Country crooner Kellie Pickler may be enjoying major professional success, but beneath a veneer of perfection, she was "crumbling" on the inside.Last year, the American Idol alumna, 22, struggled with depression and suffered severe reactions from anti-depressants, she tells People in an upcoming interview. She also faced heartbreak over the end of her relationship with hockey player Jordin Tootoo, as well as difficult family issues.
"Everything in my professional life seemed great," she says. "But in my personal life, I was just crumbling."
Just as Pickler was moving over her own hurdles, her father, a convicted felon, was sent back to jail. He was first released soon after Pickler's Idol run. In the meantime, her mother, who had abandoned Pickler at age two, unexpectedly reappeared in her life.
"I was an emotional wreck," Pickler says.
Yet, despite the hardships, the singer says she has a strong support system — not to mention some recent professional coups. Pickler has a new man in her life (Nashville songwriter Kyle Jacobs) and some good girl-pals in fellow singers Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Plus, in the past year alone, she's released a new album and taken home three Country Music Television Awards, including Performance of the Year.
For a young woman with some real heartache to write about, Pickler clearly knows how to sing away the blues.