Pubdate: Sat, 15 May 1999
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 1999


THE actress and singer Julie Andrews yesterday denied newspaper
reports that she has become addicted to prescription drugs.

The star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music admitted receiving
medical help for "emotional issues" following the death of a close
relative, but she said she was prepared to sue any publication which
said she was dependent on pain killers.

Andrews, 63, issued a terse statement through her lawyers countering
reports that she is being treated for an addiction to tablets.

The US entertainment magazine Globe has published an article alleging
that the Oscar-winning performer checked in to the Sierra Tucson
clinic in Arizona after becoming addicted to drugs prescribed to her
after she had throat surgery.

Her Los Angeles-based publicist yesterday said Miss Andrews denied the
claim, and said she was considering taking legal action against the

The spokeswoman admitted that the actress did attend the clinic, but
only to seek "guidance and management" following the death of her aunt.

A statement issued by her lawyers, Peter Parcher and Orin Snyder,
said: "The Globe story is absolutely false. Julie does not have and
never has had a drug or alcohol dependency problem."

It said that the star did not and has never at any point in her life
undergone treatment for any drug dependency or alcohol-related problem.

It admitted that Andrews had spent time at Sierra Tucson, but said
that she attended the clinic for guidance on how to manage of
emotional issues related to personal grief.

It added: "Problems with her singing voice as a result of throat
surgery two years ago, combined with the recent death of a beloved
aunt who played a pivotal role in her childhood and professional
development, encouraged Julie to take proactive steps addressing these
emotional issues."

Andrews said: "I identified emotional issues surrounding my grief that
made me wish to take action sooner rather than later. I am very
pleased that there are wonderful facilities like Sierra Tucson to
guideand counsel those who havethe wisdom to reach for

Andrews, who found fame on Broadway in The Boy Friend before being
cast as Eliza Doolittle in the stage musical My Fair Lady alongside
Rex Harrison, had to abandon the stage in 1997 due to ill health.

She was forced to quit her lead role in the Broadway musical
Victor/Victoria after the discovery of growths in her throat.

Surgery to remove the non-cancerous nodules in her throat followed,
prompting speculation that her voice had been permanently damaged.

Her estranged husband, the film director Blake Edwards, angered her by
making her condition public last November.

He told reporters that she would never sing again and added: "If you
heard it you'd weep. There isn't a day when her voice doesn't get weak."

However, a month after his remarks, Andrews told a Sunday newspaper:
"I will sing again. It's true my voice is a little weak at the moment,
but I'm resting it and it will get better. I'm sure it will.

"I had an operation on my throat 18 months ago to remove some harmless
nodules. Since then I have been in what is called slow vocal recovery.
It's not a long-term problem. It will get back to what it was."

Andrews, who also starred in the film 10 with Dudley Moore, made a
tentative return to singing last summer, recording the vocal part of
Polynesia the Parrot for the London stage show, Doctor Doolittle.

A spokesman for the star added: "Julie Andrews is considering a
defamation law suit against Globe magazine for publishing a blatantly
false headline story in [the latest] issue, reporting that she has a
drug dependency problem and checked in to the Sierra Tucson facility
in Arizona to combat her problem."

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