April Simpkins, mother of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, spoke out for the first time about her daughter’s death on Sunday.
“I have never known a pain as deep as this,” Simpkins wrote in a statement, obtained by TMZ. “I am forever changed.”
Simpkins said her daughter had been dealing with “high-functioning depression,” which she only recently disclosed to her and no one else. “While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life,” she wrote. “In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone – including me, her closest confidant – until very shortly before her death.”
Aside from being crowned Miss USA in 2019, Kryst was an attorney licensed in North and South Carolina, as well as a correspondent for Extra.
“Cheslie – to the world, you were a ball of sunshine wrapped in smiles. We talked, FaceTimed or texted one another all day, every day. You were more than a daughter – you were my very best friend,” Simpkins wrote. “Talking with you was one of the best parts of my day. Your smile and laugh were infectious.”
“I love you baby girl with all my heart. I miss you desperately. I know one day we’ll be together again. Until then, rest easy and in peace,” she concluded.
In an essay for Oprah Daily, Gayle King opened up about the difficulties she has faced coming to terms with the death of Kryst, who became a friend after they first met in 2019 following her Miss USA win. “I simply refused to believe it. Perhaps she had been pushed? Maybe there was some other foul play? Now, of course, we know that is indeed what happened,” King wrote in regards to the cause of her death.
King confessed that she has been trying to understand why she would take her life, saying, “I thought I really knew her.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.