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Former 'American Idol' finalist Kellie Pickler reveals depression battle

By John Bracchitta, 10/08/2008 

Despite her cheery image and care-free demeanor, former American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler says she spent last year battling depression and anti-depressant pill reactions that resulted from a series of personal problems.

"Everything in my professional life seemed great," the 22-year-old American Idol fifth-season sixth-place finisher told People magazine in an interview that will hit newsstands on Friday.

"But in my personal life, I was just crumbling."

Pickler told the magazine she attempted to take anti-depressants to deal with family issues and a difficult breakup with former boyfriend Jordin Tootoo, however the side effects made her "crazy" and forced her to quit taking them.

"I was an emotional wreck," she told People.

Last year, Pickler's 42-year-old father, Clyde Raymond Pickler Jr., was arrested twice: once for assaulting a female companion with a steak knife and a second time for stealing abandoned and disabled vehicles and selling them to scrap yards.

The arrests came only a year after Pickler's father had been released a three-year prison sentence for stabbing his neighbor in 2003, and eventually resulted in another prison stint for him.

Later that year, Pickler also had to deal with the unexpected re-emergence of Cynthia Malone -- the mother that had abandoned her when she was a toddler -- after Malone suddenly came forward and spoke to the media about the family's troubled past the alleged reasons behind her decision to leave.

In addition, Pickler also had to cope with her breakup with Tootoo, a NHL hockey player whom she had met and begun dating in January 2007.

According to Pickler, in addition to working on her new album -- which was released last week -- she used her friendships with fourth-season Idol champion Carrie Underwood, country singer Taylor Swift, and new boyfriend Kyle Jacobs to help pull herself out of the depression and move on.

Pickler also told the magazine that, despite the turmoil in her family growing up, she is still committed to raising a family of her own when she decides to settle down.

"I've always wanted to adopt," she told People. "I wouldn't do it right now. I definitely have to get my priorities together first."

(Photo credit Fox)

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