Glen Campbell’s widow Kim details the late singer/songwriter’s struggles with addiction in her upcoming memoir, Gentle On My Mind: In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell.
Kim offered People an exclusive look at what’s to come in the book in this week’s issue, revealing an excerpt about his drug and alcohol addiction.
“When he wasn’t drinking, he was the best guy in the world,” Kim tells the publication. “But I feared every time he took a drink. I used to tremble, physically shake all over because it had gotten so bad.”
In the forthcoming memoir, she goes into great detail about their 34-year marriage and recalls one troubling moment that took place in 1983 after the birth of their first son, Cal. Explaining that Glen had agreed not to drink while at home with the family, she revealed that he turned to hidden alcohol in their home to get his fix. She had forgotten about the stashed away bottles, but the “Rhinestone Cowboy” had not.
“He got hold of the bottles I’d put in the linen closet and drank himself into another crazed rage. This one was bad,” she explains. “This one had him pointing a pistol at me. He leveled the gun at me as if he were lining up a target. I froze. Then, without a word, he turned and walked the other way.”
Admitting she was “scared to death,” Kim immediately questioned her decision to have a family with the legendary entertainer.
“I felt so stupid for having had a baby with an alcoholic. Now our very lives were at risk.”
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Kim shared that she first learned of Glen’s drinking problem on the night of their first date. Although she says it was “pretty much love at first sight” for both of them, their blind date went downhill quickly.
“The evening, begun on a light cloud of charm, was suddenly darkening,” Kim shares in the book. “I fought the darkness. I didn’t want to see what I was seeing. This man turned me on. I wanted the turn-on to last. I allowed a few more kisses, and yes, I was aroused. But no, I couldn’t deny that he was sloppy drunk.”
Glen, who was 22 years older than her and divorced three times when they met, later apologized.
She forgave him and they went on to get married. His drinking problem persisted, however.
“After every show, he hit the bottle and hit it hard,” she shares. “He went from sweet and humble Glen to belligerent and self-centered Glen.”
It was a continual cycle, she says. He would drink then wake up and forget about everything that happened the night before.
“He’d wake me up with a good morning kiss and return to being the loving man with whom I had fallen in love.”
After the couple welcomed two more children, son Shannon and daughter, Ashley, Glen got sober and stayed sober for 15 years. In 2003, the singer relapsed. He was arrested in November of 2003 on suspicion of DUI and aggravated assault on a police officer following a hit-and-run.
“I was so mad,” Kim recalls. “I was back to trembling again. I was shaking like a leaf with my cellphone just saying, ‘Nobody better go get him. Nobody go get him. He needs to sit in that jail. He needs to wake up and sober up in there and face what he’s done.’ I was so mad.”
After spending 10 days in jail, Glen apologized and entered a rehabilitation facility.
When his health began to take a turn, Kim was committed to standing by him. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“It absolutely shocked me and scared me to death,” Kim shares. “But I tried not to show it because I didn’t want to upset Glen.”
Campbell succumbed to the illness on Aug. 8, 2017.
Kim hopes her memoir will help others know they are not alone.
“Whatever battle you’re facing, whether it’s a disease like alcoholism or drug addiction or Alzheimer’s, you can’t do it alone,” she explains. “For us, faith was everything. Faith and a sense of humor.”
Gentle On My Mind: In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell will be available on June 23, 2020.