For the first time, Amy Winehouse‘s brother has opened up about the singer’s tragic death in 2011, revealing her personal struggles and what he thinks killed her.
In a new interview with the Guardian, Alex Winehouse – who was older than Amy by four years – says it wasn’t just her drinking binges that proved fatal.
“She suffered from bulimia very badly,” he said. “That’s not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her. . . She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia. . . I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible. Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.”
Alex’s interview promotes a new exhibit at London’s Jewish Museum, “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait.” Featuring artifacts from her life, family heirlooms, and photos, the display shows her bond to her family and her respect of Jewish traditions. The exhibit opens July 3rd and runs until September 15th.
While the siblings were close, Amy’s behavior weighed heavily on Alex – including the time she drunkenly ruined his 30th birthday. “The problem with being [famous] is – how many people tell you ‘No?’ No one does. I was furious. She was head-butting people, but she’s only little, she’s tiny – so it’s like swatting away a fly, but it was no good. I had a go at her, threw out some home truths. She knew how I felt and she didn’t scream back at me.”
With “A Family Portrait,” Alex hopes people see the “normal” side of Amy. “She was annoying, frustrating, a pain in the bum. But she was also incredibly generous, very caring. She’d do anything for anyone, she really would. She was loyal – as a sister, daughter and friend. She was probably the most loyal friend to people I’ve ever known.”
He also talks of seeing her shut in her Camden home, unable to leave because of the press outside, and how he and his father Mitch have dedicated their lives to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which helps youths dealing with addiction.
“She was a really good person,” Alex says, “and horrible in other respects.”