When Debbie Gibson was singing and performing during the early part of her career in the ‘80s and ‘90s, she had a pristine reputation. But now, she says, it’s time for her to get off her “high horse” and speak the truth.
As Gibson tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” in an upcoming interview, she wasn’t the drug-avoiding “good girl” that everyone thinks she was. “I remember being on the road at, like, 25, touring with theater and doing my own cocktail of Tylenol PM and Xanax,” she says.
Drug use in the industry as a whole, Gibson asserts, is a function of the job for many entertainers. “Performers use prescription medications to get through their careers and their lives ― to get a good night’s sleep and to get that body on the stage because they have to deliver,” she says. “It’s a really serious problem.”
Using drugs to manage or enhance a performance is often an issue associated with athletes, but Gibson believes it is rampant in entertainment as well, particularly in the theater community.
“It’s as prevalent or more prevalent, maybe, than it is with athletes,” she says. “They should rescind so many Tony Awards because half of Broadway is on prednisone! It’s the truth!”
Though the prescription drug prednisone is typically used to treat inflammation, Gibson says performers often chose it for other reasons, despite any side effects.
“It makes you sing higher and it makes you have more energy,” Gibson says. “It then gives you this terrible emotional fall-out afterwards and it crashes your immune system. It’s horrible.”
Gibson opens up more about her health and career on Saturday’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now,” airing Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.
Another entertainer speaks out: