June 1, 2010

Belinda Carlisle: Secret drug use was "horrible thing to have to carry around"

Posted: 02:38 PM ET

Eighties icon Belinda Carlisle is opening up about her music, her struggles with drugs and alcohol and her life as lead singer of the iconic group, The Go-Go’s, and  as a successful solo artist.

In her new autobiography, “Lips Unsealed,” Carlisle speaks of her secret drug habit late in life, her success, her regrets and gives up some major dirt on numerous celebrity encounters over the years.  The book is Larry King’s pick of the week!

Carlisle spoke to us at LKL Blog about the book, about her life and about how she feels as The Go-Go’s are about to start their FINAL tour ever.  

LKL Blog:  The book is so brutally honest – literally about sex, drugs and rock and roll.  How hard was it to put this all down on paper and why do it?

Belinda Carlisle:  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I’ve always known I had an extraordinary life.  And that I had a story to tell.  And I’ve been toying with the idea for about 20 years, of writing a book.  I always felt that I needed some sort of angle for it and little did I know what the angle would be.  I just felt like it was a really good story, as it does have a little bit of dirty laundry, but for the most part it’s a book that can inspire people.  It shows you that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  And that you can overcome abuse and addiction.  And also for women, especially my age, that their lives aren’t over.  For me, my life is better than it ever was.  It’s more vast and I’m in my 50s.  I wouldn’t have thought that back when I was younger.  I thought I’d be winding down.  But I’m not.

LKL Blog:  Did you think about that when you were younger?  Did you think you’d be where you are today or did you not think that far ahead?

Carlisle:  I always kind of wondered where I would be.  I never thought my career was going to last as long as it has and that I’d be doing this after 30 years.  I work a lot in Europe still.  I wouldn’t have thought I’d be living in the south of France.  Or between France and India and having this kind of crazy life and interests outside of music.  I wouldn’t have thought it could be so amazing at this age.  I was just talking to a girlfriend discussing how amazing 50 is.

LKL Blog:  I didn’t realize you were still heavily using drugs, cocaine, up until just a few years ago.

Carlisle:  Nobody did.  I was clean from cocaine for probably about five years.  And as I write in the book, all it took was one evening.  My program was I could do anything.  Including hallucinogens.  But I couldn’t do coke, because that would be my downfall – but it crept back into my life.  It was a horrible, horrible thing to have to carry around because everyone thought I was sober.  I had gone through so much the first time around. 

It got to a point where I would feel so guilty whenever anyone asked, so I would just say I used the 12-step program as a guide for living.  But after a certain point, I couldn’t blatantly lie and say I’m sober.  I just couldn’t.  I carried a lot of shame around about that.  It was hideous to try and hide it.  There were times when I was out and about – out of my mind – and people thought I was sober.

LKL Blog:  How are you doing today?

Carlisle:  Oh.  It’s been five years and it’s weird.  I was kind of struck sober.  I’m completely into my program.  I have a spiritual base between my program and my yoga.  I know you can never say never, but it’s off my radar.  I never would have thought after 30 years of consistent using that it would be off my radar at one point.

LKL Blog:  Was there any hesitation at all for this book?  Anything that was too hard to write about or gave you pause before you put it in?

Carlisle:  The drugs, I didn’t care about.  It didn’t bother me to talk about it because it wasn’t that hard.  And I figured it could help somebody out there.  But for me, the most painful stuff to write about was not being the mother that I could have been and should have been because I was so sick.  And that was really, really hard to get into and painful to write about.

LKL Blog:  How much of this did your son know about?  Did he read the book?  Did he know about your life?

Carlisle:  Oh, he read the book.  He knows everything.  I’ve brought him to meetings with me.  I want him to know.  I want him to know how hideous it all is.  I though it was important for him to know.  My mom and dad, I told them not to read the book.  I don’t want them to have to read about how hard it was for me.  My husband, he read the book and he didn’t realize the extent of my addiction.  He knew that I was struggling, but he didn’t know I was a consistent user.

LKL Blog:  So what are your son’s and your husband’s reaction to the book?  

Carlisle:  They loved it.  They thought it’s funny and sad and they appreciate the honesty.  And they are very, very supportive.  They realize that it was a hard thing to do.  There are three things my husband says you have to do in life:  have a baby, plant a tree and write a book.  And I’ve all done all three now.

LKL Blog:  Looking back at everything you’ve been through, how it’s shaped you and how your life has turned out, would you go back and do anything differently?

Carlisle:  Well, the only thing is, I would have been more present as a mother.  I just had no idea the hurt I caused to the people around me.  I would like to take that back.  But I wouldn’t take my addiction back.  Although it was really, really hard – and I have to admit, it was fun in the beginning – it was really hard to go through and painful, but I like that I had to go through that to get to where I am.  And I wouldn’t have traded that.  And I wouldn’t have found my program without it.  I think the world would be a much better place if everybody did the 12-steps without any sort of problem because it’s such an amazing, amazing way to live.

LKL Blog:  The Go-Go’s are on tour this summer, this July, right?

Carlisle:  Right, it’s the last tour. 

LKL Blog:  How do you feel about that?

Carlisle:  I think it’s time actually.  We’ve been working together for a long time.  And my life is in India and France and now, honestly, I don’t want to work that hard anymore.  I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor and do crazy things.  I think some of the other girls might have wanted a few more years, but it’s kind of hard for me to go back and forth.  So we all decided maybe it was the time to move on.

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Maria Copelli   June 1st, 2010 3:17 pm ET

Belinda,you are so pretty ,and so talented ,whenever I hear your voice ,I am back in the 80's at the beach ,and having such good vibes from your band! It was good to see you on Dancing ! Your band was arefreshoing change from the rest ,thank you for all the hard work that went into entertaining us! Love Maria C.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 1st, 2010 8:52 pm ET

I am glad to hear that she is enjoying life in her 50s and not slowing down. It is brave of anyone to write a book about their life and lay it all out there. Her inspiration behind it........that someone might learn something from it......... is a very good one.

I will be looking out for her book. She has had an interesting life by the sounds of it.

mary marino   June 1st, 2010 10:21 pm ET

thank u for your courage....i am a recovering addict in 12 step also and in my 50s...loved your music..still love it...cant wait to read your book.

American Patriot   June 2nd, 2010 9:00 am ET

To the Department of Defense. This is the Complaint I filed with the DOD.

I would like to file a Complaint against Mr. Eric Holder for refusing to Enforce Federal Immigration laws in the United States that he SWORE AN OATH to uphold.

It wouldn't matter if you are Latino or Hispanic or Norwegian," she said. "If you didn't have proof of citizenship and the police officer had reasonable suspicion, he would ask and verify your citizenship. I mean, that's the way that it is. That's what the federal law says. And that's what the law in Arizona says." GOVERNOR OF AIRZONA…..

Mr. Holder has refused to do the job he swore and Oath to and uphold and Enforce the Laws of the U.S.

This is a vote of NO Confidence against Mr. Holder by the American People at a rate of 80%, that is how many Americans support the Arizona Bill.

By Mr. Holder refusing to ENFORCE Federal Immigration Laws and the Laws of this United States.

I call for his removal from office of the Attorney General of the United States on the basis of failing and willful refusal to uphold the Law.

I will circulate this on the internet to get signatures from U.S. Citizens from all over the United States. With 80% of American Citizens demanding the Federal Immigration Law be enforced, I am confident my petition will get millions of signatures and make it on mainstream Media.


onyeche chinyere   June 2nd, 2010 9:42 am ET

Thanks for the bold step you took, to share your experience, with the intention to help others who are in such situation to know, that is possible to quit only if the are determine.

Gwenn   June 2nd, 2010 1:24 pm ET

American Patriot: You are an idiot, plain & simple. You can petition ALL you want, get 5 million signatures and he still cannot be removed from office. Perhaps you should take an American Government class since you obviously know nothing about CABINET appointments being made strictly by the POTUS. He can only be removed by the President himself. All your bigoted and racist opinions are just that, nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps you should MOVE to another country, of course its the same everywhere, so get used to it. Prehaps you could take one of the jobs you think an illegal has taken from a US citizen! You could be a dishwasher, gardener, house painter, drop off leaflets at someone's house, babysit some rich family's children, or clean their house; lets see what else..... You wouldn't do ANY of these and you know it, so shut up. Many Immigrants are sustainable, decent human beings who only want a better life, and may I remind you, that Arizona's law is nothing but a witch hunt for hispanics, not 'immigrants' who come from ALL over the world to this country. When Arizona stops an illegal from Canada, Sweden, UK, Europe, Africa, China, Asia, Russia, then you can say something, but, until someone OTHER than a hispanic is stopped for being a 'suspected' illegal, then you & the people fo Arizona need to just shut up you racist, bigoted idiots.

laffitoff   June 2nd, 2010 2:55 pm ET

AmericanPatriot – The US gov't should just tax the businesses that hire illegal immigrants and leave the immigrants alone. They are coming here for the opportunities provided by big business. The big businesses are at fault, not the people coming here for a better life. Don't hate the playah!

steve   June 2nd, 2010 2:55 pm ET


i am almost certain you do not live in Arizona but it is amazing how well you know these people and understand their proclaimed despicable motives for passing their immigration laws. Our Federal Government thumbs their collective nose at them and worse, uses the problem for political gain all while watching them live in much greater crime, full hospital emergency rooms and welfare lines at their expense. However, you want to believe the worst of your fellow Americans, that they are solely driven by the fact that they loathe someone because they have different color skin. Where is the basis of your conclusion? When I look around America, I see the most loving, generous, tolerant, righteous, moral and altruistic people on the planet. I would like to know what you see or are you simply dismissing them and assuming they are inhuman because you are too lazy to look around and spend the time and energy to really understand the challenges they are experiencing every day?

Gwenn Lover   June 2nd, 2010 3:00 pm ET

Oh Gwenn Gwenn Gwenn... I love you. You have a miserable knowledge of current affairs, but I love you. Not in a stalker way, I promise. Here is a hint: One can't take a single true statement and have it level true the rest of the junk you wish to propagate. If I can't raise feral cats in my neighborhood the onus is on ME to change the law that exists. No matter how much I love my feral cats. That law can be brought down on me at any time even if I don't like it. The law as it stands is that immigrants need to carry papers and that if you don't have them, more if you never had them, that you will be deported. Preferably in a humane way. The only law we need to ass is one against hyperbole in media and opinion. I'm joking there, you have a right to your opinion and you will be very sad when you loose it. We are all just so lucky that we get this medium to hear your sarcastic uninformed and illogical views!

Go ahead, call me a racist.. I'm sure "Patriot" doesn't care about what you call him either. Want another clue? Ok! Any time you take a topic and resort to personal name calling you have just lost. Example: Topic is the current law and how it is or is not being enforced. You say he is racist because he wants current law enforced. Ummmm I don't think you know him personally do you? Or are you so intelligent that you can infer from his text his whole psyche? Good for you! Well done!

Ok I'm done with you. Go back to dreaming about your nirvana and the rest of us that actually deal day to day with the real world will keep pushing forward.

Ok I lied. One more shot. If you truly cared as much as you would like us to think you do about immigration and race issues you wouldn't live in the US. Go to Mexico, Peru, Argentina, just about anywhere in Africa, Middle East, Asia... Speaking of Asia, bough anything from China today? You are supporting an inhumane government! How awful and dark it must be to live in your head...

Meow. Put that in your smoke and pipe it 🙂

Jor   June 2nd, 2010 3:15 pm ET

Gwenn...You must have had a nice life if you never did any of those jobs you say americans won't do. That's such a bogus argument.

Jor   June 2nd, 2010 3:24 pm ET

Gwenn... Most people would be happy to let the immigrants come in and work as long as they came in legally with a work visa, paid taxes and followed the rules. Why don't you ask the federal government why such a system can not be implemented? Sounds pretty straight forward to me. Also, I would fine the heck out of people using illegal workers. So instead of name calling, ask your federal government WHY?

Alex   June 2nd, 2010 3:45 pm ET

I thought this article was about Belinda Carlisle, the Go-Go's, 80's music. Are there not enough immigration articles somewhere else where people can go post their vitriol?

Boof   June 2nd, 2010 3:59 pm ET

I thought this was about Belinda Carlisle. Why don't you trolls take your argument somewhere else. Your killing my buzz.

The 80's were definitely a different time. We're lucky any of us survived. I quit the distructive stuff a long time ago with no regrets Hell, I had a blast.

Gwenn Lover   June 2nd, 2010 4:23 pm ET

Alex, Boof... If you don't see how immigration ties in with Carlisle then... we truly lost as a nation! Don't you know she was a CIA plant for the record labels? The Runaways were aimed at the eastern block countries and the GoGos were focused straight south at central and south america!

Don't be blind!

Ok, maybe you are right. I just can't stand blatant argument fallacy anywhere I see it much less out of place. LOL My anti-Gwenn rant was the first time I have ever posted on CNN anyways.

Soooo this has been a test. Had it been a real post you would have been directed to emergency blogs...


Captain Buzz-kill   June 2nd, 2010 4:28 pm ET

To Gwenn Lover: I truly hope you were drunk when you wrote and posted your comment. Not only are your supposed arguments bizarre, but your spelling, grammar, and word choice are atrocious. You might want to consider some remedial English classes, so that no one mistakes you for an immigrant and insists upon seeing your papers.

To American Patriot: Why would you choose to post your whacked-out Eric Holder commentary on a site about Belinda Carlisle? Posting political statements on a site that has nothing to do with politics makes about as much sense as your ill-informed and nonsensical comment. When you can write intelligently in your native language, and understand the American political and legal processes then perhaps you can start saying who and who should not be allowed to live in the USA. If you would like to learn more about the United States of America, and about its native language (English) I would recommend starting with “Schoolhouse Rock.” Hopefully that won’t be too taxing on your brain cell.

I have to agree with Boof, all political posters on this site (including yours truly) should be dubbed “Captain Buzz-kill.”

Kris   June 2nd, 2010 4:43 pm ET

I grew up in the 80s and when I hear the Go-Gos I think of how much fun their music was... they were the all-American California beach this day, "My Lips Are Sealed" is one of my favorite songs, along with "Vacation." I was also a fan of her solo career. I will probably read this book... she still looks great. The GoGos performed here in Phoenix last year and though I couldn't go, my sister did. She said Belinda rocked!

Andrew   June 2nd, 2010 4:46 pm ET

I really would appreciate it if we could get back on topic (e.g. Belinda Carlisle is a crackhead). "Heaven Is a Place on Earth"...for crackheads!

kingdaddy   June 2nd, 2010 6:00 pm ET

great post.

Saphron   June 3rd, 2010 2:13 am ET

Belinda has courage and heart. It's sad for her & her kids that she couldn't be the mother they needed.

Now onto you pro AZ immigration goons. Ever heard of civil liberties? This law is divisive – hey let's all spy on our neighbors and call the cops if anyone seems too... Chicano. There are many people here legally with brown skin & Spanish accents. Now AZ has sanctioned harassment & stopping people without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

I have lived on the border, & traveled extensively South of it. Everybody wants the same thing – to feed their family, live with dignity. Fine the employers who are exploiting the situation.

Immigration reform is needed but this is not the way to go about it.

Old School   June 3rd, 2010 9:37 am ET

"Ooh baby, do you know what that's worth?......" I was on a school playground when that song came around and still can rock it many many years later.

kksharma   June 3rd, 2010 10:18 am ET

Un necessary immigration laws passed by the governments are unnecessarly creating problems all over the world and the way that want to put on everybody's head is not at all good,what one more can say,before enacting any new laws one should think a number of time regarding the bad use of it.

JayCee   June 3rd, 2010 10:28 am ET

Glad you are speaking up about your struggle with drug abuse, even though Hollywood in general glamorizes it. Drugs have done so much damage, and taken so many lives. Why is it so ignored?

BuzzKill Lover -nee Gwenn Lover   June 3rd, 2010 11:10 am ET

Ahhh once again a personal attack! Why is it that liberal people are the most violent with words and actions? I have always wondered that. My spelling was fine, sir. I used google spell check 🙂 Anything else was put there for a reason but I expect that level of sarcasm to be missed by most.

Buzzkill it is a shame that humour is lost on you. It was a joke and I think we probably need more ability to see the humour in things. I'm not going to read replies to this so go ahead and attack. I'm going to move on to a new topic to poke at liberals with! Ha! You can't stop me! Does it feel bad, Buzzkill, to be so powerless over the most basic of things? What a dark and angry private world you must live in 🙁 I cry for you. A little.

Me. Ow.

Peace be with you!

DC   June 3rd, 2010 11:59 am ET

Belinda: You are a class act. Enjoy the best years of your life and thank you so much for the music.

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