There are many and more celebrities who have found some reason or other to do the ultimate deed. We lose far too many celebrities each year (especially in 2016), so it’s pretty sad to know that for celebrities this is a pretty frequent thing. It’s somewhat understandable though. Everyone thinks they have it made, and in some ways (especially financially) they do. But one could imagine how realistically ridiculous it would be to be watched and followed everywhere one went. It would be torture to many, and clearly has been for a number of celebs.
This article isn’t about the celebrities who managed to escape this dilemma by taking their own lives. No, this piece is about those celebs who did try, or were just on the brink, but survived or were talked down. If one thought it crazy just how many stars got away with suicide, one might be boggled at the number and quality of the stars who managed to mess it up. And in many cases, thankfully messed it up. Yes they are just people, but the plebes do love to put people on a pedestal, so let’s dive in to another piece about the lives of people many wish they could be… until reading this article at least.
15. Tina Turner
One could hardly believe that a woman as strong (at least vocally), and as full of stamina as Tina Turner would try to end it all. Especially given that she was an active star for fifty five years. That being said, ten years into her career, she tried to take her own life. She was married to one Ike Turner, who had initially trained her musically, and was married when they began their sexual relationship. It wasn’t until they were married that Ike began abusing her. After suggesting that she might leave the group they were both in due to financial issues and their confusing relationship, Ike threw an object at her head, and then demanded they have sex. He has even been quoted as saying, “Sure, I’ve slapped Tina… There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her.” Not sure Ike ever received a beating himself, but he clearly dished them out to Tina. So, before a gig in 1968, and after a fight with Ike, Tina downed fifty Valium tablets. Amazingly, she survived. Also amazingly, Tina didn’t file for divorce until 1976…
14. Drew Barrymore
It’s amazing what can happen to kids when they hit stardom in Hollywood at such a young age. Basically Hollywood royalty from birth, thanks to one John Barrymore, Drew was thrown into the game almost right away. This resulted to her being addicted to alcohol and cocaine by the age of thirteen! Thirteen! The people responsible for her well being were clearly horrible people themselves to allow a child to get so screwed up by that age. She started drinking at age nine, started smoking pot at ten, and started hitting the rock at twelve. Her parents, open as they were and simultaneously horrible to their daughter, were not the right people to be around for a child starlet. So at fourteen, Drew Barrymore took a kitchen knife to her wrists. Managing to make it through, she got herself emancipated from her parents at fifteen and has since made an incredible name for herself (whether you love or hate her acting).
13. Ozzy Osbourne
This master of metal has had many brushes with death… not all self-imposed, but that’s besides the point. Details of any specific suicide attempts are rather sketchy, and likely due to a haze of drugs and alcohol, but there are reportedly many of them. The earliest of which occurred when he was just fourteen years old. Coming from a town that used to boast the highest rate of teen suicide per capita in Canada, this author knows quite a bit about the downward spiral teens can find themselves in, especially when they give way to despair by way of drug abuse. But from the ashes of such depraved abuse and alcoholism, Ozzy Osbourne still stands today as a pillar of the music industry (however grotesque some may think that pillar to be). The song “Suicide Solution” was written about the very compound that brought the singer’s life so near to an end so many times. In spite of this, more than one case has been brought against Osbourne for allegedly being responsible for the suicides of teens who listened to this song. Ozzy felt awful, but the cases were dismissed, and the lyrics speak of what can kill, not that one should.
Marshall Mathers, otherwise known as Eminem, tried to off himself after his then wife Kim Mathers (now Kim Scott) ended their relationship… for the first time. Torrid relationships can certainly be the cause of plenty of horrible deeds. Abuse, of one another, as well as of substances, and of course suicide are often found where tumultuous relationships reside. So in 1996, Eminem attempted suicide by downing an entire bottle of Tylenol. Much in the same vein as Liz Taylor, this did keep the relationship between he and Kim for a time. Though it was then Kim’s turn to try and end it all. Instead of pills, Kim slashed her wrists in the hopes of finding a way out. Subsequently Eminem, apparently accidentally, overdosed on prescription meds. Sober now, and no longer with Kim, custody battles have been settled, and their lives go on. Surely there are scars though, and this is more than apparent through the rapper’s lyrics. He carries many scars; perhaps the least of which being the torrid affair with Kim Scott.
11. Princess Diana
Now this has nothing to do with whether or not she was murdered by the royal family. Yes, she died in a car crash, in a tunnel, the driver survived, she didn’t, life’s tragic, move on. The point here is that, well before then, Diana was apparently not all that happy. And no one need think too hard as to why that might be. First off, no member of the royal family seemed to like her very much at all (which makes one wonder why anyone still cares about the bloody pointless family to begin with), and that seemed to include even her husband, Prince Charles. It was well known that Charles had at least one affair during their marriage, and Diana hinted at at least one more, but that was not necessarily the cause for the attempt. In general he treated her with little respect, and though she apparently loved him, he must have listened too closely to his ridiculous family. And so, due to the way he treated her, Diana flung herself down a flight of stairs in a vain attempt of suicide. Now there is every possibility that she could have broken her neck or died from blunt force, but the incident does read more like a cry for attention than an attempt of suicide. Unfortunately she only ever got attention from the rest of the world, and not her husband.
10. Britney Spears
It will likely come as no surprise to people that this sexually deviant, drug-addled pop star tried to commit suicide. Amazingly Britney Spears is now doing very well for herself in comparison to those dark days of shaving her head, gaining pounds, and getting way too much attention from the appalling paparazzi, which more than likely drove her even further into her descent to madness. Now the details of her suicide attempts are pretty sketchy, but not only her unauthorized biographer, but also some family and friends confirm that two attempts did in fact occur. In addition, her erratic behaviour, and clear depression had her making statements to people close to her like, “It’d be better if I could go to sleep and never wake up.” Most of this behaviour occurred after the birth of her second child Jayden. Now, this author is no doctor, but if anyone ever thought more than two seconds about the whole event, rather than focusing on just how off the rails she’d gone, one might come to the conclusion that she was suffering from postpartum depression. Just a thought. Either way, she’s on meds now, and has been rebuilding her career. She may still lip-sync, but that’s no different than any other pop star these days.
9. Mike Tyson
Yup, Iron Mike Tyson tried to commit suicide. This is a bit of a touch and go case, since Tyson denied allegations of attempted suicide while talking to the New York Times, but in a discussion with New York Daily News, Iron Mike had this to say, “If I was to learn something [from Don King] I could learn how to manipulate my fighters and take advantage of them and tell them lies and tell them I love them and the white man hates them and we’re brothers and everyone’s against us… And at the end of the day I can have all their money in my pocket and they’d be walking on the street and be feeling sad for themselves and do attempted suicide and use cocaine and overdose just like I did…” So it seems there are two ways this could go. Either Tyson has had great feelings of shame regarding his substance abuse and attempt on his life, and subsequently came out when discussing becoming a boxing promoter himself… or he’s used the allegations of such an incident for publicity in order to slag Don King and better push himself.
8. Owen Wilson
Not sure how many people would have seen this coming. The only drag that might be consistent for Wilson is comments about his nose (that has been enough to do worse for others). Regardless, Owen Wilson did not handle his break up with Kate Hudson well, it would seem, and he began to spiral out of control with the classic case of substance abuse. In addition to the drugs, Wilson apparently was clinically depressed also. Not that he was aware of this at the time. So, one night in 2007, in spite of his rising stardom, Owen Wilson slit his own wrists, and landed in the hospital. Clearly he survived and continues to either make people laugh, or make people angry. Either way, it’s good that he gets a reaction from people. Since his wrist-slitting incident, Wilson has gone out of his way to receive treatment for depression. Some may choose to believe that it’s not a real thing to diagnose, and that everyone has ups and downs, but regardless, he has sought out help, and received it. Who knows how much it will help? He’s still here at least.
7. Elizabeth Taylor
Oh those beautiful eyes. Yeah, the above photo is clearly enhanced, but that doesn’t change just how beautiful Liz Taylor was… at least on the outside. She was notorious for being a bit ugly on the inside from time to time. Especially during the filming of Cleopatra when her affair with Richard Burton began. There were many ugly scenes with her then husband Eddie Fisher, and then later with Burton as well. It’s unfortunate to say that even the perceived reasoning for Taylor’s attempted suicide is also quite ugly. Carrying on their affair for some time, it became clear to Burton that it had to end. Not able to accept failure, Liz Taylor overdosed on Seconal (an anesthetic and anti-convulsant). This was in 1962, so she had a good long stretch of melodramatic life left to her, to be sure. Some are certain the incident was an accident, while others are quite sure it was purposeful. The purpose not necessarily being suicide, but the continuance of her affair with Burton. The affair ended up with marriage, divorce, re-marriage, and many affairs between the two of them as well.
6. Halle Berry
Halle Berry was once married to baseball player David Justice, but upon the crumbling of that marriage, Berry turned to a darker side (not the dark side). Having turned down “A little movie called Speed” to be with her husband during training, he came to her and said it was over. So one day Halle decided to go to the garage with her two dogs… after an hour of contemplating, crying, and scribbling notes to her mom, she finally began the process of taking her life. She turned the car on, and for fifteen minutes sat there, eyes closed, expecting to fall asleep. This didn’t happen though. Instead she felt some sort of gnawing at her shoulder, and upon her spiritual contemplation of the afterlife, she turned the car off, and survived. What isn’t mentioned in the above interview with Oprah is whether or not her two dogs made it away safely as well (as one assume the gnawing on her shoulder was likely one of her pups). Regardless, she is safe, and has graced the silver screen with some great roles. Incidentally, Oprah is also a star who attempted suicide; she downed a bottle of laundry detergent out of fear of telling her father she was pregnant. She’s been quoted as saying, “When the baby died, I knew that it was my second chance.” … not the brightest words one might expect to hear from Winfrey, but honest all the same.
5. Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor is no longer with us either, just like Sammy, but his impact while he was still around, was incredible. He was an incredible actor and comedian, and have the world many a guffaw. His life wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. During the filming of Bustin’ Loose, Pryor had an incredible substance abuse problem. He spent days at a time freebasing cocaine. At forty years old, strung out on coke, Richard Pryor decided to pour 151-proof rum (very… very flammable) all over himself, and lit himself on fire. He then proceeded to run down the streets of L.A., away from his home, until finally being taken down by a police officer. He spent six weeks recovering in a hospital burn unit. His daughter tried to say it was drug-induced psychosis, but in an interview Pryor simply stated, “I tried to commit suicide. Next question.” Not too much farther into his career and Pryor began poking fun at the event himself. This goes to show the wonderful sense of humour that he had; he tried to kill himself, then turned it into his act. He even joked, while holding a lit match, “What’s that? Richard Pryor running down the street.”
4. Johnny Cash
Now this author will not speak to any belief in the supernatural or the divine, but if it was the excuse Cash wanted to use for saving his life, then his music is enough to spare him the criticism on his beliefs. Johnny Cash was heavily into drugs, which should be no surprise now, given the incredible trend thus far in this piece. “I was taking the pills for a while, and then the pills started taking me.” said Cash in one interview. In 1968, while wandering into the Nickajack Cave in Tennessee, strung out on drugs, Cash decided it was the end of the line. He attempted to lose himself in the cave (which at that point had been considerably flooded by the creation of a dam the year prior), and eventually passed out on the cave floor (luckily not in the water). Expecting to lay there until death came to take him, instead Cash felt what he said was God’s presence. In spite of his drug-induced exhaustion and being lost in the dark, he managed to find his way out by following a faint light and slight breeze (which could have been done without God’s aid, but all the same). Feeling reborn, Johnny proposed to June Carter on stage in London, Ontario that year. She agreed to marry him after he cleaned up… they were married one week later.
3. Elton John
Who would ever have thought that the fun-loving, flamboyant, and freaking awesome pianist and singer Sir Elton John would attempt to take his own life? Well, growing up in a time when it was certainly not acceptable to be gay, Elton John struggled with his sexuality for a considerable amount of time. Perhaps not wanting to face up to the reality of his sexuality, John stuck his head in a gas oven and began to breathe in the deadly fumes. This was to escape one of what ended up being two marriages to women before he finally came out and accepted himself. The song “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is in appreciation of the people who helped him through the oven incident. Years later though, during this dark period of his life, he would make another attempt by downing sixty Valium pills. Perhaps he caught wind from Tina Turner that fifty wouldn’t do the trick, but either way, thankfully, sixty couldn’t do it either! And a year after this second incident, Elton John came out with “Someone’s Final Song”. Now happily married to the man he loves, Elton John has managed to turn his own tragedies into successes, and he can now legally enjoy the fruits of a marriage he is happy to have.
2. Sammy Davis Jr.
He may no longer be among us, but it is a very good thing that this pivotal icon of music; the so-called one-eyed, black Jew, managed to escape from the clutches of self-imposed death in order to continue gracing us with his wonderful music. This is one of the saddest stories on the list though, to be sure. Back in a far more racist America, Sammy Davis Jr. was dating the woman of his dreams; his dearest love, actress Kim Novak. This was a secret relationship. Or so they thought. A number of gangsters didn’t quite approve of the interracial couple, and threatened to kill the crooner if he didn’t break things off. Of course he did (since it wasn’t likely that anyone would go to bat for him against the mafia), and out of convenience he married the African-American dancer Loray White (the painful irony of the name is hopefully not lost on anyone). On their wedding night, Sammy was said to have exclaimed, “Why can’t I be with the woman I love?” The famous singer then put a gun to his head, but it was thankfully wrestled from his hand by his assistant Arthur Silber Jr. It’s true, he never lived too happy a life after that, in spite of his incredible success, but he made the fans happy. And of ironic racism, it might be noted that while Kim Novak’s net worth is easily attained for this piece, Sammy Davis Jr’s, White’s and Silber’s remain in the ether.
1. Billy Joel
One can hardly believe that Billy Joel wasn’t always a star. In 1970, the band he was in at the time Attila went belly up, and Joel was lost without it. Looking for a way out, Joel thought it would be best to down a container of furniture polish. According to him, “It looked tastier than bleach.” Very thankfully, the famed Piano Man survived the surely disgusting descent into death, and has since put out hit after hit, inspiring countless thousands to dive into music themselves. Packing venues over and again, it’s a wonder that Billy Joel ever found himself in such a position. One could make the connection that there is a familial link to this sort of behaviour though. In 2009, after a messy breakup (with a boy though, and not with a band) Billy Joel‘s daughter Alexa Ray Joel, attempted suicide also. She downed a number of pills, though in her own defence, she has stated, “I got caught up in my own head. It was a panic. I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to feel what I was feeling at that moment any more.”