Queen Latifah Opens Up On Coping With Alcohol

By McCarton Ackerman 12/13/13

The Oscar-winning artist also details her previous brushes with the law over guns and drug use.

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Queen Latifah is opening up about abusing alcohol to cope with some of the biggest tragedies in her life. The rapper, actress, and now talk show host revealed in the current issue of Good Housekeeping that she turned to drinking after the motorcycle accident death of her older brother in 1992, as well as a violent carjacking in 1995 in which her friend was shot and nearly died.

"Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself. Every day I would be faded, like a painting that's just not vibrant, whose edges are dull,” she explained. “I wasn't living my full life." Her older brother died on the motorcycle that Latifah gave him as a gift, but she said that she managed to start riding again just a month after the tragedy. "Riding was one of the things Lance and I did together a lot," she explained. "I had to get back on. It was like a [healing] potion."

Latifah has had her own brushes with the law in relation to her drug use. In 1996, she was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a loaded handgun after initially being pulled over for speeding. She was also arrested for DUI in 2002, resulting in three years of probation after being convicted.

But while she attributes some of her earlier drug use to dealing with tragedy, she said becoming more secure with herself also made things easier. "I got to that place by not being happy with the other side -- hating your body and criticizing yourself all the time," said Latifah. "I looked in the mirror and said, 'You're either going to love yourself or hate yourself.' And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.