'The Young and the Restless' actor died in 2019 from hypertrophic heart disease and an accidental alcohol overdose
Kristoff St. John's former wife is looking back on their time together, both the highs and the lows.
“Kristoff and I met at an AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] meeting, and he was fresh out of rehab. I had only [been] days sober, but the funny thing is when I saw him at the meeting and I recognized him, I used to watch him every week on a show called Charlie & Co. with Gladys Knight and Flip Wilson and so I thought, 'How am I going to get his attention? I want to go out with this guy, I'm in love with him,'" she recalled.
"I was really cocky when I was young so I just thought to myself, 'Well, I'm just going to walk by him and of course, he’s going to say something,'" she continued. "And so sure enough, I walk by him and he's like, 'Hey! Hey you,' and I was like 'Oh, who me?' And right after that, I mean we just clicked and I remember calling my sister right after the meeting and I said, 'I am going to marry and have children with this man.'"
Kristoff and Mia wed in 1991. They later welcomed daughter Paris and son Julian before divorcing in 1995.
Of realizing when their relationship was no longer working, Mia recalled to host Tamron Hall that things changed "the night before I gave birth to our first son."
"Kristoff was gone. We found him the next morning. He had gone on a binge and at the time. He was addicted to crack cocaine," she explained. "Also, what people didn't know is that stayed under wraps for his whole career was that he was suffering from bipolar [disorder]."
Mia, whose son with Kristoff died by suicide in 2014, recalled the day The Young and the Restless actor died in 2019 at age 52. His cause of death was later determined to be the result of hypertrophic heart disease and an accidental alcohol overdose.
"He had called me that morning, not wanting to live anymore and had decided that he was going to end his life," she told Hall, 53. "And I have to also note that Kristoff didn't really want to end his life. This was a state of intoxication."
Mia added, "He was grieving and he was intoxicated, so I look at it as something that was accidental but it’s something to definitely be aware of what alcohol can do to someone who's grieving.”
Kristoff was best known for playing Neil Winters on The Young and the Restless from 1991 until his death. His efforts on the CBS soap earned him two Daytime Emmy Awards and 10 NAACP Image Awards.
His many other prominent acting credits included roles on Generations, Roots: The Next Generations and The Bad News Bears.
Following his divorce from Mia, Kristoff married Allana Nadal in 2001. They welcomed daughter Lola in 2003 before divorcing in 2007.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
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