Queen Latifah is one of the most upbeat, confident women in entertainment today, but things weren't always so easy for the daytime talk show host. The 43-year-old Newark, New Jersey native opens up about her past struggle with alcohol in the January 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, speaking candidly about a series of tragedies that sent her life into a downward spiral.
It all started at the age of 21, when her hip hop career was just taking off. Her brother Lance, a police officer, was killed in an off-duty crash — riding the motorcycle she'd bought him just two months prior.
"My life was rocked to the core," she revealed. "And I felt guilty because I was angry at God."
Though she was able to rebound by throwing herself into work, it just wasn’t the same without Lance around. And things only got more difficult for Latifah in 1995 when she and a close friend were the victims of an armed carjacking in which her friend was shot and almost died. It was then that Latifah turned to alcohol to cope with the pain.
"Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself," she recalls. "Every day I would be faded, like a painting that's just not vibrant, whose edges are dull. I wasn't living my full life."
The Grammy-winning singer hit rock bottom in 1996 when she was arrested for possession of marijuana and a loaded handgun, but at the behest of her friend Jada Pinkett Smith she started turning things around with the help of a therapist.
Looking back, Latifah credits her friends, family, and, most of all, faith for helping her overcome the darkest years of her life. And she's finally exactly where she wants — and deserves — to be.
"My New Year's resolution is to stay humble and be joyous," she reveals, "whether that's spending time with family, hiking, driving around, listening to music, or playing with my dog. It's so important to take care of ourselves that way."
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