How Prince Could Have Kept Such a Secret
The 'New York Times' delves into his private addiction
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2016 10:38 AM CDT
In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

(Newser) – Prince's final days are coming into sharper focus, and it now appears the singer had developed an addiction to pain pills so serious that he was set to meet with an addiction specialist when he died. The New York Times delves into the question of how Prince—who had a reputation for clean living, reportedly not even allowing those who went on tour with him to drink or smoke pot—could have developed such a serious addiction problem in secret. Indeed, many of his closest friends apparently had no idea, and have been insisting in recent days that Prince never took painkillers. It helped that Prince was always an intensely private person, keeping to himself just how much his decades of performances had left his body in pain.

"He was that kind of old school, the-show-must-go-on guy, so the idea of him medicating himself in order to perform isn’t strange to me," his former tour manager tells the Times. But Prince didn't let on that he was using painkillers—initially prescribed for general pain and, later, for hip surgery, sources say—to such an extent. And he often did things for himself (drove himself around, made his own appointments), making it easier to keep the pills a secret. Even after his medical emergency on a plane caused an emergency landing, he immediately "shaped the narrative" to make it appear everything was fine, the Times says, planning a party at his home for the very next night and insisting to everyone that he was OK. Read the full piece here. (Or take a look at who might get Prince's fortune.)