Actress and writer Carrie Fisher was briefly hospitalized this week, just days after a video of her appearing “trashed and incoherent” during a cruise performance went viral.
According to the Daily News, Fisher appeared aboard the Holland America Eurodam as a surprise celebrity performer, but gave guests a show that was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Cruise guests who sat in for Fisher’s show claimed that she slurred her way through much of the performance, paused once to clean up after her dog, who had urinated and defecated on the stage, and finally chased after guests who tried to leave. Show coordinators eventually cut the performance short, and canceled a second show that was scheduled for 10:30 p.m.
A source who spoke to Queerty claimed that some guests had observed Fisher behaving strangely even before the show began, and had seen her “swimming with all her clothes on.” Although several guests shared the impression that Fisher had been drunk during the episode, her publicist refuted those claims, saying simply that, “there was a medical incident related to [Fisher’s] bipolar disorder.”
“She went to the hospital briefly to adjust her medication and is feeling much better now,” Fisher’s rep added.
Fisher, who developed the one-woman Broadway play “Wishful Drinking” in 2008 around her longtime struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, has been openly sober for years. She has also been equally public about her battle with bipolar disorder, which she was diagnosed with at 28.
In an interview with Oprah in 2011, Fisher even admitted to regularly undergoing electroshock treatment, one of the most taboo forms of therapy, to relieve symptoms of her chronic depression.
"Did you see ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?’" Fisher asked Oprah. "Well, it's not like that."
“It makes me feel better, it is not like it was. They put you to sleep and give you a medication so there is no convulsions and put these films on you and it is over very quickly,” she said, explaining that her medication alone was not enough to treat her condition. "It feels like my brain gets moored down in cement, and [electroshock therapy] kind of blows that apart. You can move on from whatever feelings you cannot resolve through therapy and medications.”
But if Fisher’s on-stage behavior is any indication of her current mental health state, her battle may not be quite as under control as she earlier insisted. However, viewers who were present during her alleged meltdown can’t seem to agree about whether the incident was fueled by alcohol, or her ongoing bipolar battle, as her publicist claimed.
One commenter who wrote on the website CruiseCritic.com defended Fisher’s antics, writing, “Please be understanding with Carrie. She was not under any influence. … Those of us who know people with the same situation knew right away what was happening. She was in one of those highs and it can appear to be other causes.”
While the “Star Wars” actress is one of a rare breed of celebrities to be candid about her mental health struggles and her substance abuse history, she is hardly the first to come under scrutiny for erratic behavior. In 2008, rumors spread that Paula Abdul had appeared on “American Idol” either drunk or on prescription drugs, after she seemed confused about how many times a contestant had performed.
Abdul addressed the rumors in an interview with “Nightline” host Cynthia McFadden, denying that she had been under the influence of anything.
“So let me just ask you the question straight up. Absolutely crystal clear you have not abused prescription drugs?” McFadden asked. “Never,” Abdul answered. “I don’t have anything that is shameful. I don’t have anything to be embarrassed about that was not accurate documentation of my life.”
“Army Wives” actress Kim Delaney drew some unwelcome attention for a similar controversy last year, when she had to be escorted offstage during the Liberty Medal Award ceremony. Delaney had been asked to speak about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates when she delivered what CNN called a “bumbling presentation,” appearing disoriented and visibly struggling to read from the teleprompter.
"As I try to comfort wives, husbands, families, fathers, children ... loved ones made good ... what I've learned is the Constitution Center. Knowing no words, no talk, can ever bring back their people,” Delaney told the audience, before she was ushered offstage by a producer. Although blogs were quick to question Delaney’s sobriety, she later dismissed the mishap as the product of a “bad week.”
“I wasn’t feeling great [and] there were technical problems,” Delaney later explained. “I was prepared, but it didn’t come out that way. It was like the perfect storm for something to go wrong. And then it goes viral! There’s just nothing you can do [but] deal with it, right?"
Fisher has not yet publicly commented on the incident. Her last Twitter and Facebook updates were posted in early February.