When I first learned that the ex wife of one of my all time favorite front men was writing a book, I was a bit skeptic. Was this going to be a tell all, TMZ-esq book of who was doing what drug in the 90's? Was this going to be a story about Scott Weiland's addiction that I didn't already know? What I got was the most honest and human story about going to hell and back. Mary Forsberg Weiland, better known as Mary Weiland, accounts her life battling addiction, mental illness with love and heartbreak. This was never a book about gossip or what people had made her do, rather a book about an adult accepting responsibility for her actions. Fall to Pieces tells Mary Weiland's life story from childhood to her days as a teenage model to going on the road and being married to Rock and Roll's wild man, Scott Weiland. With the support of her famous friends and family, Mary wrote about accounts of clout with so much clarity. Broken down in regular terms and leaving the medical jargon at the door, Weiland discloses horrific tales in great detail and tales of great triumph. Yet, Weiland's biggest triumph was coming clean and honest with Fall to Pieces, which is one of the best reads I had last year. Take a look at my exclusive interview with Mary Weiland as we discussed the writing of the book, her addiction and where she goes now.
What prompted you to write “Fall to Pieces?”
MFW: The positive response I’ve received from people who’ve been able to connect with my story... that was my dream in wanting to write “Fall to Pieces.” People are hungry for honesty and I wanted to open a conversation on the topics of addiction and mental illness. I think everyone is carrying a little sadness inside and making a connection with another person can relieve some of that pain... and maybe even bring some sunlight into what was once a very dark place. It was a freeing thing to write with that objective in mind. Hopefully I got close!
Do you feel vindicated that the book has been written and is out?
MFW: I felt an obligation to write something inspiring, but in a way it was also a gift to my children. Plus I wanted them to be able to Google mommy and daddy and get the whole picture! Any life needs a couple different perspectives to make sense.
After reading your story, I could not help but notice that the motifs of escape played a big role in your life. Escaping with your mother from your father when you were a child. Drugs. Music. Food. Escaping to the beach when you would visit your father as a young teen and watch the socialites. Do you think you have stopped escaping and start accepting what has been given to you? Have you found what you may have been looking for?
MFW: Finally having an answer for why I felt the need to escape has made it a lot easier to stay in the moment. I’m human and when life becomes overwhelming something as simple as a trip to the mall can restore a feeling of wholeness. The major difference is the escape is brief and without negative consequences. I was always looking for calm and peace and I do feel like I finally found that place.
Since you were a teen you have been battling depression or a form of it. This has consumed most, if not all of your life. What advice do you give someone today who is battling the same demons you have?
MFW: Accepting depression as a part of your life is the first step in recovery. Looking to other people who have struggled and made it out can be inspirational. Everyone has the potential to heal if they are willing to do the work. At times I felt hopeless, but I never completely gave up. If I had, it would have been a short book...
At every turning point or bench mark in your life, music has marked a specific moment (I can easily relate). Did music ever help get you out of what you were battling?
MFW: Music was and sometimes still is the most glorious way to avoid life’s crushing moments. Losing myself in someone else’s art and poetry and sometimes even pain was a reminder that I wasn’t alone. Movies can do that too. Disappearing into another world, a world that inspires you... it’s one of the great journeys we get to take as a fan.
What music defines your proudest moments?
MFW: Songs that fall under the “guilty pleasure” category have played a roll in putting a smile on my face. Often music was the only thing that could pull me out from under the black cloud. Sometimes it’s silly, sometimes its profound... my only credo is this -- turn it up!
What defines your worst?
MFW: Guns and Roses “Its So Easy” always had me running straight for trouble. Listening to it now is a reminder of how far I’ve come.
On Scott’s song “Barbarella,” from his solo record, 12 Bar Blues, he sings the line “Grab a scale and guess the weight of all the pain I have given with my name. I am a selfish piece of shit.” Do you ever blame Scott for your downward spiral into drugs?
MFW: Never. I was an adult when I made the choices that I did. I was born with the potential to be an addict and I could have hit bottom with anyone or on my own. Good song, though.
Throughout your years of using and turmoil with Scott, you kept going back to him. Why?
MFW: Our love for each other was almost unnatural. There were times when we couldn’t function on our own. I give us credit for trying to make it work. Hollywood promotes giving up. Eighteen years and nine years of marriage with all that we’ve been through in my opinion is a success.
What are your hopes and aspirations for your children now that you and Scott are on a clear path of recovery?
MFW: I hope they find success and happiness based on their own hard work. Our past struggles will most likely follow them, but because they were so young during our difficult times my hope is that it won’t consume them.
Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Keidis aided you throughout your road to sobriety. Where there stories and battles enough to make you want to kick the habit?
MFW: You’d think another persons crippling experience would have been enough to discourage me, but I was sick and not ready to get well. The part they played was simply just being available when I was ready to change my life. I wanted to tip my hat their way in the book. Their friendship still means the world to me.
What is next for Mary Forsberg Weiland now?
MFW: I should be starting back to school in February. I’m studying for my certificate in drug and alcohol counseling with a focus on Co-occurring Disorders. I hope my experience and knowledge can help others. Giving back is a part of my continued recovery.
Fall to Pieces is in stores now!
Special thanks to Mary, Jennifer Slattery, Harper Collins and extra thanks to Candace Greene for her assistance.