Hip hop and rap artist Eminem was taking up to ’30 Vicodin a day’ and nearly died of an overdose before receiving help from Elton John, a new book obtained by DailyMail.com reveals.
The 15-time Grammy-winning artist, known offstage as Marshall Mathers, was rushed to the hospital two hours away from death in 2007 after consuming the equivalent of ‘four bags of heroin.’
The blue-collar kid and onetime dishwasher from Detroit tried to get clean but would relapse two more times before reaching out to the British singer who became his sponsor – and in essence, saved his life.
‘As a fellow musical superstar with nearly 30 years of sobriety under his belt, Elton John was the perfect mentor to help guide Marshall’, writes author Anthony Bozza in new biography, Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem, available November 5.
‘The two started on a program of weekly check-ins and grew very close.’
Eminem’s battle with drug addiction and his near-fatal overdose, is detailed in new biography, Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem
The rapper, real name Marshall Mathers, rose to fame in the late 90s performing as alter ego Slim Shady. He began an unlikely friendship with British singer Elton John (pictured together at the 2001 Grammy Awards) who ultimately helped him get sober
Elton remained true to his friendship with the rapper despite Eminem’s purportedly homophobic lyrics and they famously performed a duet together at the 2001 Grammy’s.
‘I didn’t know he was gay,’ Eminem, 47, stated in 2004. ‘I didn’t really care.’
Elton never viewed Eminem as homophobic but saw him as ‘just writing about the way things are,’ Elton said, before declaring his love for him.
‘I love you, too,’ Eminem responded.
When he emerged on the music scene in the mid 90s as alter ego ‘Slim Shady’, he was an outlier, a white artist in a black medium, and his shockingly honest lyrics resonated universally.
From a broken trailer park home, he was a white man in an African American game and ‘nearly died from the side effects of success’, writes Bozza.
‘Fame hit me like a f***ing ton of bricks’, Eminem said.
Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem, published by Da Capo Press, is available November 5
He worked hard but partied even harder and was out of control consuming drugs and alcohol, carrying a concealed weapon, getting involved in fights, and fighting endless lawsuits.
Drugs and alcohol helped fill the void of what was an empty life with a broken family and endless life on the road.
His father, Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr, had skipped out on his 15-year-old mother, Debbie, an alcoholic and addict, when he was born.
His mom kept getting evicted from trailer parks, moving between Michigan and Missouri, and taking her son with her.
Debbie finally settled in a crack-infested neighborhood in Detroit, and continued to physically beat up her son.
She invited a runaway, 13-year-old Kimberly Ann Scott to live with them and Eminem began a relationship with her when he was 15.
As a teen, he preferred to read comic books instead of school work and dropped out at 17 after repeating the ninth grade three times.
He married Kim when his career was taking off in 1999, but it was an ill-fated, love-hate relationship – often documented in his lyrics – that ended in 2001.
The two tried marriage again in January 2006 but this time it only lasted three months.
‘I would rather have a baby through my penis than get married again’, Mathers said at the time.
Mathers, 47, endured a rough upbringing, growing up in trailer parks between Missouri and Michigan, where he met runaway Kimberly Scott, his future ex-wife
The two married in 1999 and again in 2006. Their tumultuous relationship was the subject of many of his songs
The couple’s tumultuous relationship, which produced daughter Hailie in 1995, would become the subject of many of his songs.
In 2000, Kim filed a defamation suit against her ex-husband to get him to stop rapping about her.
Around the same time, his mother had filed a $10million lawsuit claiming slander, but was only awarded $1,600.
When he pistol-whipped a man he saw kiss his estranged wife, he landed in jail with an assault and gun charge, three years probation as well as regular drug tests.
‘He could afford the “f**k you” money he paid lawyers to handle the lawsuits, which have continued costing him an estimated $4.7 million annually in legal fees,’ writes the author – but he had to clean up his act.
The rapper’s drug and alcohol intake soared after the murder of DeShaun ‘Proof’ Holton in 2006, the pioneer of Detroit hip hop music and Eminem’s best friend, muse, collaborator.
Following Proof’s murder, Eminem he became hooked on opiates and benzodiazepines.
‘Some days I would just lay in bed and take pills and cry’, he stated.
‘I needed pills in my body just to feel normal so I would be sick.
‘It was a vicious cycle.’
His health and diet also took a hit as he was eating all his meals at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Denny’s or Big Boy.
‘I got so heavy that people started to not recognize me,’ he said.
‘I heard one kid say, that’s Eminem. The other said, “No, it’s not man. Eminem ain’t fat”‘.
Eminem’s career and health took a hit following the murder of his childhood best friend and collaborator Deshaun ‘Proof’ Holton (left) in 2006
Mathers spiraled into a depression and began abusing drugs Ambien, Valium, Vicodin, and methadone, which nearly killed him. Living on a diet of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Denny’s or Big Boy, Mathers confessed: ‘I got so heavy that people started to not recognize me’
‘I was like, “motherf***er.”‘
Whenever people told him he had a problem, he say, “Get that f**king person out of here. They know nothing about my f**king life.
‘I’m not out there shooting heroin; I’m not out there putting coke up my nose; I’m not smoking crack.’
But he was consuming up to 30 Vicodin a day and some 40 to 60 Valium per day.
‘My everyday regimen would be, wake up in the morning and take extra-strength Vicodin’ – which is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, an opioid pain med.
His early evening drug was Valium, no less than four, and every hour on the hour, four or five more.
Ambien, a sedative-hypnotic, let him fall asleep – for maybe two hours before he got up to down more.
He switched from Vicodin to methadone, easier on the liver and a ‘typical justification’ for addicts who switch to heroin from opiates.
His father, Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr, skipped out on his 15-year old mother, Debbie (pictured) an alcoholic and addict, when he was born
The rush was great – but one wasn’t enough and he consumed the methadone indiscriminately – until he collapsed and couldn’t get up.
He woke up in the ICU and was told he had taken the equivalent of four bags of heroin.
‘My organs were shutting down, my liver, kidneys, they were going to have to put me on dialysis, they didn’t think I was going to make it.
‘My bottom was going to be death,’ he said.
But it wasn’t the final wake up call until he relapsed two more times and realized he was going to die.
He found help and support by making a call to an unlikely companion, Elton John, who help him get his life back.
Giving up his addiction to drugs, he replaced it with an addiction to writing. His troubled background from a bleak childhood in a ghetto and an abusive mother gave him plenty of material.
But his focus was diverted oddly to learning as much as he could about serial killers before writing his album ‘Relapse’ released in 2009.
‘I just got into it and started on this weird serial killer vibe’, he said.
‘I did find myself watching a lot of documentaries on serial killers.
‘I’ve always been intrigued by them and watching movies like that, and I found that going back through my DVD collection and watching movies about killers sparked something in me.
‘The way a serial killer’s mind works, just the psychology of them, is pretty f**king crazy I was definitely inspired by that.’
The Slim Shady rapper drew criticism in 2004 after including references to Michael Jackson’s child molestation case in his song Just Lose It
He referenced a specific victim of a killer in his lyrics that were considered psycho but they pushed his music up the charts.
He found an audience for his writing about evil demons torturing him in his sleep.
On his musical success ride up that landed him ‘in rarefied company with Jay-Z and Kanye West’, he became controversial for his parody of Michael Jackson in 2004.
Eminem’s video for Just Lose It included a skit referencing the child molestation allegations against Jackson, his rhinoplasty, and his hair catching on fire.
Jackson and Stevie Wonder reacted negatively and Steve Harvey’s radio show even declared, ‘Eminem has lost his ghetto pass. We want the pass back.’
BET pulled the music video but MTV continued to air it.
Eminem had planned to promote the album but he suddenly found himself ’emotionally marooned in self-imposed exile.’
He once took aim at MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Britney Spears and N’Sync saying they didn’t deserve their success.
He’s now turned his attack on Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Bill Cosby, and counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway.
But he’s saved his most intense venom for long rants about Donald Trump, ‘the disrespect he has shown the country and the catastrophic damage he is doing to the fabric of the nation’, writes the author.
‘He makes my blood boil’, Marshall stated.
‘The most important thing to remember about Eminem and his legacy, not as a rapper but as a white rapper is – he achieved the impossible – commercial, pop and critical success in a genre that was never intended to be a form of expression for the race’, writes the author, Anthony Bozza.
This content was originally published here.