In his first ever full-length interview, Amy Winehouse’s brother, Alex, spoke to The Guardian in honour of the opening of a new exhibition at the Jewish Museum entitled Amy Winehouse: a Family Portrait.
Alex, who is four years older than Amy, reveals interesting and little-known information about his beloved, late sister.
While Alex admits Amy was “in and out of rehab” for drugs and alcohol her entire life, he says that ultimately Amy died due to something else she struggled with: bulimia.
Alex says Amy developed bulimia in her late teens and at the age of 17 started hanging out with a group of girls who “were all doing it. They’d put loads of rich sauces on their food, scarf it down and throw it up. They stopped doing it, but Amy never really did.”
“We all knew she was doing it, but it’s almost impossible [to tackle] especially if you’re not talking about it. It’s a real dark, dark issue,” Alex continued to The Guardian. “She suffered from bulimia very badly. That’s not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her… but what really killed her was the bulimia… Absolutely terrible.”
“I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible,” he explains. “Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.”
In January 2013, a second inquest confirmed that Winehouse died of accidental alcohol poisoning. The verdict was identical to the first hearing which had to be repeated after the deputy coroner was found to lack the relevant experience, according to the BBC.
Alex, who was 31-year-old when Amy died at age 27, blames fame for many of his sister’s woes.
“She was pretty much shut in the house and couldn’t go anywhere,” he remembers. “I’d go home, back to normality. She didn’t have that. The interest that they had in her was absolutely insane. She didn’t want it but her every moment was covered in the press.”
Alex say Amy “had no limits” and while he maintained a strong relationship with his sister, it wasn’t always easy.
“She was annoying, frustrating, a pain in the bum. But she was also incredibly generous, very caring. She’d do anything for anyone, she really would,” continued Alex. “She was loyal – as a sister, daughter and friend. She was probably the most loyal friend to people I’ve ever known.”
“She was a really good person. And horrible in other respects,” he says bluntly.
When The Guardian interviewer asks if Amy ever said sorry to her family for putting them through so much, Alex replied with a smile, saying, “Of course not.”
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