybe we never should have let him go. Or maybe these last few years of separation were his parting gift to us – the only way he could think to soften what he knew would one day crush us deep into our souls. Over the last few years, I could hear his sadness and confusion when he’d call me late into the night, often crying about his inability to separate himself from negative people and bad choices. I won’t say he can rest now, or that he’s in a better place. He belongs with his children barbecuing in the backyard and waiting for a Notre Dame game to come on. We are angry and sad about this loss, but we are most devastated that he chose to give up.

As the child of a longtime drug addict who died from his addiction, I feel Mary Forsberg’s words so viscerally, though I never had to contend with the masses idealized vision of him. In many ways, I felt like my own dad died 15 years before his heart stopped, and November 14, 2012 is simply the date when the hope that he would ever get better was lost. My heart goes out to all of Weiland’s loved ones; to them he was a dad not a rockstar. His shortcomings as a parent were as much if not more of a part of his legacy as his contributions to rock ‘n’ roll.

You can read the full open letter over at RollingStone.com.