Renowned former supermodel Naomi Campbell has opened up about her early struggles with substance abuse and alcohol, revealing how it nearly derailed her life.
In the recently released documentary “The Super Models,” the 53-year-old Naomi disclosed her involvement in these destructive behaviors, attributing them to a desire to cope with childhood trauma and grief.
She shared that she turned to substance abuse as a means of dealing with the pain of her father’s abandonment during her childhood and the tragic loss of her close friend and designer, Gianni Versace.
The iconic runway figure confessed that during the peak of her fame in the early 90s, she was essentially self-destructing due to her heavy drug use.
In her own words, Naomi stated, “Grief has always been an enigmatic presence in my life because it doesn’t always manifest outwardly. When it occurs, I often go into a state of shock, only breaking down later. I kept my sadness bottled up and tried to soldier on.”
Reflecting on the significant role that Gianni Versace played in her life, Naomi explained, “The late designer Azzedine Alaïa was like a father figure to me. I learned about chosen families from him, and the same applies to Gianni Versace. He had an uncanny ability to understand me, to push me beyond my limits. When he passed away, my grief became overwhelming.
“When I turned to substance use, it was a futile attempt to numb the pain of grief. Addiction is a deceptive monster; it doesn’t heal wounds, but rather, it engenders profound fear and anxiety. So, I became incredibly frustrated.”
It is worth noting that the British-born model famously collapsed during a 1999 photoshoot after battling cocaine addiction for five years. This incident prompted her to seek rehabilitation in 1999.
Naomi, born to Jamaican-born dancer Valerie Morris, has never met her father, who abandoned her mother during her pregnancy.
She reflected, “My childhood was marked by a myriad of unresolved issues—growing up without knowing my father, not having a presence of my mother, and the resulting emotions. One of those emotions was undeniably anger, though I didn’t always express it at the right times. It was often misplaced. However, it stems from deeper issues like insecurity, low self-esteem, and the profound feelings of abandonment and rejection.
“These core issues made me feel extremely vulnerable, and to protect myself, I projected a tough and strong persona. I feared that if I didn’t, people would take advantage of me if they knew the real me.”
Naomi’s candid revelations shed light on her tumultuous journey and the underlying emotional struggles she faced throughout her life.