Vicky Karayiannis Cornell was far from being popular before she married her celebrity husband Chris Cornell. After he committed suicide in 2017, she had nothing to do but to proceed with the charity foundation development they had established. His death also made her dedicate her life to the proper investigation of the reasons for Chris’ suicide. Let’s find out what she managed to reveal, what she does for living, and other personal details of her current life.
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Early life and family
Vicky Karayiannis was born on 13 August 1978 in Greece, under the sign of Leo and holding Greek nationality. Her father’s name is unknown, but her mother’s name is Toni Karayiannis.
Vicky has a brother named Nicholas Karayiannis. Her family has a restaurant and music business they ran in Greece. As soon as Vicky’s brother Nicholas inherited his part of the business, he opened a restaurant in New York to develop their family entrepreneurship. He is also known as DJ Nick Blast, as he often acts as a DJ for parties and events in his restaurant. Vicky shared that they were used to work hard since their childhood, so they knew from their young age what it is like to be responsible, hardworking, honest and strong.
Almost nothing is known about Vicky’s educational background, except that she matriculated from her high school in 1996.
As she later worked as a publicist, she may have a degree in journalism, communications, or public relations. However, Vicky never mentioned the university or college she graduated from.
Career and charity activities
It is known that Vicky worked as a publicist in Paris, France, where she met her future husband, Chris Cornell, and moved to the US with him in 2004 when they decided to marry. In 2012, Vicky became a philanthropist, establishing “Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation”, with Chris, which now mostly helps vulnerable children, as Chris loved this cause the most. Vicky now also works as a hostess and co-hostess on various events and charity evenings.
Recently she co-hosted 2018 Spring Luncheon for The NYSPCC (The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). The NYSPCC is the first child protective agency in the world which prevents and treats child abuse in all its forms. It is worth saying that in 2018 the event raised over $400,000 to benefit programs for kids. Vicky also supports and collaborates with the International Rescue Committee (the IRC) which supports refugees and displaced people, providing them shelter, clean water, education, health care, etc.
Personal life, late husband Chris Cornell
Vicky met Chris Cornell for the first time when he was on tour in Paris in 2003, at the Hotel Plaza Athénée, a luxury five-star hotel near the Champs-Elysées.
Chris and his band “Audioslave” had an after-party there, and Vicky was invited as she participated in the arrangement of the party. They instantly felt mutual interest for each other – Chris was married to his first wife, Sarah Silver, the manager of “Alice In Chains” company, but they divorced in 2004, after which Chris proposed to Vicky with a huge diamond ring from Harry Winston. They married the same year, inviting only close friends and family to their private ceremony. In September 2004 Vicky gave birth to their daughter, Toni. Their second child, a son, was born a year later in December 2005, and named Christopher Nicholas. Chris also has a daughter from his first marriage; her name is Lilian Jean, born in 2000.
Chris Cornell’s Death
Vicky is the probably the only person who can now shed some light on the reasons for her husband’s death. She considers his suicide to have happened under questionable circumstances. She insists the largest fault lies with Chris’ physician, who was not careful and attentive enough to study him and to prescribe the right treatment. Vicky remembers Chris complained that he injured his shoulder and went to his physician, Dr. Robert Koblin. Though Chris was suffering from depression at that moment, his doctor was sure he needed to take benzodiazepine, psychoactive drugs which, to Vicky’s mind and the information she got from authoritative specialists, were forbidden to be taken by people who suffer from depression.
As she said, these drugs are “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances”. Chris was found dead on 17 May 2017 in the bathroom of the MGM Grand Detroit hotel room he stayed in, after his show with the “Soundgarden” band at the Fox Theater. Even though the coroner stated Chris’ death to be suicide by hanging, Vicky insists he couldn’t do it, and the reason for such a fatal decision lies in the doctor’s wrong prescriptions. She thinks the drugs altered his mind and made him kill himself. In November 2018 Vicky officially sued her husband’s doctor for his fatal professional negligence, which is yet to be resolved.
Chris Cornell’s legacy
Christopher John Cornell (né Boyle, his mother’s maiden name) was born on 20 July 1964 in Seattle, Washington State USA.
The limited-edition Chris Cornell #Gibson ES-335 Tribute Signature Guitar is now available worldwide.
— Chris Cornell (@chriscornell) September 3, 2019
From a young age he wanted to be a musician; he started his musical career being a drummer, but later switched to the guitar and singing. Beside his successful solo career, he was also a member of such music bands as “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave” and “Temple of the Dog”. Chris also acted as a producer of the “Screaming Trees” band, and their album called “Uncle Anesthesia”. Chris and his wife Vicky realized that their net worth allowed them to help other people; their foundation still helps victims of human trafficking and children living in refugee camps, provides shelters for the homeless, and educational programs for women and children. Vicky also created a special program for the Seattle-based nonprofit Childhaven organization called “the Chris Cornell Music Therapy Program”.
It is worth saying that Chris’ death badly influenced his close friend and colleague, Chester Bennington, the lead singer of “Linkin Park” – on Chris’ anniversary, Chester committed suicide by hanging, just as Chris did. Chester was also godfather to Chris’ son Christopher. Chris was a good friend of many celebrities, such as Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, Alice Cooper, Tom Morello and many others, and they all still can’t believe he has gone so early.
Vicky was presented a Harry Winston ring as her engagement ring, but in fact Chris proposed spontaneously, not even having a proper ring. He came to the Beverly Hill hotel where Vicky stayed, and woke her up saying she had to take his necklace back.
Even though Vicky didn’t understand anything, he proceeded to cut the necklace off and took the silver ring that hung on it and said: ‘I woke up and had the strangest vision of doing this. I’m not prepared with the real ring, but I want to marry you’. The ring that was simply decorating the necklace Chris once presented Vicky without any thought fitted perfectly. Vicky then kept it as her wedding ring, and still wears it.
Social media presence
Vicky is quite active on various social media platforms; she also manages her husband’s online accounts and keeps posting photos and videos there in his memory. Thus, her own Instagram has attracted almost 50,000 subscribers, while Chris’ Instagram account is still followed by over 560,000 fans.
Appearance, clothing style
Vicky has naturally straight dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She is 6 ft 2 ins (1.88 m) tall and weighs around 150lbs (68kgs) – her vital statistics are not available. As to her clothing style, she prefers classy and casual looks, choosing feminine suits, blazers, shirts and classy jeans. She likes wearing high heels.
Net worth and salary
Authoritative sources say that Vicky inherited Chris Cornell’s full net worth of $60 million. She also inherited all the copyrights to his music and merchandise, so she benefits from them greatly. However, one can hardly say she is enjoying her wealth, as she would rather prefer not having it, regarding the reason for her inheritance.