Fans of The Young and the Restless' Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil Winters), who passed away in February of this year, are about to learn intimate details of the actor's life, death, and family life. His ex-wife, five-time world boxing champion Mia St. John, is set to release a tell-all memoir in 2020.
Titled Fighting For My Life, the book will tell the story of how the loss of the couple's son, Julian, and Kristoff's sudden death this year led to Mia's passion for spreading awareness about mental health.
"I've been in this fight for reform of our mental health system for so long," Mia tells People. "Kristoff and I lost our son in a mental health facility that was found guilty of neglect. Then when I uncovered a lot of the facilities in LA County, I discovered that this was going on everywhere because there have been many deaths. My son wasn't the only one. So I've been on that vision."
Kristoff died at age 52 on February 3, 2019. It was later determined that his death was caused by heart disease, which was exacerbated by alcohol use. His and Mia's 24-year-old son, Julian, died by suicide four years earlier in 2014, following a lifelong battle with mental illness. He was reportedly found unresponsive in the bathroom of a Long Beach, California, facility.
"When Kristoff lost his life, he was also neglected by the facility that he was put in," Mia says. "He was let go while still being suicidal. Then, my mission just completely skyrocketed. And I just want the public to be aware of what's happening."
Mia says Fighting For My Life will also go into detail about St. John's private life, especially what his experiences were in his final months and days.
"A lot of people don't know what was happening at the end of his life. Not just with the depression and the guilt over his son, but all the circumstances surrounding his life and the last days of his life," she reveals. "So much has been swept under the rug... Everybody knew what was going on in his circle, but I feel like there was such a big attempt to cover everything up, which was not really to his benefit."
She continues, "He was so eager to get out of the hospital and get back to work from fear of what would happen if people found out he had been hospitalized. He needed to stay in that hospital. And if he had stayed in that hospital as we had intended, and as our attorney had requested, he'd still be alive today."
Fighting For My Life, which will also detail Mia's relapse after 30 years of sobriety, will be released in 2020.
Kristoff St. John joined Y&R in 1991 and played the role of Neil Winters until his death in 2019. However, the actor's career extends well beyond the fictional city limits of Genoa City. He made his television debut at age seven in the sitcom series That's My Mama and continued to star in series such as Charlie & Company, The Bad News Bears, and The San Pedro Beach Bums. He also had the distinction of playing the title role of Young Alex Haley in Roots: The Next Generation, for which he won a Youth in Film award. For his work on Y&R, St. John earned nine Daytime Emmy nominations, including two wins, and won ten NAACP Image Awards.
UPDATE (July 30, 2020): People reports that Mia St. John has signed with Post Hill Press to publish her memoir, Fighting For My Life, which tells the story of her life and relationship with late Y&R star Kristoff St. John. Originally set to be released in 2020, the new release date is now listed as 2021.
St. John also shared the update about her book on Facebook, writing, "So excited to announce my memoirs was published by Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster, and will be out in 2021 I hope to help and inspire others struggling with #mentalillness and #addiction The road is long and crooked, to say the least, but I want to Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster, all to never give up hope ???? We must fight to the very last round."
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