Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eminem Turns To Elton John For Substance Abuse Help

Detroit Examiner

Legendary singer/pianist Elton John is an unlikely confidant for oft troubled Detroit rapper Eminem, but Elton John says he's been helping Eminem kick drugs.

"I've been helping Eminem over the last 18 months and he's doing brilliantly," John told BBC Radio, without divulging details. The interview was taped over the holidays and broadcast today.

While John didn't discuss details, and host Danny Baker, did not pry, Eminem's drug problems are common knowledge.

"It's no secret I had a drug problem," Eminem told Vibe magazine, after he entered rehab in 2005 for addiction to sleeping pills before taking a three-year sabbatical.

    If I was to give you a number of Vicodin I would actually take in a day? Anywhere between 10 to 20. Valium, Ambien ... the numbers got so high I don't even know what I was taking.

When the rapper decided it was time to get help, he called Elton for support.

    He had a substance-abuse problem in the past. So when I first wanted to get sober, I called him, because he's somebody in the business who can relate to the lifestyle and how hectic things can be. He understands, like, the pressure and any other reasons that you wanna come up with for doing drugs.

Sir Elton John is no stranger to drug and alcohol abuse after his own battle with drugs and booze earlier in his legendary career. "To be honest with you, I don't know how I survived," John confessed. He acknowledges the problem is as rampant as it ever was.

    When you give it up, you tend to think everybody else has given it up, but of course it is just as prevalent as it ever was. And nowadays pills, such as downers, are even more damaging.

John has counseled other celebrity friends concerning substance abuse treatment over the years, including the late Michael Jackson, but says he doesn't force his advice on anyone. "I'm there if people want my help,"

"If people ask for help, you tell them where to go, but there's no point advising people if they don't want to do it."

Not everybody is interested in help or counsel. John has tried to help singer George Michael in the past only to be rebuffed. Elton holds no ill will though saying, "People used to tell me 'Oh, for Godsake, clean your act up." And I didn't want to know. I didn't want anyone's help. I used to get annoyed."

You can watch the entire interview here. (The Eminem conversation is at approximately 18-19 minutes in).

At the 2001 Grammy Awards, John and Eminem performed a memorable duet of the hip-hop star's hit song, "Stan." At the time, Eminem was under fire from gay rights groups because of his lyrics, but he later said he didn't know John was gay when he asked him to sing with him.

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