Chris Daughtry suffered through two unspeakably traumatic experiences last year. And he’s only now finding the words to explain how he’s been dealing with his pain.
Eight months ago, the American Idol winner’s mother, Sandra, died of cancer. One week after her passing, his stepdaughter, Hannah Prince, committed suicide. Since losing them, he has taken a break from his music career to mourn. But he recently opened up about his ongoing grief while visiting The Kelly Clarkson Show.
“I think the hardest thing that I found — because I dealt with both very differently, processed both losses very differently — but I think the hardest thing, the common denominator in both, is the guilt. The ‘I wish I would have said this,” he shared. ” I wish I would’ve done this… I wish I would have, um, all the things.’”
Daughtry and Hannah’s mother, Deanna, married in 2000 when Hannah was only four. And throughout his life, the two forged a close relationship.
In an Instagram letter the day after her passing, he wrote how “absolutely devastated and heartbroken” he was to lose his oldest daughter so suddenly.
“I love you, I miss you. I wish I could hold you,” he added. “This hurts so deeply.”
In the post, he also reflected on the differences between his mother’s death compared to hers. Because of his mom’s disease, he was able to say goodbye and prepare himself for the inevitable. But Hannah’s death hit him hard, and he had no idea how to process what happened.
“Those moments of guilt are the hardest because you can’t do anything about it,” he told Clarkson. “And there’s always going to be reminders of what you could have done or whatever. And I tend to beat myself up a lot over it.”
Chris Daughtry’s Daughter’s Death Was Originally Thought to be a Homicide
What’s worse is that Chris Daughtry had to wait for answers surrounding his daughter’s death before he could even begin to process his feelings.
When police first found Hannah’s body inside her Nashville, TN, home, they believed that she was a victim of homicide. But days later, the District Attorney of Fentress County, Jared Effler, said the assumption was “irresponsible.”
On November 15th, three days after her death, the DA released a statement apologizing for the misunderstanding.
“This is a death investigation. And any attempt to classify it as a homicide investigation at this time is premature and irresponsible,” he said.
In January, after a thorough investigation, police ruled Hannah’s death a suicide.
“From a young age, Hannah struggled with mental illness and was in and out of therapy and treatment centers,” Chris Daughtry said in a statement. “As Hannah got older, she struggled to find her footing and began using drugs, and often found herself in abusive relationships. Just months after losing her biological father to suicide, Hannah was the victim of a crime and was shot in the face. We did everything we could to support her and get her the help she needed to recover from these tragedies and get her life back on track.”