Saturday, April 30, 2005

Donatella Versace says after rehab stint, she has 'all new habits'

HoustonChronicle.com

NEW YORK - Donatella Versace has designs on staying sober after a trip to rehab last year.

The fashion guru tells the May issue of Vogue that her 18-year addiction to cocaine began at 32, when she mostly used the drug at parties in New York and Los Angeles.

"I had so much fun," Versace, now 50, told the magazine. "I had the best time of my life."

The murder of her brother Gianni Versace in 1997 prompted Donatella to abandon cocaine, but the sobriety didn't last.

When she began again, she mixed cocaine with sedatives and fought chronic headaches with "lots of Excedrin," Versace said.

She hit bottom after her women's show in March 2004.

"I was crying, laughing, crying, sleeping — I couldn't understand when I was talking; people couldn't understand me," she said. "I think if I didn't go (to rehab) I would have died."

Family and friends — including Elton John — used the 18th birthday party of Donatella's daughter, Allegra, in Italy to stage an intervention. That night, Versace boarded a plane to Arizona. She spent five weeks in rehab.

Now, she says, "I have all new habits. My day is totally different. ... I don't want to feel that way again."

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