IN THE most unsurprising American Idol twist since Clay Aiken came out as gay, judge Paula Abdul has finally admitted to struggling with an addiction to painkillers - including one that was 80 times stronger than morphine, entertainment website realityblurred.com reported.
Just two weeks ago, the singer told ABC News: "I've never been addicted to any prescription drugs."
Abdul had previously admitted taking prescription medication for pain resulting from a car crash and emergency landing on a plane, after having called herself "squeaky clean" despite slurring her way through interviews.
Later, she maintained that she hadn't done "recreational drugs", a key qualification, and called drug-use accusations "bulls***".
But now, Ladies Home Journal (LHJ) reported that, "for the first time in 12 years, Abdul says she's no longer dependent on medication".
It added: "The rumours that her sometimes-bizarre behaviour was fuelled by drugs may have been true. Abdul was taking heavy-duty painkillers, though she claims she never shot an Idol episode under the influence."
In next month's issue of the magazine, it is revealed that Abdul had a condition - reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome - that required aggressive pain management.
The magazine reported that "Paula wore a patch that delivered a pain medication about 80 times more potent than morphine and took a nerve medication to relieve her symptoms.
Sometimes she took a muscle relaxer.
"But the pain was so bad it often left her sleepless and she would, as she says, 'get weird'. It was the combination of these factors that may have led to the impression that she was high at times when she was on air."
Last Thanksgiving, Abdul went into self-imposed rehab after a 12-year addiction tomedication, going to the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.
"I could have killed myself... Withdrawal - it's the worst thing. I was freezing cold, then sweating hot, then chattering and in so much pain, it was excruciating. But, at my very core, I did not like existing the way I had been," Abdul reportedly told LHJ.
Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that all four American Idol judges will be back next year, but LHJ said that uncertainty about Abdul has been there since day one.
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