Paula Abdul admits addiction to painkillers

In the most unsurprising American Idol news since Clay Aiken came out as gay, Paula Abdul has finally admitted to struggling with an addiction to painkillers, including one that was 80 times stronger than morphine. You know, drugs.

Just two weeks ago, Paula told ABC News, “I’ve never been addicted to any prescription drugs.” In other words, she lied. (She also said, “I’ve never been drunk.”) Paula previously admitted taking prescription medication for pain resulting from a car crash and emergency landing on a plane after having called herself “squeaky clean” despite slurring her way through interviews. Later, she maintained that she hadn’t done “recreational drugs,” a key qualification, and called drug use accusations “bullshit.”

But now, Ladies Home Journal reports reports that “[f]or the first time in 12 years Abdul says she’s no longer dependent on medication. The rumors that her sometimes-bizarre behavior was fueled by drugs just may have been true. Abdul was taking heavy-duty pain killers, though she claims she never shot an Idol episode under the influence.”

The magazine says “Paula wore a patch that delivered a pain medication about 80 times more potent than morphine and took a nerve medication to relieve her symptoms. Sometimes she took a muscle relaxer. But the pain was so bad it often left her sleepless and she would, as she says, ‘get weird.’ It was the combination of these factors that may have led to the impression that she was high at times when she was on the air.”

Last Thanksgiving, Paula went into self-created rehab after a 12-year addiction to medication, going to the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad. “I could have killed myself…. Withdrawal — it’s the worst thing. I was freezing cold, then sweating hot, then chattering and in so much pain, it was excruciating. But at my very core, I did not like existing the way I had been,” Paula told the magazine.

Paula Abdul, Straight Up [Ladies Home Journal]
Paula Abdul: ‘I’ve Never Been Addicted to Drugs’ [ABC News]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.