To Belinda Carlisle's fans, the gorgeous Go-Go appeared to have it all. She led a charmed life complete with musical success, a great marriage and unmatched beauty. But underneath it all, the singer has had her share of struggles. "I hit a lot of bottoms," she tells PopEater while discussing her searing new memoir, 'Lips Unsealed.' Those lows had an awful lot to do with a cocaine habit that grabbed hold of her for 30 years.
Now 51, she's been sober only five years. "I don't know why it took me so long," she says. Her inspiration? The thought of her teenage son, Duke, whose dad is Morgan Mason, one day finding his mom dead of an overdose. "That's pretty low," she tells us. "You can't be my age and doing the amount of cocaine I was doing."
In our full interview, Carlisle talks candidly about how she kicked coke, the painful criticism about her weight ("It really messed my head up"), feeling bad for old friend Fergie and having no regrets about her gloriously-debauched days in The Go-Go's.
Your book made me sad! You struggled for so long.
Actually, it'd be really sad if it didn't have a happy ending. I'm glad I went through all that actually, and I'm really, really happy with where I'm at today.
How many years were you hooked on cocaine?
Probably 30 years with nine months off from drugs when I was pregnant. Everyday pretty much.
I remember reading about you living in the south of France, married to this really handsome guy and thinking you had an amazing life.
You never ever know what's going on underneath the surface. I think the thing that kept me going along for so long is I clean up really well. I could afford to have facials and massages and dress nicely and fool myself even that I was OK and fool everyone around me that I was OK, living in the south of France, jet-setting everywhere, looking great. Everything must be perfect. You know, I held it together and I gave that impression for years and years, but I think the last couple of years I wasn't fooling anybody.
What's amazing is that you didn't go to rehab.
I thought if it wasn't going to work, I'd go to rehab. That was kind of the last thing. I made so many promises to so many people so many times through the years that I was going to stop and I couldn't keep it and I knew it deep down inside. I hit a lot of bottoms. I don't know why it took me so long. I guess I just wasn't ready. It was weird when I quit. I was struck. I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be dead if I continued. I just knew it came down to choosing life or death, and I chose life. I was at the end of a three-day binge. I remember thinking how humiliating it would be for my son to have his mom die in a hotel room of a cocaine overdose. That's pretty low. I knew if I didn't stop I'd be dead. You can't be my age and doing the amount of cocaine I was doing.
You were friends with Fergie. What's your take on what's being going on?
I feel really bad for her. Honestly, I couldn't even watch the tape. It's horrible. I feel really bad for her. To do something like that, you've got to be in a really bad place. God knows what she was thinking, but I feel really, really bad and embarrassed for her. I haven't seen her in ages. I just hung out with her that one summer. It was just one of those summer flings, I guess.
Over the years, the press really focused on your weight.
It really messed my head up. It really affected me in some ways. It really pushes my buttons today, although not as much because I figure if I'm going to be age fifty and obsess about that kind of stuff then something really wrong is going on. It absolutely fed into my whole eating disorder
How do you eat now?
It's funny because I haven't been in America in over a year until coming here for the book, and it's different in Europe and India, where I spend a lot of time. I forget what it's like. My eating habits are totally normal, I never deprive myself, and I just don't eat like a pig. I think I have a healthy relationship with food now. I do know that when I spend too much time in LA it messes with my head. In some ways, it's such a hard place to live in. It's really tough if you have any insecurities at all. I think being a woman in American society, where they definitely put emphasis on how much you weigh, it's just too tough.
Your son came out to you as a teen.
If there are any parents out there who are struggling with knowing their kid is gay, wanting to throw them out or not loving them -- which I don't understand at all -- then I hope this book helps. So I know if this can open somebody's mind just a little bit then I'm glad I wrote the book.
Is that why you included it?
It was a big deal in my life when my son came out to me. Most of my friends are gay and lesbian, but when it's your own kid ... My son's openly gay, so it wasn't like I was revealing anything. My son said the same thing -- that maybe it'll help some parent who's unaccepting of their child's sexuality.
What do you think of the current crop of female singers?
Honestly, I don't pay that much attention to new music. There's some good music out there though. I love Beyonce, Rihanna, Florence and the Machine.
The Go-Go's were quite debauched in their day.
Well, we were just doing what the boys did. I mean why not? We were young, we were rich, no responsibilities. We were famous and we had a good time with it. We had a great time.
What's a typical day for you?
If I'm home, I get up and do yoga and go for a hike and then I take an old lady nap. I read a lot. Same thing at my place in Goa, India.
How does one get friendly enough with you to score an invite to your house in France?
We're pretty private. It's funny because Sandra Bernhard was saying, "You've never invited us to your house," and I was like, "I never really think about it." I'm so over the place. This past year, I've hardly been there myself.
So the answer is you can't.