It’s been two years since singer Amy Winehouse died after a drinking binge, and for the first time, her brother Alex has opened up about his sister’s passing. He says that it wasn’t just drinking that killed Winehouse: It was bulimia, an eating disorder that haunted the singer all her life.
In an interview with the Guardian, Alex Winehouse, 33, spoke about his sister Amy Winehouse in preparation for an exhibit about her life at the Jewish Museum in London. In the interview, Alex says his sister had always been bulimic, and that her condition left her extremely weak.
"She suffered from bulimia very badly," he said. "That's not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her. . . She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia. ... I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible. Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger."
Of course, Alex admits that Winehouse’s addictions to drugs and alcohol played a large part as well. But absent the bulimia, she would have been more likely to survive the extreme amounts of alcohol that the coroner says killed her.
"I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible. Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger."
As for how Amy developed the eating disorder in the first place, Alex says that at age 17, she began hanging out with a group of girls who introduced her to bulimia, which dogged her the rest of her life. The girls “were all doing it,” he says.
“They'd put loads of rich sauces on their food, scarf it down and throw it up. They stopped doing it, but Amy never really did … We all knew she was doing it, but it's almost impossible [to tackle] especially if you're not talking about it. It's a real dark, dark issue.”
Despite all her addictions and struggles, however, Alex admits that he always loved his sister, no matter how flawed she could be.
"She was a really good person," Alex said, "and horrible in other respects."
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.