ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Country singer Mindy McCready said Wednesday she probably will not be able to bring her 5-year-old son back to Florida to fulfill a judge's order by Thursday afternoon -- because she is nearly seven months pregnant with twins. By not returning as ordered, she risks arrest.
Speaking exclusively to The Associated Press, McCready said she and her mother have had a long custody battle over the boy, Zander. Her mother was awarded guardianship in 2007.
The battle became more public this week, when the Florida Department of Children and Families said a missing person report was filed with police after McCready took Zander from her father's home. McCready was able to visit with the boy there under a court order, and the 36-year-old singer said she had spent much of the past month with her son at the home. Her mother and father are divorced.
McCready alleges that her son suffered abuse while living at her mother's home and that is one reason why she left with the boy last week.
"I'm a mom first," said McCready from Nashville, Tennessee. "No matter what happens, I'm going to protect my kid. If I have to go to jail, so be it."
When reached at her home Wednesday night, McCready's mother, Gayle Inge, said the abuse allegations are "absolutely not true."
During the interview with the AP, a tearful McCready recounted a messy and confusing tale of court custody battles and family fights.
On Tuesday, the Florida agency discovered that McCready and the boy were not at her father's home and a judge ruled she must return him voluntarily by 5 p.m. Thursday or risk an arrest warrant.
McCready said she was under the impression that the Florida judge was transferring the custody case to Tennessee and that it wouldn't be a problem if she brought him there.
Since topping the country charts in the mid-1990s with her music, the singer's life has been filled with domestic abuse, drug arrests and a suicide attempt. In August, she filed the libel suit in Palm Beach County against her mother and the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., over a story published in the tabloid newspaper that quoted Inge.
McCready, whose son could be heard giggling on the other end of the line Wednesday as his mother spoke to the AP, said the father of her twins is a music producer named David who is supportive of her quest to regain custody of Zander.
Wednesday was McCready's 36th birthday.
"I hope that for my birthday, I get my son forever," McCready said.