In Her Own Words: How Paula Abdul Eventually Came Clean
Paula Abdul this week lifted the curtain on a lot more than a new dance single.
After years of speculation, the singer and American Idol judge is coming clean about her 12-year struggle with pain medication. Abdul, who has been diagnosed with the chronic pain illness reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, says she went into rehab just this past November to end her reliance on medications. Here's a look back at her past statements about drug abuse.
April 2005: "Drugs? I'm not addicted to pills of any kind," Abdul tells People. She explains that, after attempting to treat old injuries incurred from cheerleading and accidents with meds that left her "loopy," she chose to instead live with the pain.
April 2005: "It was getting ugly with the lies people were saying," Abdul tells Entertainment Tonight, explaining her decision to publicly refute the addiction rumors. "It was time to set the record straight. I want America to know that I have never been addicted to anything. No chemical dependency, nothing for recreational purposes."
January 2007: After Abdul appears to slur during a Fox News interview, her manager issues a statement saying, "She never drinks. I have known Paula Abdul since she was 13, and I have never seen her drink ever in my life. And no, she is not on any kind of medication." Explaining the peculiar on-camera Q&A, the rep says, "She was a little tired."
February 2007: Abdul tells Us Weekly, "I've never been drunk. I have never done recreational drugs." She adds, "Just look at my 20-year career. Tell me someone who is into partying or doing drugs that could have done that." Aside from prescription medication for health problems, including inflammatory arthritis, Abdul says, "I'm squeaky clean."
March 2008: "I've never been drunk in my life and I've never done recreational drugs," Abdul reiterates to the U.K.'s Celebs on Sunday. "I was never a party girl, ever, ever — even when I was a 17-year-old working my first job as a choreographer."
April 24, 2009: In a sit-down with Abdul, Nightline's Cynthia McFadden asks, "You have not abused prescription drugs?" "Never," responds Paula. "No, no, no, no, no. Will not take those drugs. And you can check my medical records, there is nothing like that. I was never on Oxycontin or Vicodin or anything like that. I was on nerve medicine and anti-inflammatories." Then, addressing speculation that she has taped Idol appearances while inebriated, Abdul says, "Never. I've never been drunk in my life. I don't like it. It's not my thing."
April 24, 2009: The same night that Nightline airs their interview, Abdul shares via Twitter, "Disappointed that Cynthia [McFadden] tried SO HARD ... to make it look like I'm on drugs & alcohol. U know it's not true. THX 4 yr support!"
May 2009: Being more straight up about her past than ever, Abdul reveals to Ladies' Home Journal her 12-year struggle with prescription painkillers, saying, "I could have killed myself." Recalling her bid to wean herself off the meds last Thanksgiving, she said, "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."
Abdul's spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of her admission, so we put it to you: Why do you think she waited until now, after so many dismissals, to come forward with the story of her brave battle?
For the latest on American Idol, tune into TV Guide Network's Idol Tonight every Wednesday at 8 pm/ET and Idol Wrap every Friday at 8 pm/ET with co-hosts Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini. Plus get more on your favorite Idols every Friday with American Idol Rewind at 7 pm/ET.