Photographer Jamie Wachtel Weiland, widow of late STONE TEMPLE PILOTS frontman Scott Weiland appeared on "The Joe Howard Show" Thursday (May 26). She opened up for the first time about her husband's death and addressed Weiland's second wife Mary Forsberg's open letter to Rolling Stone in which Mary criticized her late ex-husband for being absent form their children's lives. A few excerpts from the chat follow.
On dealing with Scott's death:
Jamie: "It's been a really interesting journey. It was nothing short of brutal for quite a while there. And I could really only describe it as like a surreal nightmare that I could not wake up from. And I spent a couple months there very worried that I would honestly never recover, that this happening in my life was literally going to break me, and I would never come back. And, you know, it's funny, I've had so many experiences since he's passed with just meeting people or opportunities that have come up or just new meaningful insights in my life that I feel come from him, and I call them his secret gifts that he is sending me from the other side.
"I know that he would want me to be strong, that he would want me to be happy, that he would want me to be creating and working as an artist, and doing all the things that I love to do. It was incredibly difficult to do any of them for a long time, because I was literally just completely paralyzed with grief, but time does heal, and you start remembering the good things, and the things that make you smile, instead of the things that make you cry. And I'm happy to say that I'm smiling a lot more than crying."
On Scott's passing:
Jamie: "It's sad that he... You know, the timing of it, really, is so incredibly tragic, because he was on the verge of so many great things. And he had finally gotten to a place where he was trying to be relatively healthy. And he just wanted to create, and we were very much in love. And, you know, of course there were always issues with Scott; I mean, that's not a secret, and I'm not gonna pretend that those things didn't exist, but, for the most part, he really was making great strides, and it's sad that he had to depart before he really got to reap the benefits of everything he was working so hard for and really deserved — really deserved — after all of the horrible things that he had been through, all of the trauma. So it's completely unjust, and always will be, but I know that when he passed away, he was happy, and it was peaceful. And, you know, he sent me that one last text message: 'I'm so in love with you, my beautiful wife.' And that was it."
On the legal issues surrounding Scott's estate:
Jamie: "The truth with Scott's estate and the finances and how everything was when he was alive, how everything was left after his passing, is such a complicated mess. And there's no way for the general population to understand or grasp how this could unfold the way that it has. And I think there's this preconceived notion that Scott, being a rock star, must have just had millions in the bank, and that I'm probably just sitting pretty and just collecting money, and it's the antithesis of the truth. He, unfortunately, passed away with an enormous amount of debt. There were a lot of loose ends that were never dealt with.
"I could have fought a lot more to be involved in the mess that was left behind, but, honestly… And I know there was a lot of people [that were], like, 'Why isn't Jamie stepping up?' 'Why isn't Jamie getting involved?' 'Why is she letting all of these things happen?' And the truth is, for a long time, as I said before, I was completely paralyzed; I was incapable of doing anything. It was hard for me to just get through the day, much less lawyer up and deal with all the legalities of an estate and probate. And the other thing, too, is that I really… I really just want to move on with my positive memories of my husband. I want to move on as an artist. I am fortunate that I do have a career. I had a career when I met him. It was somewhat shelved for a while there, because I toured with and I was involved in his business. But I am lucky that I can go back to that now and get that going again, and I don't really need to cling to his coattails and try to wring money out of his estate. As far as the claim that I made, it was just a very perfunctory… [Editor's note: Jamie Wachtel Weiland filed a claim against Scott's estate saying the late STONE TEMPLE PILOTS singer owes her $64,406.] You know, we had a prenuptial agreement; he was supposed to pay a certain amount of money. He only paid it twice. It's just a formality. To be honest, I'll probably never see that money, and anyone that understands how prenuptial agreements actually work and how his estate was left gets that, but to the general public, I think it looks like, 'Oh, Jamie's just trying to moneygrub.' And that's not what's happening."
On Forsberg's letter about Scott to Rolling Stone following his death, in which Mary wrote that his children "lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3rd was hope":
Jamie: "How do I put this eloquently? What she wrote to Rolling Stone was absurd and entirely not based in reality. The truth behind Scott's relationship, or lack of relationship, with his children is a story that is not out there, and I'm not going to tell that story, because I don't want my stepchildren to be hurt or to be put in the public eye. And it's nobody's business, really. But I don't think it takes much imagination for anyone with half a brain, considering the history of Scott and Mary, to come up with a hypothesis as to why his relationship with his kids was poisoned."
Weiland's estate is reportedly worth $2 million. There is also said to be a trust with undisclosed assets.
Mary Forsberg was Weiland's second wife and mother to his children, Noah and 13-year-old Lucy. His first marriage to Janina Castenada lasted from 1994 to 2000.
Weiland was found dead on his tour bus at the age of 48 from a toxic mix of drugs and alcohol. The vocalist was also dealing with self-medication, estrangement from his children, financial difficulties and a steadily increasing drinking problem.