She earned her only No. 1 the same year with "Guys Do It All the Time," a smackdown at sexism. Her performance earned comparisons to crossover sensation Shania Twain.
She spent 16 years trying to recapture her chart-topping success -- only to have it undone by drugs, alcohol and a volatile love life. The 37-year-old singer died Sunday, apparently of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
A look at McCready's long, tortured journey:
2004McCready is arrested and charged with filling a fraudulent prescription for the pain killer OxyContin at a Nashville, Tennessee, pharmacy. Later that year, she pleads guilty and is sentenced to three years' supervised probation. She also is fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
In May, the country singer is arrested and charged with drunken driving in Nashville. That same month, her ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, is charged with attempted murder after allegedly breaking in her home and beating her.
McCready testifies against McKnight, who later serves a 30-day sentence after pleading guilty to assault.
In July, she is charged with identity fraud and using her celebrity to obtain two boats under false circumstances. That same month, she is found unconscious in a hotel lobby in Pinellas County, Florida, from a drug overdose.
In August, she is charged with violating her 2004 probation with a drug charge in connection with her overdose.
In September, McCready, who is pregnant with McKnight's child, is hospitalized for a drug overdose that authorities describe as an attempted suicide.
McCready is convicted on one count of driving on a suspended license in connection with her May 2005 drunk driving arrest.
In July, McCready is charged with misdemeanor battery and resisting arrest after getting into a fight with her mother. She is again charged with violating probation on a 2004 drug charge.
The country singer is sentenced in September to a year in jail, two years of probation and 200 more hours of community service for violating the terms of her 2004 probation. She is released from jail in December.
McCready is charged in June with falsifying her community service hours in connection with her 2007 probation. She is sentenced to 60 days in jail and begins serving time in September. She is released in October after serving only half the sentence.
In December, McCready attempts suicide at her Nashville-area home by slitting her wrists. She is discovered by her brother, who calls 911.
McCready goes public with her battle with drugs and alcohol, signing on to appear on the third season of "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" alongside Mackenzie Phillips, Heidi Fleiss and Dennis Rodman. The episodes air in 2010.
During filming, McCready suffers a seizure as she detoxes from drugs and alcohol.
McCready attempts a music comeback with the release of the album "I'm Still Standing," which spawns the single "I'm Still Here."
Two months after the release of the album, she is hospitalized for what her mother tells authorities is a drug overdose on prescription medication.
The same year, Vivid Entertainment announces the release of "Mindy McCready, Baseball Mistress," a homemade sex tape starring McCready and a man identified only as "Peter" that includes her discussing an alleged affair with married pitcher Roger Clemens.
McCready wages a very public, bitter battle with her mother over custody of her son.
In November, she takes her son, Zander, from the Florida home of her mother, who had temporary legal custody of the then-5-year-old.
In early December, a judge issues an emergency "pick up" order after McCready flees to Arkansas with her son.
The two are found hiding in a closet in a home in Arkansas.
Mcready and record producer David Wilson have a son, Zayne. By the end of the year, she regains custody of her eldest son, Zander.
On January 13, McCready's boyfriend, David Wilson, dies of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound.
She enters court-ordered rehabilitation on February 6 after her two sons are taken from her and placed in foster case. She is released two days later with the understanding she will undergo outpatient care.
McCready is found dead Sunday, February 17, on the porch of her Heber Springs, Arkansas, home apparently from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound -- in the same house where the man she once described as her "soulmate" reportedly took his own life.