Friends Exposed Tragedy That Caused D’Angelo’s Addiction And Their Fight To Get Him In Rehab

Posted On : January 18, 2022

We’ve all heard the stories about D’Angelo’s alcohol and drug addiction, but never knew what actually sparked his struggles. The late EMI Records A&R who discovered D’Angelo, Gary Harris; and D’Angelo’s ex manager, Dominique Trenier, did an interview with Spin Magazine some years ago. In it, they detailed the personal battles they tried to help D’Angelo overcome.

The Tragedy

According to Trenier and Harris, it was the suicide of his close friend who was reportedly a former MTV affiliate, that first caused D’Angelo to become an alcoholic to numb his pain. Then he progressed to harder drug addiction.

D’Angelo Downward Spiral

During his hiatus, D’Angelo- the dude who had women screaming over his unclothed chiseled body in his 2001 video- shocked the world when a much heavier and disheveled version of himself appeared in 2005 a mugshot. He’d been arrested in Richmond, VA, for cocaine/marijuana possession and driving under the influence.

“After, there was a really not-flattering mug shot that came out,” says Trenier. … “I was like, ‘Nah, this cannot be my man.’ I borrowed a tour bus and picked him up in Richmond.”

D’Angelo’s mugshot, 2005

By that time, D’Angelo’s girlfriend had left him and many of his loved ones pushed away from him, due to his reckless behaviors. D’Angelo also publicly admitted his drug/alcohol addictions in 2014:

Via GQ Magazine: [D’Angelo] liked cocaine, he says, “because I could be a bit of an antisocial. It made me really open up and talk.” But the problem with doing coke, he says, is “you can drink like a fish and it don’t bother you. It was good in the beginning, but it got out of hand.” For the first time, he says, “people started to go, ‘Yo, man, you’ve got to get it together.’ “

What Happened During D’Angelo’s THREE Rehab Interventions

After D’Angelo’s manager picked him up in Richmond, VA following his arrest, he drove the singer all the way to a rehab center in Pasadena, CA, because he didn’t want D’Angelo to be seen in the airport. By that time, D’Angelo had already been to one rehab and failed horribly, admitting to GQ that after he got out, “I went straight to the fu*king liquor store.” This second rehab also failed.

D’Angelo’s friend/former music A&R, Gary Harris (C) and Jam Master Jay of Run DMC (R); via Pinterest

After another friend, producer J. Dilla, passed away, D’Angelo finally decided to take his third trip to rehab seriously. That’s when Gary Harris helped him, but even that was a struggle. Harris detailed the defiance D’Angelo put up on the day he went to D’s plush Virginia home to take him to singer, Eric Clapton’s, Crossroads Treatment Centre on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Via Spin: “There was scotch, vodka, beer,” Harris recalls. “While I was waiting for him, he emptied the contents out of the corners of three or four bottles to get a shot.” “He was trying to act like he didn’t know I was coming that day,” Harris says. … According to Harris, it took more than five hours to corral D’Angelo into the limo. Then the real journey began. Four days after hooking up with him, Harris had only gotten…D’Angelo as far as Puerto Rico, delayed by missed flights, a forgotten passport, and the singer’s insistence on emptying every hotel minibar he came across.

Harris finally got fed up and that’s when D’Angelo broke down:

“I told him he can do whatever he wants, but I’m getting on a plane,” Harris says. “D’Angelo broke down and cried,” and then agreed to go to Crossroads. The night he arrived, Harris says, “he called everyone he knew to send him a ticket to get him out of Antigua.” D’Angelo wasn’t in denial about his alcohol problem, Harris explains. “He just wasn’t prepared to deal with it.” -via Spin

Emotional Call From Questlove That Helped Save D’s Life

Thankfully, D’Angelo has now gotten himself together. It helped when in 2010, his friend/Roots drummer had a real talk with him to make him, following the death of singer, Amy Winehouse.

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Quest told D that if he would’ve gotten a call that he had died from an overdose, it would have destroyed him. He also told D’Angelo, that’s why he’d been staying away from him for so many years. “That was probably the most emotional man-to-man talk that D and I had ever had” Questlove said. We’re just glad they had it.

By the way, these days D’Angelo has bounced back and is back on his grind. If you missed his fire “Verzuz” performance in February 2021, check it out up top…the brotha’s still got it. Wishing D’Angelo all the best on his journey.