Fergie: Drugs Are Great at First But Then Your Life Spirals Down

Fergie: Drugs Are Great at First But Then Your Life Spirals Down

(Novus writes inspirational stories of people in the news who have overcome addiction. This is not to imply that these people are connected to Novus Medical Detox Center but simply to provide hope and encouragement to those fighting addiction.)

Stacy Ann "Fergie" Ferguson is a multiplatinum recording artist best known as the female vocalist for the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, one of the world's best-selling musical groups of all time.

Fergie has also enjoyed a solo career as a singer, songwriter and actress, with best-selling albums in a dozen countries, including three Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 singles, plus appearances in numerous movies and TV shows.

Fergie was born on March 27, 1975, in Hacienda Heights, California. She has a younger sister, Dana Ferguson, also an actress. Her childhood reads like an all-American icon - a cheerleader, straight-A student, spelling bee champion, and even a Girl Scout.

Fergie took dancing lessons early on, and showed an interest in theatre and acting. By age 9 she was working in Hollywood, performing the voice of Sally in the popular cartoons It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984) and Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985). She also did four episodes of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (sister Dana was also on that show). From 1984 to 1989 Fergie starred in the TV show Kids Incorporated, and was the longest running cast member, appearing in the first six of the show's nine seasons.

But the success Fergie has achieved has not come without its own trials and tribulations, particularly during her late teens. Reckless living and a serious addiction to dangerous drugs could have done more than derail that career. It very well could have taken her life.

Musical career begins

In 1990, Fergie, with Stefanie Ridel and fellow Kids Incorporated star Renee Sandstrom, formed a pop group called NRG (i.e. "en-er-gy") in 1990, but they soon changed the name to Wild Orchid.

They were working fairly steadily, but couldn't get a record label to sign them. They eventually signed a music publishing agreement with Sony, and then in 1994 landed a record contract with RCA Records.

The group did fairly well, selling nearly a million units of their first album. But instead of leading to greater things, the group never achieved what they'd hoped for. After their third album, Fergie left in September 2001, ostensibly to pursue a solo career.

A wild child

By 1993, with Wild Orchid in its early stages, Fergie was already in some trouble and heading for more.

Never one to be reticent about her wild-child period, she has told several interviewers that she developed an addiction to crystal methamphetamine while with Wild Orchid.

She told The Mirror that when she reached 18, she was already rebelling against her Catholic upbringing "and went on a wild sex and drugs spree. When I was going through my out-of-control phase, I could have got into very dangerous situations."

To Radar Online, she confessed: "I got into a scene. I started going out and taking ecstasy. From ecstasy it went to crystal meth. With any drugs, everything is great at the beginning, and then slowly your life starts to spiral down. [I was] 90 pounds at one point."

She said she was drawn into Los Angeles' sordid drug and gang culture, and that one time she "had a gun put to my head during a drug deal that went wrong. Luckily I got out of it."

A hope and a promise

Fergie fought her way free of her addiction, but it was far from easy. She doesn't say exactly when it occurred. But some time after leaving Wild Orchid and perhaps around the time she joined The Black Eyed Peas in 2002, the troubled singer hit rock bottom.

In her drugged state, she was hallucinating night and day, constantly paranoid that the CIA, FBI and a SWAT team were tracking her. Finally one day she sought sanctuary inside a church.

"They tried to kick me out, because I was moving down the aisles in this crazy way, as I thought there was an infrared camera in the church trying to check for my body," she told Eonline. "I bolted past the altar into a hallway and two people were chasing me. I remember thinking, 'If I walk outside, and the SWAT team's out there, I was right all along. But if they're not out there, then it's the drugs making me see things and I'm going to end up in an institution. And if it really is the drugs, I don't want to live my life like this anymore, anyway.' I walked out of the church-obviously, there was no SWAT team. It was just me, in a parking lot. It was a freeing moment."

And indeed, as she told Oprah Winfrey in a television interview, Fergie kept her promise and quit the drugs.

Fergie told a Time interviewer that quitting her crystal meth habit was "the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with. I dug deep as to why I got there. It's the drug that's addicting. But it's why you start doing it in the first place that's interesting. A lot of it was being a child actor; I learned to suppress feelings."

She told People magazine: "I was suffering from chemically-induced psychosis and dementia. I was hallucinating on a daily basis. It took a year after getting off that drug for the chemicals in my brain to settle so that I stopped seeing things. I'd just be sitting there, seeing a random bee or bunny."

Coda

Since then, Fergie has gone on to stellar international stardom and a permanent place in the popular music firmament. She has continued to record and tour as solo artist, perform with The Black Eyed Peas, and occasionally act in movies or television.

Fergie's list of awards is three times longer than this story. As well as a flourishing musical career, she has fashion and perfume lines and is pursuing other activities. Her 2009 marriage to actor/director Josh Duhamel appears to be at an end as of last September, but they remain good friends who both are devoted to their little boy, Axl Jack Duhamel, born in August 2013.

"The drugs thing," she told People magazine last year, "was a hell of a lot of fun...until it wasn't. But you know what? I thank the day it [the decision to stop] happened to me. Because that's my strength, my faith, my hope for something better."

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