Belinda Carlisle on Lindsay Lohan and Robert Downey, Jr.: The BlogHer Interview, Part 2

7 years ago

It's Go-Go's Week on! I'm interviewing Belinda Carlisle on her new tell-all memoir about her 25 years of hiding her drug use after supposedly going sober in the late '80s.

Read Part 1 here, and come back later this week for interviews with the other Go-Go's about their farewell tour this summer ...

You’ve been completely sober now for five years. Are there still some things that might "trigger" you -- for instance, a certain smell or certain songs?

God, smells are so weird! Every so often, I’ll come across a smell that smells exactly like the hallway of my coke dealer in Marina Del Rey, which is odd.

In terms of music, there’s a French artist named Francis Cabral who does these really melancholy French songs and I just can’t listen to him anymore. I was listening to his music all the time in those last few years of my using, so hearing it brings back some really bad memories. I tried listening to some of his albums just the other day and I just couldn’t do it.

And another weird thing is locations. I did most of my damage in London, and when I first got sober, I couldn’t walk down certain streets because it brought back so many bad memories. Frankly, it was only just a month ago that I was able to drive by a certain hotel in London because of all the really bad memories attached to it.

But you know what? Those kinds of triggers can also serve as a good thing, because it reminds you of how painful it all was and it kind of keeps you from wanting to go back there.

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I’d imagine that hearing some of your early songs might be a trigger, as well. So after all these years, what’s your reaction to hearing one of your songs on the radio or in public? Is it an 'old hat' or still special?

Oh, it’s always totally special even after all this time, and in fact, anytime a song I’ve been a part of comes on the radio, I totally turn it up! And if a song comes on when I’m in a store or something, I still get a great feeling, and I’m always really proud. I don’t think that will ever go away.

The only time I ever don’t like it is when I’m in a nail salon, and for some reason, that seems to happen all the time! So if I’m sitting there in a salon, relaxing and getting my nails done and "Our Lips are Sealed" comes on, I feel like everyone’s watching me, waiting for my reaction or something. [Laughs]. And I’m thinking, "Should I tap my toes? Hum along?" That’s the only time I don’t like it and it's only because it puts the focus on me.

I was reading your book at the same time that Lindsay Lohan was detained in Paris after her passport was "stolen." There are obvious similarities between you two, so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on her.

Well, first let me tell you this really weird thing that happened to me [in connection to] Lindsay Lohan. About six months ago, I woke up from a really deep sleep and out of nowhere, I heard this big, loud voice say, "Lindsay Lohan’s going to die." And like, I don’t even think about Lindsay Lohan, which made it all the more weird. But it freaked me out so much that I felt like I had to tell someone about it so it wouldn’t happen, you know?

I can definitely see myself in her, but in a way I think she’s worse off because the media sort of feeds into her shame. I could kind of get away with my partying because we were living in a different time then.

And that thing about her losing the passport? I’ve been there, and I can almost guarantee that that happened because she’d done way too much blow and couldn’t get on the plane.

It just makes me so sad, and I really hope she gets help, because she really could die. She was so incredibly talented, and now her eyes are dead. But I’m serious -- if Robert Downey Jr. can do it, anyone can. She needs some serious guidance -- I mean, it seems like her mother enables her and her father is a total nightmare. She doesn’t have the right guidance.

Your son James just turned 18 and he’ll be moving to Los Angeles soon -- alone. As a mother, are you worried, and are you concerned that some may glom onto him because he’s your son?

Yes, I’m definitely concerned about that, but he’s going to have to learn those things the hard way. I mean, of course I wish I could go there and dictate and handhold, and do all that. But first of all, he’d hate it and secondly, I can’t do anything anyway because he’s already 18. It’s hard to let go, but it's time to let go. We take a lot of mother-son trips and I’ll miss that, but I’m sure we’ll still do them.

James has now decided to go into acting, but previously, he’d expressed an interest in politics. How do you feel about this change?

Well, I’m supportive of anything he wants to do, and he is talented. My thing for now is that I just want him to go to school. If he can manage to do acting on the side and support himself, that’s great.

But he’s so smart, and I would hate to see him not go for a career in politics. I’d prefer he choose politics to acting -- and he’d kill me for saying that -- but I’m really sort of anti-Hollywood. Hollywood sort of scares me and I’ve seen it destroy a lot of people, and acting is a hard profession. I think he’s really talented and has a good chance, but I also know that there are lots of kids out there… I just don’t want him to get hurt or disappointed, you know? He always said he wanted to be President and I always loved that idea.

James recently came out as gay. If he did decide to go back into politics and in fact ran for president, it would be about 25 years from now. Do you think that by then, Americans would elect an openly gay president?

Well, if anyone could do it, it would be him. He’d be great, and I truly hope that that could happen.

But I think America is sort of getting worse! Recently, I made one comment about how nice it would be if people just encourage the Lilith Fair to move away from Arizona, because of the new immigration law. All of sudden, I started getting all this hate mail from these weird tea-party militia freaks! It was just one comment, you know? Sitting on this side of the pond, to suddenly get emails like that from America made me think, "Whoa – what happened to being able to express one’s opinion?"

I think the one thing people are going to be surprised about is how much you revealed in this book. I wonder if you left anything out?

I did leave some stuff out, and listen, if I included absolutely everything, I could probably get my own reality show in 30 seconds. It would be so outrageous that people probably wouldn’t believe it! But the book is so outrageous as it is that the ride is still pretty out there. I mean, mushroom walks in Ireland, coke binges in hotel rooms, finding spirituality in Marrakesh -- that’s pretty wild stuff.

Missed part 1 of the Belinda Carlisle interview? Read it here -- and come back for more Go-Gos interviews all this week!

Jenny Stewart has been named one of Curve Magazine's 10 most Powerful Women in Music, as well as one of POWER UP's 10 Amazing Gay Women in Hollywood, an honor shared with Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch and numerous others. Read her interviews, including more from Belinda Carlisle, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin, Linda Ronstadt, The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs, and Susan Sarandon, at

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