Music producer Timbaland is making his way back to the top of the charts, but in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that he struggled with drug addiction for years — so much so that he experienced a near-overdose that prompted him to make some serious changes.
"I was on drugs, dude," the 45-year-old told the Rolling Stone reporter. "I was on OxyContin."
Timbaland, real name Timothy Mosley, said that he started taking pain medication in his thirties to help with nerve pain from a gunshot wound he suffered as a teenager. But his use spun out of control, and as his drug intake increased, he watched his life collapse: his chart success declined, he spent a lot of his money, and his marriage disintegrated. A vicious cycle of depression and addiction ensued, he said.
"Music is a gift and curse," he said. "Once you're not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise – I'd just sleep all day. I remember Jay-Z told me one time, 'Don't do no more interviews' – because I was saying crazy s--t."
Eventually, he experienced what he describes as a near-overdose in his sleep three years ago.
"All I can tell you is that there was a light," he said. "I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater. But through that whole thing I saw life – I saw where I would be if I don't change, and where I could be if I did."
The very next day he began to wean himself off the pills, and soon after, made a clean break. Even though it resulted in a painful withdrawal period, he said he had the motivation to make it through.
"But I thought about Michael Jackson," he said. "I didn't want to be old and taking these pills."
Timbaland has since lost 40 pounds and is working with a wide array of Grammy-winning and nominated artists like Justin Timberlake, Sam Smith, Jay-Z, Zayn Malik, Chris Martin, Wiz Khalifa and Zac Brown.
"I've never felt better," he said. "I'm doing stuff I never knew I could do."
"Right now, I feel like what I can do with my legacy is to give back," Timbaland said. "Which means finding the youth of today. Look at Quincy Jones – he was 50 when he did Thriller! What's my Thriller!"
Photo Credit: Getty / Michael Loccisano