This post discusses eating disorders and drug use, and could be triggering to some readers.
When Amy Winehouse died 10 years ago, at the age of 27, the British tabloids had plenty to say.
The Sunday People quoted a source claiming Winehouse had been seen buying cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and ketamine before her death.
The Sunday Mirror had a “friend” blaming an ecstasy overdose, saying it was “obviously a dodgy pill”. Even The Washington Post called her a “drug-haunted diva” in its headline.
Watch the trailer for Amy Winehouse's 2015 documentary. Post continues below.
But the truth was sadder and more complicated. At the time of her death, the outrageously talented singer hadn’t touched drugs in three years.
There’s no doubt Winehouse was troubled.
Growing up in London, her taxi driver dad Mitch split from her mum Janis when she was nine, after a long-running affair with a co-worker. Her talent shone through at an early age, but so did her mental health issues. She began self-harming after her parents split, leaving scars on her arms.
“It’s a funny thing, a morbid curiosity,” she told Q magazine. “I’m talking about when I was nine. What does it feel like? ‘Ow, that f*****g hurts.’”
She smoked marijuana and skipped school.
At the age of 14, she started on antidepressants, and around the same time, bought a guitar and started writing songs.
Self-conscious about her appearance, she became bulimic. Her mum remembers the time she told her about it.
“When she was probably 15, she one day said, ‘I’ve got this really great diet, Mum. I eat what I want and then I just bring it all up,’” her mum says in the documentary Amy. “I obviously did not think that deeply of it. My feeling was it would pass.”
Winehouse scored a record deal when she was still in her teens, and moved into her own flat.