Natalie Cole Bravely Wrote Of Her Prostitution Days…Her Details Were Heart Wrenching

Posted On : September 27, 2022
Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole rose to fame and left her own unique imprint on music. As the daughter of the iconic singer/Jazz pianist, Nat King Cole, Natalie poised for musical greatness at an early age. With classic jams like “This Will Be,” “Inseparable,” “Our Love,” and “Unforgettable,” the Los Angeles, CA native won Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and a plethora of other accolades.

Throughout her career, she released a staggering 24 albums of memorable music. But despite the level of success she achieved, Natalie faced many dark moments in her life that she was brave enough to graciously share with the public through her autobiographical book. We have an incredible amount of respect for her for being able to do so. From marital problems and divorces, to drug abuse and alcoholism, the beloved “I’m Catching Hell” singer also confessed that she was no stranger to toxic and destructive behaviors.


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In her highly regarded memoir, Angel on My Shoulder, Natalie Cole opened up about prostitution in efforts to forever document the trials and tribulations she endured, with the hopes that she would help someone else avoid the same pitfalls. With the collaborative help of Digby Diehl, Cole managed to paint a picture of her life with the stroke of a pen. Although most people would be afraid to share details about their downfalls, Natalie decided to tell her story. After battling withdrawal from heroine, during a high point of her career, Natalie attempted to turn her life around. But, when she relocated to New York, she met a man who only further complicated her life. His name was Ronnie and he happened to be a pimp:

“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.”

Her co-collaborator, Digby Diehl, also further discussed her “work” on the streets on Harlem, NY.  “She stood on the street and waved at guys in cars,” said Diehl. “She’d bring a guy to the curb, where other women would do the business. She advertised her body so that they could sell theirs. I gather it didn’t go on for very long. But it was the lowest point of her life.

Other Illegal Business Ventures Cole Shared In Her Book

In addition to prostitution, there many other business ventures Natalie was involved in. However, most of them weren’t legal. She’d gotten involved in fraudulent activity after she committed wire fraud to purchase drugs. Natalie and her first husband, Yancy, also attempted to sell drugs but the seemingly lucrative venture went awry when the couple could not refrain from using the drugs themselves:

“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.”

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It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish

Natalie Cole is a great example of the unfortunate truth about many celebrities. Although they live life under a microscope, with the world watching their every move, they aren’t perfect people, they’re simply perfectly flawed human beings who happen to be known by the masses. However, just like the rest of us perfectly flawed humans, celebs are still capable of and entitled to make mistakes. But, it’s not about where you start, it’s where you finish. At the time of her death, Natalie Cole had been drug-free for more than 30 years. Job well done Ms. Cole.

Sources: NYDailyNews, People Magazine, “Angel On My Shoulder” autobiography