AceShowbiz - Kristoff St. John's death has sent his ex-wife Mia St. John into a relapse after 30 years of sobriety. The former professional boxer, who has often spoken up about her battle with addiction, reveals how her ex-husband's passing has hit her so hard.
"I lost my 30 years' sobriety," she tells PEOPLE. Mia, who has been raising awareness about mental health issues after her son's suicide, admits, "I'm ashamed, believe me. I had 30 years of sobriety, I thought I was the s**t. Like I was queen of mental health. I'm a mental health advocate."
She continues, "I felt as small as you can get. My ego was crushed. But I feel like I want to look at the bigger picture and my higher self. It's about the good of all. And if I can help someone out, and say if there's just nothing it doesn't mean that I'm a weak person. I'm just an imperfect person and we all have to find a way to pick ourselves up and carry on."
Mia revealed on social media she was hospitalized twice following Kristoff's death. "I'm out of the hospital. I'm sorry if I scared anyone," she wrote. "Let's plz focus on the wellness of his precious girls Lols & Paris." She added, "They love their father so much, the beautiful, loving, funny soul that he was/is. #MentalHealth is all we have, nothing else is important."
While accepting her relapse as part of her process in life, Mia vows to keep fighting mental illness. "Never be ashamed because every one of us suffers from some mental health issue," she says. "But I'm going to continue to speak out, even if it hurts my ego. I'm going to speak out and I'm going to continue to let people know about mental health. I'm not going to stop talking about it. I'm going to continue to fight in the honor of my boys that I lost."
Mia also talks about Kristoff's "darker side" that led him to the downfall. "Our son had schizophrenia, both him and Kristoff suffered from addiction," she says. "It was a very difficult, and a sometimes painful life. Kristoff was always working on himself, and trying to get better. He kind of had like these two separate lives, and not very many people knew about, the darker side. But, that's what I have been trying to speak out about, because I feel like if we don't, then the harder it is for anyone to ever get help."
Unlike Mia, Kristoff kept it to himself. "I always felt like I was the one that was struggling the most," she goes on sharing. "But what I realized later was that wasn't the case, it was just that I was more vocal about it. And Kristoff held it all inside. So like I said, he would just break down and he would go back to drinking and taking pills and that's how he dealt with it. I think that is what lead to the downfall."
Recalling her last conversation with "The Young and the Restless" star, Mia believes he was already "dying" at the time. "He kept saying, 'I just don't want to live anymore, I don't want to live anymore,' " she recounts, adding that she pled with him to hold on, but later realized it was the end. "All of a sudden he says, 'One second, one second, Mia, Julian's at the door. Julian's here.' And I started screaming, 'No!' Julian wants to see you but not today, this is not the day!" she continues.
"And I start to panic. And he said, 'It's okay, it's okay, we're just going for a walk.' Looking back, at the timeline of when he passed and when the paramedics got there. I believe he was already dying while we were on the phone," she says.
Mia recently responded to an Internet user who criticized her for not trying to help Kristoff after the worrying phone conversation. She wrote on Instagram, "I've received some nasty messages from people asking why I didn't go over to Kristoff's after he called me that fateful day. Realize, I was 2 hours away! I called his best friend who lived nearby. Don't judge people if you don't know the facts. My family has suffered enough."
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I’ve received some nasty messages from people asking why I didn’t go over to Kristoff’s after he called me that fateful day. Realize, I was 2 hours away! I called his best friend who lived nearby. Don’t judge people if you don’t know the facts. My family has suffered enough 💔
Kristoff was found dead at his Los Angeles, California, home on February 3. He was buried on March 4 next to his late son Julian, who died by suicide in 2014 after a long history of mental illness. He also shares a daughter, Paris Nicole, with Mia, and has another daughter, Lola, from his marriage to Allana Nadal. The 52-year-old actor was engaged to Russian model Kseniya Olegovna Mikhaleva at the time of his death.