'Snapple Lady' Wendy Kaufman Reveals Battle With Cocaine Addiction

'Snapple Lady' Wendy Kaufman Reveals Battle With Cocaine Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 10/06/16

“I said to God, on my knees, hysterical crying, ‘Either kill me or please, please help me get well. I cannot live like this for one second longer.’”

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'Snapple Lady' Wendy Kaufman Reveals Battle With Cocaine Addiction
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Wendy Kaufman became known in the ‘90s as the “Snapple Lady” who read fan letters in her heavy New York accent on the company’s TV spots. But in order to land the gig, she had to get sober first.

Speaking on last Sunday's episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?, the 58-year-old revealed her decade-long battle with cocaine addiction throughout the ‘80s. Kaufman said she first tried cocaine after graduating college and “loved it,” but soon began to use it as a coping mechanism for being overweight. Addiction took over and controlled her life for years before Kaufman changed course at the end of the decade.

“By 1989, I could press my cheek and blood would come out of my nose. I was so sick that it really did bring me to my knees,” said Kaufman. “I said to God, on my knees, hysterical crying, ‘Either kill me or please, please help me get well. I cannot live like this for one second longer.’”

Kaufman eventually took a job in the order department at Snapple and, on her own time, began responding to consumer letters sent to the company. Snapple executives eventually noticed and made the bold move to place her on their national TV spots. Although being thrust into the spotlight was an adjustment, the support she received from fans likely meant far more than they realized.

“People just loved me and I remember crying, literally, like, ‘What did I do to myself? What did I do to myself for all these years?’” said Kaufman. “The addiction was great because, in a way, it made me really look at myself and re-evaluate everything.”

After 17 years with Snapple, which also led to becoming a TV personality and reality star on VH1 throughout the 2000s, she parted ways with the company in 2008. She now works at her husband’s patio furniture business in Massachusetts, but said she is still occasionally recognized as the Snapple Lady and will always be grateful for her time in the spotlight.

“Snapple was much more than a job. It was a lifeline and it was a way for me to stay sober,” said Kaufman. “And it was a vehicle to do wonderful, nice things for other people.”

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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.

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