Sober John Galliano Makes Amends

By May Wilkerson 06/04/13

The fallen fashion icon speaks for the first time about the infamous racist tirade that forced him to face his addictions.

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In his first interview since he was fired from Dior in 2011 for his public anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris café, fashion designer John Galliano speaks about how the incident finally forced him to face his addictions and get clean. He says the vicious rant—in which he declared his love for Hitler—stemmed from his hatred of himself, fueled by alcoholism and drug use. "I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could,” the 52-year-old tells Vanity Fair. By that point, Galliano says his drinking and drug use had gotten so bad that: “I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under.” He describes how his addiction to alcohol and pills took hold as his fashion career, on the surface, was flourishing. Towards the end, he used "whatever I could get my hands on" and was "covered in sores and humiliated,” suffering tremors and going days without sleep. But his denial continued, and he maintained a strict diet and exercise regime to mask the underlying problem. When his bosses at Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (Dior's parent company) warned him he was going to die and urged him to get help, he refused. "I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic," he recalls. "I thought I could control it.”

The designer maintains that he remembers nothing from the night of his infamous 2010 tirade, which went viral on YouTube. When he first saw the video, he says he threw up and was "paralyzed from the fear.” Galliano was admitted to an Arizona rehab on March 1, 2011, by which point he'd alienated so many people that only one friend—supermodel Linda Evangelista—came to visit him. Vanity Fair reports that in the past few years, he is "taking certain steps to atone," including meeting with Jewish leaders, reading books about the Holocaust and learning about Jewish history. "I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt," he says. Now two years sober, he says he's grateful for everything that happened. "I have learned so much about myself," he says. "I have re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.