Naomi Campbell has recalled struggling with her past addiction after the death of her good friend Gianni Versace in Apple TV+’s docuseries, The Super Models.
In the show, Campbell peeled back the layers alongside fellow iconic supermodels Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford. The four-part series aims to chronicle the supermodel era that rose during the late eighties and ended around the early aughts.
During the fourth instalment, Campbell gave viewers an insight into her past struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, which she said stemmed from a place of grief after her friend, Versace designer and founder Gianni Versace, was assassinated in 1997. He was shot by spree killer Andrew Cunanan while walking outside of his Miami Beach mansion, Casa Casuarina.
Campbell recounted the day she got the phone call that her dear friend was murdered. She said that she had been in Rome, on her way to meet his sister, Donatella, when she received the shocking news.
“Everything starts ringing in your ears. It’s awful,” the supermodel explained. “I can’t get to the hotel because there are thousands of people outside, so I have to climb up the laundry shaft to get into the hotel.”
It wasn’t until she saw Donatella beside herself with grief that she believed that he was truly dead and remembered being overwhelmed with shock.
Between 1998 and 2005, Campbell said that she “kept the sadness inside and dealt with it” by relying on alcohol and drugs, particularly cocaine, to deal with her grief.
“Addiction is such a bulls**t thing,” she noted, addressing viewers directly. “You think it’s going to heal that wound, but it doesn’t.”
After collapsing at a 1999 photoshoot, Campbell checked into rehab for the first time, saying: “I have always owned up to [my mistakes], and I chose to go to rehab, and it was the best and only thing I could have done for myself at that time.”
Around that time, she began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings in an effort to stay sober, but healing wasn’t always linear for Campbell.
The model acknowledged her past assault convictions. In February 2000 in Toronto, Campbell pleaded guilty to assaulting her personal assistant with a mobile phone in September 1998. Over the years, several past employees and associates came forward with claims of abuse. “Addiction can cause such huge fear and anxiety, so I got really angry,” she admitted.
In a 2010 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the supermodel got candid with the talk show host, admitting that she had first “picked up” cocaine at the age of 24 years old.
Although she had been against it, she began to use it to cope with the pressures of her job. “I found myself, like, doing three jobs a day, and I never ever had a dealer,” she said. “It was always very easy to get handed to you whenever you wanted it.”
She told Winfrey of that period of her life, “It was a destroyer. I mean, it’s really a devil’s drug.”