Mindy McCready’s Ex, Billy McKnight, Wins Custody of Son Zander – Exclusive Interview
Mindy McCready‘s 7-year-old son Zander is coming home to live with his father. Billy McKnight was involved in a lengthy custody dispute that wrapped up last Friday (July 12), with a decision to let the boy live with the Florida-based singer and his new wife.
McKnight made an announcement on his Facebook page:
Praise God today along with a lot of support and love from family and friends I am finally bringing my son home for good this Sunday. I want to thank all of you for the prayers that’s been sent to me. I cannot express with words the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. To my beautiful wife Corey Rena-Mcknight it’s a boy!
Since then, McKnight has posted multiple status updates and pictures of Zander. Just days earlier, Taste of Country contributor Joseph Fenity talked to McKnight about McCready and some of the questions Zander was beginning to ask.
“He asked, ‘Did you love my mom?’” McKnight tells Fenity, “and I said ‘Yeah, you need to know that even though your mom’s in heaven, she loves you very much, she’s looking down on you and you were made from love and you’re here for a reason.’”
“There was a lot of good things to talk about Mindy McCready,” McKnight adds. “So I will focus on those and when those negative things come up, I will be the father that he needs me to be and I’ll protect him and stand up for her and let him know how much she cared for him, and that’s the truth.”
McKnight says Zander also asked about his parents’ arrest records during a recent conversation had before the custody decision. He is at an age when he will hear and read things about his mother. McKnight says that’s the conversation he’ll help steer his son through.
“This is gonna take years to heal from, she’s only been gone for six months,” the father explains. McKnight also talked about his troubled relationship with the ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ singer, saying the troubles they had were very serious, but did not represent them completely. There was certainly turmoil, but it was magnified by the media, he says.
“I’ll never be through it. Mindy is not here anymore and that hurts me, especially for my son. She was a special person who wound up getting sick in her life and she couldn’t recover from it,” he admits. “But I know her as a very close heart to me. A friend who I traveled a lot with in this business, who helped me out. As bad as things have been said about her and me, there was certainly an upside, a good side or it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did.”
Friends and family — like Gayle Inge (McCready’s mother) — posted words of support to McKnight’s Facebook wall after Friday’s decision. “We are thankful that Zander is coming home to his family,” she or husband Mike Inge wrote. “We have been excited all day and wanted you to know our thoughts are with all of you.”
Corey Rena-McKnight also posted many messages about the arrival of Zander, which according to the couple’s individual Facebook timelines, seems to have happened on Sunday night (July 14).
McCready died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February, leaving the custody of her two sons in dispute. It’s not clear who is caring for her 1-year-old son Zayne, born to McCready and then-boyfriend David Wilson. Wilson died in January. The custody dispute had been ongoing since late 2011, when McCready and Zander moved to Arkansas against a Florida judge’s orders.