Amy Winehouse’s friend admits ‘guilt’ over her death and was ‘afraid’ to challenge singer on addiction issues

Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning 10 years ago tomorrow (Picture: Redferns)

Amy Winehouse’s childhood friend has revealed how he feels ‘guilt’ over her death as he was ‘afraid’ to confront the singer about her addiction issues. 

The Back To Black singer died on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning. Amy had begun drinking again after a period of sobriety, which led to her death. 

Her school friend, Michael Collins, has reflected on their friendship as the 10th anniversary of Amy’s death approaches and shared how he feels he could’ve done more to help her despite the singer dealing with a multitude of personal battles.

Speaking to Ranvir Singh on ITV’s Lorraine, Michael admitted: ‘There’s still a lot of guilt associated with her death that comes back to you… 

‘Amy was always so headstrong and she would do what she want, she’d cut off her nose to spite her face, that was just her kind of character. There were times when I saw her lose some good friends who were challenging her over the amount of drink she was drinking. 

‘There were times when I wanted to say something but maybe selfishly I was too afraid of losing her, I was too afraid that she would just cut me off and then I might never speak to her again. Put yourself in those shoes and it’s harder than you think.’ 

Michael believes that Amy’s outcome could have been different if she were battling addiction issues today, due to mental health being much less of a taboo subject. 

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‘Given where we were in that era of time, the 2000s to 2010 or when she died, mental health didn’t have the profile that it does now,’ Michael explained. 

‘What I’d like to think is if we moved it forward 10 years and she was 27 today then actually, we’d be a lot more open in talking about mental health… Maybe she’d have a lot more time to work through her issues.’ 

Ranvir noted that the blame for Amy’s downward spiral has mostly been attributed to her parent’s divorce in her younger years, but that it was also the death of her grandmother, Cynthia, which contributed to her issues. 

However, Michael said: ‘At that point in her life she was harder to get hold of, I didn’t speak to her as often because obviously she was travelling the world… the thing to get out of this is it wasn’t just one moment. 

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‘It wasn’t just her parents breaking up, it wasn’t just Cynthia, it was everything coming together that ended in addiction. 

‘What I’d like to think is it’s an unfortunate coming together of her addiction, her having the time and money… we can’t just apportion blame to one particular person or reason.’ 

Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV.

Worried about drugs?

Frank offers confidential advice about drugs and addiction (email, message 82111 or call 0300 123 6600) or the NHS has information about getting help.

Adfam has local groups for families affected by drugs and alcohol and DrugFam offers phone and email support to people affected by other people’s drug or alcohol misuse.

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