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“Generously confessional enough to give a compelling edge to her battle with substance abuse and her quest for spiritual balance . . . a harrowing cautionary tale.” —Kirkus
“A remarkable early Cinderella story . . . Carlisle writes candidly . . . heartfelt and winning.” —Publishers Weekly
CANDID MEMOIR BY LEAD SINGER OF THE GO-GO’S REVEALS GRITTY FLIP SIDE TO THE GLITZ
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LIPS UNSEALED BY BELINDA CARLISLE
A ROCK-AND-ROLL CLASSIC IN THE MAKING
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As both a solo artist and lead singer of the Go-Go’s, Belinda Carlisle is responsible for some of the most iconic songs of the eighties. Her memoir LIPS UNSEALED (on sale June 1)—one of the rare adventures through rock stardom told by a woman—is a spellbinding look at life in the fast lane of the rock world and an exploration of her dramatic personal struggles.
The all-female members of the Go-Go’s will always be remembered as they appeared on the back of their debut record: sunny, smiling, each soaking in her own private bubble bath with chocolates and champagne. The photo is a perfect tribute to the fun, irreverent brand of pop music that they created, but it also concealed the trials and secret demons that they—and, in particular, their lead singer, Belinda Carlisle—struggled with on their rise to stardom.
Leaving her unstable childhood home at the age of eighteen, Belinda battled serious weight issues, having been teased for her pudginess throughout grade school, and grappled with her confusion about being deserted by her biological father as a child. This talented but misguided teen found solace in the punk rock world that so openly welcomed misfits.
Not long after forming, the Go-Go’s became queens of the L.A. punk scene, selling out venues, attracting a fiercely loyal fan base, and outpartying almost every male band they toured with. In the process, they kicked down the doors to the all-boys’ club of eighties rock and roll. With a chart-topping debut album, Belinda found herself launched to international superstardom—and with that fame came more access to A-list parties, and even more alcohol and drugs to fuel the Go-Go’s mania.
While struggling with addiction, Belinda married the love of her life and gave birth to a wonderful son. But the strain of keeping her vices a secret inevitably led her to self-destruct. Exactly how far she’d fallen was epitomized by a shocking series of events in which she put everything sacred to her—her husband, her son, and even her life—at risk. As improbable as it seems that a woman who appeared to have everything would suffer from such issues, it was only when Belinda finally quit running from the past and faced her pain and insecurities that she was able to start enjoying her life, her family, and feeling loved.
LIPS UNSEALED is filled with the wild stories that Belinda Carlisle fans are dying to hear—stories about the band’s crazy days on tour with acts like the Police and Madness and the fabulous parties and people to whom the Go-Go’s had exclusive access. But more than that, this candid memoir reveals the underbelly of the glamour, as Belinda shares in vivid detail her private struggles with abusive relationships, weight, self-esteem, and a thirty-year battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Here are some of the topics that Belinda addresses in LIPS UNSEALED:
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ALL-FEMALE BAND OF ALL TIME: The Go-Go’s rose from the gritty world of punk to make pop-music history as the first all-girl band to write and play their way to #1 on the Billboard charts with hits such as “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation,” “Cool Jerk,” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.” At that time rock was truly a man’s world; even though they were popular and played to sold-out crowds, it took some time for them to land a record deal because they were told by label after label that an all-girl band couldn’t sell records. As a solo artist, Belinda also was one of the biggest pop stars of the late eighties and early nineties. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” “Mad About You,” “I Get Weak,” and “Circle in the Sand” are some of her chart-topping songs.
SECRET STRUGGLE WITH DRUGS: Belinda was an addict for most of her life. This is well documented in her youth, but unbeknownst to the public, she struggled with drugs until 2005. For years she hid her addiction to cocaine from her husband and son, driving her into a cycle of self-hatred and depression.
MAINTAINING HER MARRIAGE: Belinda met the love of her life, Morgan Mason, but her struggle with drugs pushed his patience to the limit and put incredible strains on their marriage. Morgan’s willingness to be there for her and understand her addiction almost defies belief, while at the same time reveals a love of incredible depth. Belinda’s eventual confessions offer a window on this great love story.
BATTLE WITH WEIGHT: Belinda struggled with her weight from the time she was a young girl. The press always referred to her as “the chubby one” in the Go-Go’s, and almost every media story pointed out her size. When she lost weight and was lauded for it, she developed an eating disorder in which she would ping-pong between starving herself and bingeing.
IMPOSTER SYNDROME AND DEPRESSION: Even in her early days of success, Belinda never felt that she deserved any acclaim or the good things she received. When she found out the Go-Go’s album Beauty and the Beat had hit #1 on the Billboard charts, she locked herself in her apartment and did drugs, terrified that her fans and everyone else would find out how terrible she really was. Her disappearance prompted rumors of her death. Throughout her life, no matter what happened to her, she always doubted herself and never believed anyone when they tried to show her love or give her praise. This was the fear she was masking with drugs.
FAMILY PAIN: Belinda’s father left their family when she was just a small child; his absence was never explained, so she sat by the window each night, awaiting his return. Her mother soon remarried and told Belinda she should call her alcoholic stepfather “Dad.” Her biological father often tried to get in touch with her after she became well-known; that reunion that did not end well.
CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS (a few examples):
*John Belushi—In a New York club, Belushi lectured the Go-Go’s about the evils of drug abuse after Belinda asked him if he had any cocaine. Shortly thereafter they saw firsthand what his own behaviors really were when it came to drugs.
*Rod Stewart—A wild, all-night party with Rod Stewart in Rio de Janeiro led a grumpy, hungover Rod to devise a way to make Belinda suffer as much as he did during his next day’s performance.
*Michael Hutchence—Belinda had a brief but passionate affair with Michael Hutchence of INXS. The girls in the band begged Michael to talk to her about the effect the drugs were having on her performances. He did, and gave her some insightful advice about the relationship between a rock star and his/her audience.
*Brian Wilson— A long-time idol of Belinda’s, Wilson agreed to provide background vocals on one of her solo albums. She was thrilled to work with him, but her excitement quickly turned to discomfort when she experienced the quirky realities of the disheveled genius.
*Fergie (Sarah Ferguson)— A friend of Belinda and her husband, Morgan, the three spent a day at the beach together. Tabloids then had a field day with photos of Fergie with her “new man.”
HER SON’S SEXUALITY: Belinda discusses how her son, Duke, came out to her and how she and her husband tried to balance their concern for their son’s safety with giving him unconditional love and support.
HER 2005 REBIRTH AS A WIFE, MOTHER, AND SOBER ARTIST: Belinda’s life changed five years ago when she dedicated herself to a 12-step program, yoga, and a new spiritual practice.
LIPS UNSEALED shares all the details of the eighties decadence that Belinda epitomized, but also reveals the dark despair hidden behind her charming smile. An open and honest account of her rise, fall, and the healthy and happy life she has since built for herself, LIPS UNSEALED tells the story of a life fully lived.
LIPS UNSEALED by Belinda Carlisle
Crown Publishers • On sale June 1, 2010 • ISBN 978-0-307-46349-4
272 pages with eight-page photo insert • $26.00 • www.crownpublishing.com