With the collaborative help of Digby Diehl, Cole opened up about how after battling withdrawal from heroin, during a high point of her career, she attempted to turn her life around. But when she relocated to New York, she met a pimp who only complicated things further.
His name was Ronnie, and as Cole writes:
“Withdrawal from heroin—there’s nothin’ like it. You throw up, you sleep, you sweat. You’re delirious, you’re cold, and some folks even start hallucinating. If you get through it without killing yourself or somebody else, it’s no small miracle,” she wrote. “Soon afterwards, I moved to New York and met a guy named Ronnie who was a pimp and wanted to “help me supplement my income.” I was hired as the come-on girl who would pique the attention of potential Johns. Once I’d made contact and Ronnie had concluded the financial transaction, the real business would happen under the bridge—without me.”
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Natalie also shares details about how she and her first husband attempted to sell drugs but the business went awry because they couldn’t stop getting high off the supply.
“Eventually Marvin and I started freebasing coke. I set up my own little laboratory in our home. I got so good at it that I developed a reputation as a “gourmet cocaine chef”—I was called the Base Queen. Marvin and I actually tried dealing. We were awful at it. We would smoke up half the inventory before we ever got around to selling it.”
Cole died two years ago, and according to her publicist, the singer’s death was the result of congestive heart failure. At the time of her death, Natalie Cole had been drug-free for more than 30 years.
She penned her candid memoir in hopes that it will help others avoid the same pitfalls.