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Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK


Andrews denies 'painkiller addiction'

Julie Andrews: Underwent throat surgery two years ago

Veteran actress and singer Julie Andrews has denied US tabloid claims that she is being treated for addiction to painkillers.

The Oscar-winning Mary Poppins star issued a statement confirming that she is receiving medical help for "emotional issues" following the death of a close relative.

Her publicist said she is now considering legal action against The Globe.

The so-called supermarket tabloid said she had checked into the Sierra Tucson clinic in Arizona after becoming addicted to drugs prescribed following surgery on her throat in 1997.

Ms Andrews admitted attending the clinic, but only to seek "guidance and management" following the death of her aunt.

She added: "I identified emotional issues surrounding my grief that made me wish to take action sooner rather than later.

"I am very pleased that there are wonderful facilities like Sierra Tucson to guide and counsel those who have the wisdom to reach for assistance."

Story is 'absolutely false'

Her lawyers, Peter Parcher and Orin Snyder, said: "The Globe story is absolutely false. Julie does not have and never has had a drug or alcohol dependency problem.

"Miss Andrews did recently spend time at Sierra Tucson for guidance and management of emotional issues related to grief.

"Problems with her singing voice as a result of throat surgery two years ago, combined with the recent death of a beloved aunt who played a pivotal role in her childhood and professional development, encouraged Julie to take pro-active steps addressing these emotional issues."

In 1997, she was forced to leave her lead role in the Broadway musical Victor/Victoria. She underwent surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules in her throat, which prompted speculation of permanent damage to her voice.

It was feared she would never sing again, but last summer she made a tentative step back to singing when she recorded the vocal part of Polynesia The Parrot for the London stage show Doctor Dolittle.

Born in Surrey, England, Julie Andrews shot to international stardom in the 60s with the massively successful family musicals Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965).

These two films defined her "squeaky clean" image, which she never managed to shed despite more risqué roles in films like Blake Edwards' 1981 comedy S.O.B.

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