Chester Bennington died of suicide today, TMZ reported. Tragically, he hanged himself in Palos Verdes Estates and was found just before 9 a.m. He leaves behind six children, a wife, and his ex-wife, Samantha Marie Olit Bennington.
Here’s more about Samantha.
1. Chester and Samantha Married in 1996 and Divorced in 2005
Chester and Samantha were married on October 31, 1996. They met when he was singing in a band in Arizona called Grey Daze. While they were married, he auditioned in 1998 for Linkin Park (then called Xero). During his early years in Linkin Park, they relationship began to suffer and they divorced in 2005.
2. They Had One Child Together, Draven Bennington
Chester and Samantha had one child together. Draven Sebastien Bennington was born on April 19, 2002. Samantha said that Draven inspired her to record a children’s meditation CD.
3. As a Child, Her Singing Helped Her Mother Recover From Serious Illness
Samantha has her own singing career, according to her website. She’s been called “Punk Rock Mother Theresa” and works with a country act called the Freddie Wray Project. According to her bio, her adopted mother was hospitalized and in intensive care when Samantha was only 7. She recorded a “get well” song for her mom, and her grandmother later told her that her mom had been pronounced dead, but her fingers started moving when she heard Samantha’s song, and she went on to recover.
After she and Chris divorced, Samantha started a burlesque dance troupe called Rhythm Kittens and later founded an independent label called SAM Records.
4. She’s Also a Life Coach
In her spare time, Samantha is also a life coach. According to her bio, she went back to school in 2007 to learn life coach skills — work that she had been doing unofficially for artists for years prior. She started Creative Life Coaching and now takes on private clients and blogs about her experiences. She now blogs for a website called Certainlyher, sharing her perspective on life. One of her most recent posts discussed dealing with negative people.
5. She’s in a Serious Relationship
Samantha has found love after Chester Bennington. She posted a heartfelt message on Instagram in early July about her soulmate, A.J. Williamwood. She wrote: “Loving sharing life with this man. We love each other on so many levels. The strength of our friendship will always be our foundation. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.”