Chester Bennington's Widow Reflects on Linkin Park Frontman's Suicide: 'We Just Thought He Was OK'
On an episode of the ABC News podcast “Life After Suicide” that was released on Tuesday, Talinda Bennington told the network’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton that she thought her husband had reached a “good place” following years of struggling with substance abuse and depression.
“We just thought he was OK,” she says. “I can’t emphasize enough. If you knew Chester, you would know that he was in a good place, in such a good place.”
She had previously shared a video on Twitter showing her husband, shortly before he died, cheerfully playing with their children. “This is what depression looked like to us just 36 hrs b4 his death,” Talinda captioned the post. “He loved us SO much & we loved him.”
On July 20, 2017, Bennington was found dead in his Los Angeles home. The 41-year-old singer died of suicide by hanging, authorities confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.
Talinda, who married Bennington in 2006, is the mother of their son Tyler and twin daughters Lilly and Lila. Chester also leaves behind children Jaime, Isaiah and Draven from previous relationships.
Rather than staying “stuck in despair,” Talinda says that interacting with Linkin Park fans on social media helped her through the early stages of grief.
“They were reaching out, saying how sad they were and how they didn’t think they could go on because Chester couldn’t,” the 42-year-old says. “And I knew that that’s the last thing Chester would’ve wanted.” She adds that she retweets their messages, often adding the hashtag #MakeChesterProud, in hopes that their happy memories and positivity will spread.
She’s also launching a mental health awareness organization, 320 Changes Direction, and plans to kick off a festival alongside Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman.
Even so, Talinda says that she still finds it too difficult to listen to the songs of her late love. “I’ll jump from the back seat and change the station, I’ll jump out of the car if I have to. That’s just a visceral reaction I still have to this day … it’s just too painful.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).