Sexual Abuse, Depression and a Prior Suicide Attempt: Inside Dolores O'Riordan's Difficult Life

O'Riordan previously opened up about being sexually abused as a child and suffering from depression throughout her life

Dolores O’Riordan began singing when she was just 5 years old, and by the time she was a tween, the musician was writing her own music.

In the ’90s, the Irish singer shot to superstardom singing with The Cranberries, breaking records with hit songs like “Linger” and “Dream.”

Behind the scenes, however, her life was turbulent.

O’Riordan — whose sudden death at age 46 was announced by her publicist on Monday — previously revealed she was sexually abused as a young girl and was also open about suffering from mental health issues, including depression and bipolar disorder.

In 2013, O’Riordan told LIFE Magazine she was molested for four years starting when she was 8 years old by someone whom she trusted.

“I was only a kid,” the musician — who leaves behind three children, Taylor, 20, Mollie, 16, and Dakota, 12 (with ex-husband Don Burton) — told the outlet. “It gets hard as well when you have daughters because you get flashbacks when you’re with them and when you are watching them. You wonder, ‘How can anyone get satisfaction in any way, you know?'”

The Cranberries in the early 1990's. Dolores O'Riordan, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, Fergal Lawler. Matt
Matt Anker/Retna/Photoshot/Everett

The rocker often talked about how motherhood was her priority, and also said having children changed her life for the better. “The kids were actually completely elemental in my healing process,” she told LIFE about trying to move on from the abuse.

RELATED VIDEO: Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries Dead at 46

In 2011, O’Riordan was also devastated after losing her father Terence to cancer. “I felt him around me a lot for a while. I could feel him trying to protect me and communicate with me,” she told Billboard last year.

She was dealt another blow in 2014 when her 20-year marriage to Burton, a former tour manager for Duran Duran, ended. The couple’s split was revealed shortly after the singer was arrested and charged in connection with an assault on a flight.

After the incident, her mother Eileen told the Irish Mirror her daughter was under the care of a psychiatric doctor.

The Cranberries Perform in Concert in Barcelona
Xavi Torrent/WireImage

“Apparently my mother came into the cell. I don’t remember. I had created a tortoise effect. I tucked myself in, under the blanket. I was singing in the cell,” O’Riordan told the Sunday Independent shortly after the incident while confirming her bipolar disorder diagnosis. “I was praying. I was meditating because I was freezing.”

She also revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that she “tried to overdose” in 2013, but that she was “meant to stay here for the kids.”

Additionally, she opened up to the outlet about her struggles with substance abuse. “I am pretty good but sometimes I hit the bottle,” she said. “Everything is way worse the next morning. I have a bad day when I have bad memories and I can’t control them and I hit the bottle. I kind of binge drink. That is kind of my biggest flaw at the moment.”

“On tour, it was just so easy to say ‘I can’t sleep. I’ve had a couple of drinks. Maybe I’ll take on,'” she added to the Mirror UK. “Then you take another. Then you don’t wake up. That can happen. I am careful now.”

Related Articles