Producer Timbaland decided to get sober after he almost overdosed on prescription pills.
The hitmaker, who has worked with big stars like JAY-Z and Justin Timberlake, reveals he started taking OxyContin for pain stemming from a gunshot wound he suffered as a teenager in his 30s, and over 15 years he spiralled into a cycle of addiction and depression. His addiction also led to the breakdown of his marriage to Monique Idlett and financial issues.
“Music is a gift and curse,” he tells Rolling Stone magazine. “Once you’re not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise… I remember JAY-Z told me one time, ‘Don’t do no more interviews’ – because I was saying crazy s**t.”
Timbaland’s girlfriend, Michelle, feared he would die in his sleep at the height of his addiction and he believes he did come close to death.
“All I can tell you is that there was a light,” he says. “I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater. But through that whole thing I saw life – I saw where I would be if I don’t change, and where I could be if I did. But I thought about Michael Jackson. I didn’t want to be old and taking these pills.”
Timbaland started on his journey to sobriety the following day and is now focusing on his health, family, and music.
“I’ve never felt better,” he continues. “I’m doing stuff I never knew I could do.”
“Right now, I feel like what I can do with my legacy is to give back,” he adds. “Which means finding the youth of today. Look at Quincy Jones – he was 50 when he did Thriller! What’s my Thriller!”