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Chris Cornell’s Widow Talks About Singer’s Relapse in First TV Interview Since His Death

This morning, Vicky Cornell, Chris Cornell‘s widow, made her first on-screen appearance since her husband’s death in May of last year, granting an interview to Good Morning America. In conversation with Robin Roberts, she discussed Cornell’s strengths as a father and his decade-plus period of sobriety. She explained that Cornell had relapsed roughly a year before his death, after being prescribed the psychoactive drug benzodiazepine to “help him sleep” after sustaining a serious shoulder injury.

“In retrospect, I’ve learned it’s not supposed to be given to anyone who’s in recovery,” she explained. “If you have to give it, they have to be closely monitored, and it should not be given for more than two to three weeks.” Cornell continued: “In a 7-day period, [Chris] took 20 pills, and in a 9-day period, 33.”

Cornell detailed her husband reaching out to a friend via email in two months before his death seeking help. She also recalled the singer’s difficulties with performance, slowed speech, forgetfulness and general “confusion” during that period. “People say, you can’t blame yourself,” Cornell told GMA. “But there were signs.”

She also disputed the police report that drugs had “not been a contributing factor” to her husband’s death, as she has been publicly doing since the summer of last year. “If there was less stigma around [addiction], more people would speak up,” Cornell said to Roberts. “…My husband was the furthest thing from a rock star junkie, he just wasn’t. He was the best husband, the greatest father.”

Watch the full interview below.