Phil Collins Back to Drinking After Three Years Sober

By Bryan Le 06/05/17

Despite once saying alcohol nearly killed him, the singer says he can now have a “couple glasses of wine” with no problem.

Phil Collins performs at the 2016 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament opening ceremony
Collins says he only had a problem with alcohol and was never an alcoholic.

Singer Phil Collins is back to drinking after three years sober—a decision made despite being previously hospitalized by alcohol and admitting it was killing him.

“I personally do not believe I was an alcoholic,” Collins told The Sun. “I had a problem with alcohol. I didn’t have anything else to do, and I enjoyed it… But when I had to stop because it was killing me, I stopped.”

At 66 years old, he’s now starting his comeback Not Dead Yet Tour. He says he believes he has his drinking under control and can have a “couple glasses of wine” with no problems.

According to Collins, his problems with alcohol slowly crept up on him as he began drinking more to kill time after his retirement from the music industry and his split from his wife, Orianne Cevey.

“I kind of enjoyed not having to do anything — turn on some TV, watch some sports,” he recalled. “Then you’re turning on the TV a little earlier, having a glass of wine a little earlier. Then the wine becomes vodka, and then suddenly, you’re killing yourself.”

At the time, Collins was also facing a slew of health problems that mostly resulted from his years as a musician—including a dislocated vertebra and deafness in one ear.

He once went to the hospital in 2012 because of complications caused by his drinking. “I was taking pills for all kinds of different little things,” said Collins. “[And the prescription pills] were not mixing with the drink, basically.”

The singer finally sought help after his children aired their concerns, but he still refused to consider himself an alcoholic.

“Well, I was supposed to be an alcoholic. I went to meetings, and I did try rehab—for a week! But I just couldn’t stand it,” he said. “It was like being in a boarding school. So I said to myself, ‘I know what I need to do; I’m not a f****** alcoholic.'”

He dropped the habit on his own and maintained sobriety for three years. “In rehab, I did go along with this ‘Hello, my name’s Phil and I’m an alcoholic,’ because that’s what I was there for,” he said. “But I never really thought it myself. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been easy to stop. I haven’t drunk now for [nearly two years]. And I don’t find it a problem, frankly.”

Collins and his wife have since reunited and come to terms with one another. Now in a better place, the singer seems to believe he has fixed his relationship with drinking as well.

His Not Dead Yet Tour, named after his memoir, kicked off in Liverpool on Friday and will move through Europe in June.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter