Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll go together so well that people just wear t-shirts that say, "Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll." But what about pop music?
It turns out drugs and pop music go together like money and excess. But in the pop music world, being a substance abuser is a lot less glamorous. Pop musicians are supposed to be bubbly, shiny, perfect beings, not doped-up slack jaws with crazy-ass hair.
It's a double standard. But it's a harsh reality that's forced many entertainers to hide and lie about their addictions for years.
The only music video we remember seeing of Robbie Williams' career is some weird song where he ripped all his skin off, but to the rest of the world, Robbie Williams is something like another white Michael Jackson. But even with most of the world's respect and adoration at his feet, Williams fell victim to the ways of cocaine. He admitted to the Daily Mail just how severe the danger became. "I was taking a whole cocktail of drugs. My left arm went numb I was taking so much," he said. "I managed to escape by the skin of my teeth and I'm lucky. I was days away from dying quite a few times on all manner of substances." This was all back in the '90s, and Williams is doing much better now, making him one of the lucky ones.
It's no secret that Gaga struggles with fame. But did you realize to what extent she'll go for a little release? We admit, it was hard not to LOL when reading her comments from a Z100 radio interview. "I was smoking up to 15, 20 marijuana cigarettes a day with no tobacco," she said. "I was living on a totally other psychedelic plane, numbing myself completely." Sure, what Gaga calls addiction, Snoop Dogg calls breakfast, but that doesn't mean her dependence on weed to get her through the day wasn't doing damage. The Artpop star admits she continues to battle addiction in many different forms. Hey, at least she's got self-awareness on her side.
A. J. McLean
Most Americans never forget where they were when Kennedy was shot or when the Twin Towers were toppled, but there's at least one generation of girls that feel just as strongly about the moment the Backstreet Boys disbanded. They got on MTV and announced that member A.J. McLean was entering himself into rehab, cancelling the rest of the tour. That was the first time we heard about McLean's struggle, but certainly not the last. Just a year ago, in December of 2012, A.J. returned to rehab, just weeks after the birth of his first child. This time though, the trip to rehab didn't affect the band's reunion tour, which successfully continued on. McLean continues to value the support from his family and bandmates as inspiration.
She topped the charts with the song "Heart Attack," and by the sound of it, that's where she was headed at the tender age of 19. Even as a child, the Disney star was severely addicted to cocaine. So much so, she would sneak it onto airplanes. At the worst of it, she admitted that she couldn't go 30 minutes without a bump. "I'm very, very good at manipulating people and that was something that I did in my disease, I would manipulate everyone around me," she said to Access Hollywood. "I had a moment where I was like, 'Oh my God... that is alcoholic behavior. [It's] no longer, I'm young and rebellious and out having fun, it was, wow, I'm one of those people...I gotta get my shit together,'" she continued. We assume that means she's got her act cleaned up now, but you know how these things can go. Better stay straight and narrow, Demi!
He claims to have beaten Shaq on the court, but it was a lot harder to beat the Xanax addiction that plagued his youth and his sister. In this heart-wrenching radio interview, the younger Carter boy opens up about the addiction that lead to his sister's overdose, and the dependence that sent him out of the limelight and into the Betty Ford clinic. "I wanted out of that Hell," he said. "I'm not afraid of it, I live my life, I still have my fun, but I know what I have to do." Kudos to you, Aaron Carter, for getting your shit together. It's sad it took the loss of someone so close to put things in perspective.
Speaking of perspective, perhaps Miley should have a sit-down chat with some of her peers. The whole world currently has a front-row seat to her recreational demise. Alright, we can't really say how the drugs are affecting her, but if it makes her feel comfortable being in the same room with known rapist Terry Richardson, we have to wonder about her mental stability. She's obs doing tons of Molly, is very open about her marijuana smoking, and we know she's down with the hallucinogens. We've been in our early 20s, too, and we know it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. We don't think she's doing anything wrong, but we hope she knows when to say "enough is enough."
If Miley needs an example of how drugs and erratic behavior can mess with an entertainer's career, she need only google Britney Spears in 2007. The once innocent-sexpot had her own all grown up moment, albeit a lot messier than Miley's tour of indecency. All year, Spears was pictured going into nasty bathrooms without shoes, driving cars with her babies in her lap, and of course, shaving her head to avoid court-ordered hair-follicle drug testing (that's our theory, anyway). Sure, she lives through it, and it didn't really ruin her career, but Spears has never regained the shimmer of glory she once enjoyed before she "went crazy." Now, she's even considering early retirement. Maybe it's a good thing.
See also: Britney Spears: Why It's Time to Retire
It's easy to point fingers and make jokes about people who overcome their addiction, but a lot of drug abusers don't get the opportunity to tell their side of the story. We're all familiar with the untimely death of the great vocalist Amy Winehouse. Her gutter-star lifestyle enabled her to sing soulful melodies with authenticity, but it also lead to her death at 27 years old. She was trying to clean up her act, but too many nights of boozing and using left her body unable to cope. She died of alcohol intoxication in 2011, and now, she's nothing but a memory.
Houston was a huge star and, in her own right, an icon for civil rights. Her voice was too big to me ignored by the white-friendly programmers at MTV, and her breakthrough into mainstream stardom inspired numerous women of color to follow their dreams. But like many who rise to such great heights, her fall was swift and painful. The world watched and laughed as Whitney, and her husband Bobby, spent decades throwing away their talent and money on narcotics. It wasn't until her body was found lifeless in a bathtub that the world remembered why she was beloved in the first place. Too little too late, in our opinion. Houston remains an inspiration and an unmatched star, but her legacy is forever tainted by her darkest moments.
See also: Top Ten Totally Batshit Crazy Musicians
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"Wacko Jacko." People really call him that. He's the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen, created pop music so compelling that multiple allegations of child molestation couldn't overshadow his artistic contributions, and yet, he's the most tragic figure the world of entertainment has ever known. From childhood, his life was one big trainwreck. He lied about his age, witnessed his brothers having sex with groupies on tour, was abused by his father and constantly made to feel inadequate. Meanwhile, he was changing the world with his every move. He was the first non-white artist to make it to MTV, wrote and recorded Thriller, and forever changed the way the world views red jackets with zippers. But then shit got weird. His skin color changed, his face changed, and his addition to heavy narcotics spiraled into insanity. It killed him in the end. He would get regular I.V. injections of propofol, a sleep aid, and the constant use took it's tool, killing him in his own bed in 2009. His doctor was charged for the death, and fingers were also pointed at promoters who allegedly pushed the star to perform, but in the end, it was decided that Jackson's own choices lead to his demise. He's sorely missed, but at least he can't have any more plastic surgery.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.