June 1, 2010
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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