Mindy McCready Alleges Son Was Hit With Wooden Spoon

Country singer tells of struggle for son, troubled past.

Dec. 9, 2011 — -- Mindy McCready, the country singer whose son was taken from her by U.S. marshals last week, said the boy suffered physical abuse -- including being hit with a wooden spoon -- at the hands of his grandmother, McCready's mother.

"There are scars on Zander's back, there are scars on his bottom and his legs from the spoon," McCready told ABC News' Andrea Canning.

An affidavit from Mindy McCready's grandmother also alleges abuse. In the affidavit, the woman swears she saw Zander hit with the spoon and said he was subjected to "harsh discipline." She said she "feared Zander would be physically harmed permanently."

McCready's mother, Gayle Inge, was given custody of Zander in 2007. McCready said Inge believes she is a prophet and has exposed Zander to a bizarre religion called "Treasures of the Snow."

"My mom believes that she can astrally project herself, meaning she can be at five places at one time," McCready said. "They were encouraging my son to go around with them to churches and stand up on stage and, you know, scream gibberish, and then everyone act like it was something amazing that he said."

Responding to McCready's allegations, Inge told ABC News: "I have been Zander's guardian for four-and-a-half years. There has been all kinds of scrutiny. He has never been abused in our care."

She also denied McCready's allegations about her religious beliefs.

McCready said she thinks she will win what has become a years-long battle to regain custody of Zander. And the country singer with a troubled history said other things, too, are finally going her way: she is pregnant with twins, in a committed relationship with the twins' father and is writing new music.

"Everybody makes mistakes. I understand why I've made the bad choices I've made, and how not to make them in the future," she said.

In 1996, McCready was a rising star in the country music world, singing the no. 1 hit, "Guys Do It All the Time," and selling millions of records. But the years that followed saw the singer trapped in a downward spiral of substance abuse, arrests and reported domestic violence at the hands of her then-boyfriend and Zander's father, Billy McKnight.

McCready left McKnight, but not before the relationship, she said, took over "every part of my brain and my heart."

"I was an idiot," she said. "I was completely and totally love-struck and insane over that person and over what he was doing to me. A person that hits you like that controls you, and he controlled every part of me. I stopped singing. I stopped socializing with my friends, with my brothers. I stopped living."

McKnight later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and served 30 days in prison.

Inge was given temporary custody of Zander in 2007 while McCready served six months in prison for a probation violation related to an earlier drug charge. After leaving jail, McCready appeared on the reality show, "Celebrity Rehab," which she said saved her life.

Her reason to live, she said, is Zander.

"I couldn't imagine loving something so much that instead of wanting to just lay down and die, I wanted to stand up and fight," she said.

McCready said she grew so desperate to get her son back that during a visit to the Cape Coral, Fla., home of her father, she took her son and left. McCready's father, Zander's grandfather, is divorced from Inge and has visitation rights with Zander.

U.S. marshals found McCready and Zander at the home of McCready's boyfriend in Arkansas. Authorities have said they found McCready and her son hiding in a closet, while McCready said they were just sitting on a couch, "hanging out."

Zander is now staying with a foster family in Arkansas, but there is a silver lining for McCready. She said she was pleased with an Arkansas circuit court judge's custody ruling this week. Details of the ruling have been sealed.

"There were so many things that were good that happened," she told ABC News, "but everything is sealed."

McCready believes she'll have Zander back in time for Christmas. In the meantime, she's writing new music inspired by her experiences.

Hear McCready sing and learn more of the singer's story on the latest episode of "20/20."