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Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s mom reveals she sent a text moments before jumping to her death in NYC

Former Miss USA winner Cheslie Kryst texted her mother a haunting message jumping to her death from her New York City apartment. 

Kryst, 30, sent her mother April Simpkins a text message right before jumping from her NYC high-rise, reading: ‘First, I’m sorry, by the time you get this, I won’t be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know this will hurt you the most.’  

Simpkins revealed on Red Table Talk that she ‘near blacked out’ after reading the message.

‘By the time I had read the text, an hour had passed,’ she told host Jada Pinkett-Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, Pinkett-Smith’s mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Kryst had sent her mother the text while she knew she’d be in an exercise class. 

‘I [remember] calling my husband and screaming “what, what” and we got home and just trying to figure out what to do. I had not read the rest of her message, I just couldn’t.’ 

She added that she instantly took the text seriously because this was her daughter’s second suicide attempt. She had previously attempted suicide in her early 20s, her mother said. 

Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst (left) sent a text message to her mother April Simpkins (right) before leaping to her death

Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst (left) sent a text message to her mother April Simpkins (right) before leaping to her death 

The message started off with: 'First, I'm sorry, by the time you get this, I won't be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know this will hurt you the most'

The message started off with: ‘First, I’m sorry, by the time you get this, I won’t be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know this will hurt you the most’ 

The mother read the message off her phone while co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris looked on painfully

The mother read the message off her phone while co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris looked on painfully 

The long message went on to say: ‘I love you mom, and you are my best friend, and the person I’ve lived for for years. I wish I could say with you, but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness any longer. 

‘I’ve never told you these feelings, because I never wanted you to worry, and because I hoped they would eventually change, but I know they never will. They follow me through every accomplishment, success, family gather, friendly dinner – I cry almost every day now, like I’m in mourning. I wished for death for years. And I know you would want to know and want to help, but I haven’t wanted to share this weight with anyone. 

‘Regardless of that, thank you sincerely being there for me in some of my loneliness moments without me even telling you I needed you. You have kept me alive and ready to face another day, because you answer every phone call and you are there for me at the drop of a hat. You listen to me and care when I tell you what goes on in my life and you’ve always made me feel as if you loved me. 

‘I love you more than any person I’ve ever known. You’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve done everything right. 

‘I no longer feel like I have any purpose in life. I don’t know if I ever really did.’ 

Simpkins also revealed her daughter’s final wishes, which she did not reveal. The beauty queen’s mother also skipped the more personal parts of the message. 

Her mother revealed she knew her daughter was struggling with depression, but ‘didn’t know the severity of it.’ She also said she started to realize her daughter’s ‘smiles were a little forced’ and she encouraged Kryst to call when she needed help. 

The Story Behind Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s Suicide: Her Mother Speaks Out for the First Time

Exclusive: The heartbroken mom and stepdad of Miss USA Cheslie Kryst join the Red Table for their first interview after their daughter tragically died by suicide earlier this year. Cheslie’s mother April shares the devastating final message her daughter sent moments before her death, opens up about Cheslie’s past struggles with mental health, and sets the record straight about Cheslie’s cause of death. Don’t miss this emotional and eye-opening Red Table Talk.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Monday, May 2, 2022

Simpkins appeared very emotional on the show, revealing that her daughter gave her permission to share the message so that people would 'know that you are the best mom in the world'

Simpkins appeared very emotional on the show, revealing that her daughter gave her permission to share the message so that people would ‘know that you are the best mom in the world’

Kryst was crowned Miss USA by former winner Sarah Rose Summers in 2019

Kryst was crowned Miss USA by former winner Sarah Rose Summers in 2019

Kryst, who was a huge advocate for mental health and therapy, had gotten counseling and started focusing on getting good sleep, Simpkins said on Red Table Talk, but she often ‘deflected’ her own emotions. 

‘Depression is not always marked by someone laying in bed or unable to do things,’ she said on the show. ‘There are people who are high-functioning and can get through the day because they wear ‘the face,’ and we’re all taught to wear that face. Cheslie wore that face.’ 

The NYPD confirmed her daughter’s death to her before she and her husband’s flight from South Carolina to NYC was taxiing on the runway. 

‘I don’t remember the plane ride. I remember my husband sobbing,’ she said. ‘We got to New York, we got into the hotel room and we were both just on the floor.

‘I just remember sobbing on the sideway, I just couldn’t move my body anymore. I couldn’t remember anything,’ she said. ‘I walked through the door [of Kryst’s apartment] and just collapsed into my son’s arms. I couldn’t remember how to breathe. It was so hard, honestly.’ 

She said she had seen her daughter, who she referred to as her ‘best friend’ since the month prior, when they took a trip to Universal Studios – a trip the family would take every other year. 

Also in the text, Kryst gave her mother permission to share the suicide note so the world would know how much a good mother she was. She also revealed she didn’t think she could repair her friendships and ‘escape’ loneliness. 

‘I’ve pushed away most of my friends, and I can’t fix any of it no matter how hard I’ve tried.’ she wrote. ‘So, I will leave and rejoin God in heaven and hope to find peace there. I don’t want to leave, but I genuinely feel like I have to if I want to escape my loneliness that feels like it has no end. I fought against depression for a long time, but it’s won this time around. 

‘There aren’t enough words in the world to describe my love and appreciation for you. You are the perfect mom and I will love you forever, even in death. 

‘Feel free to share this message. People should know that you are the best mom in the world and that you were the best mom to me I ever could have hoped for.’ 

She also said her daughter knew she would ‘need those words’ to move forward and said it was ‘healing’ to talk about her daughter.  

A vigil was held at her former high school on April 28 in honor of her 31st birthday, according to the Charlotte Observer. She also won the school’s Miss Fort Mill High School pageant. 

In addition, the organization behind the famed Miss USA pageant will provide contestants with  access to mental health workshops to ‘avoid depression’ in the wake of her death. 

Kryst jumped from her Manhattan high-rise in January 2022 after battling from depression. Her mother revealed she knew her daughter was struggling with depression, but 'didn't know the severity of it'

Kryst jumped from her Manhattan high-rise in January 2022 after battling from depression. Her mother revealed she knew her daughter was struggling with depression, but ‘didn’t know the severity of it’

The NYPD confirmed Kryst's death to her mother before she and her husband boarded a plane to NYC from South Carolina

The NYPD confirmed Kryst’s death to her mother before she and her husband boarded a plane to NYC from South Carolina 

Cheslie Kyrst’s last message to her mother

By the time I had read the text, an hour had passed. 

I love you mom, and you are my best friend, and the person I’ve lived for for years. I wish I could say with you, but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness any longer. 

I’ve never told you these feelings, because I never wanted you to worry, and because I hoped they would eventually change, but I know they never will. They follow me through every accomplishment, success, family gather, friendly dinner – I cry almost every day now, like I’m in mourning. I wished for death for years. And I know you would want to know and want to help, but I haven’t wanted to share this weight with anyone. 

Regardless of that, thank you sincerely being there for me in some of my loneliness moments without me even telling you I needed you. You have kept me alive and ready to face another day, because you answer every phone call and you are there for me at the drop of a hat. You listen to me and care when I tell you what goes on in my life and you’ve always made me feel as if you loved me. 

I love you more than any person I’ve ever known. You’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve done everything right. 

I no longer feel like I have any purpose in life. I don’t know if I ever really did.

[personal part of message skipped]

I’ve pushed away most of my friends, and I can’t fix any of it no matter how hard I’ve tried. So, I will leave and rejoin God in heaven and hope to find peace there. I don’t want to leave, but I genuinely feel like I have to if I want to escape my loneliness that feels like it has no end. I fought against depression for a long time, but it’s won this time around. 

There aren’t enough words in the world to describe my love and appreciation for you. You are the perfect mom and I will love you forever, even in death. 

‘Feel free to share this message. People should know that you are the best mom in the world and that you were the best mom to me I ever could have hoped for. 

Crystle Stewart, 40, the president of the Miss USA Organization and 2008 winner, announced the new program Friday that will focus on helping beauty queens deal with the anxiety and depression that comes with becoming overnight stars and dealing with grueling pageantry, she said. 

‘I put in place workshops,’ Stewart told TMZ. ‘Mental health workshops, mindset prep, how do you prepare for the pageant, not just physically, but mentally how do you prepare for the pageant? So there will be mental health workshops through my Crystle Stewart Foundation.’ 

The announcement comes two months after the 30-year-old Kryst jumped to her death from her New York City apartment. The beauty pageant winner had been battling high-function depression, her mother revealed, which she had hidden until ‘very shortly before her death.’ 

Kryst had been very open about mental health and advocated for it. In October 2019, she spoke out on Facebook for World Mental Health Day, offering tips on how she coped with stress. 

‘I do a lot to make sure that I maintain my mental health and the most important thing that I did is talk to a counselor,’ she said in 2019. ‘She’s really easy to talk to. She gives me great strategies especially if I’m sad or happy or have a busy month ahead of me.

Both mother and daughter referred to each other as their 'best friend'

Both mother and daughter referred to each other as their ‘best friend’ 

Miss USA will be offering mental health workshops to its contestants to help them develop 'coping mechanisms' and to 'avoid depression' if they lose. The workshops were set up through 2008 winner and current owner of Miss USA Organization Crystle Stewart (pictured) and her foundation

Miss USA will be offering mental health workshops to its contestants to help them develop ‘coping mechanisms’ and to ‘avoid depression’ if they lose. The workshops were set up through 2008 winner and current owner of Miss USA Organization Crystle Stewart (pictured) and her foundation

‘When I’m not talking to my counselor, I spend time at the end of every single day to just decompress,’ Kryst said. ‘I unplug, I shut my phone off, I don’t answer messages. I just sit and watch my favorite movies.’

Now, Stewart said she has noticed ‘anxiety’ in contestants and wants to help. 

‘A lot of times – not all the time – but some of them do go through depression after the pageant, leading up to the pageant – sometimes they’re anxious and I notice that throughout speaking to some of the state titleholders beforehand, so I wanted to put in place workshops,’ she told TMZ. 

She also said a lot of beauty queens that lose the competition have a hard time, because unlike ‘NFL players and NBA players,’ these women get ‘one shot and if they don’t win, that’s it, they can’t come back and compete again.’ 

More importantly, she said her workshops will also help the ‘winners.’ She said: ‘Miss USA, there’s a lot that she has to do once she wins. She moves to Los Angeles the day after, she’s competing at Miss Universe, she’s a celebrity just like that. There’s a lot of mental prep that goes into that.’ 

The mental health workshops will be both before and after the pageant to help the women ‘cope with any losses or gains.’ 

As part of the programs, Stewart said the foundation will bring in a community of psychiatrists and mental health experts to help the ladies mentally prepare for such a big competition and be in front of a large crowd – both in-person and online. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please called the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

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