Janis Winehouse never believed her daughter would live to 30

Amy Winehouse's mom

Nearly two years after Amy Winehouse’s death and just months before what would have been her 30th birthday, her mother opened up about what life was like with the Grammy Award-winner – and why she was helpless in her downward spiral.

“I couldn’t see Amy as an older person,” Janis Winehouse told the The Sun. “She was this young girl who exploded into the world like a firecracker and then it was, ‘OK, I’m done — I’m off.’ Amy was never meant to be 30.”

Janis became a single mother when Mitch Winehouse moved out in 1993. At that point, 10-year-old Amy took charge.

“Amy ruled the roost. Her brother, Alex, is like me in that he steps back,” Janis said, adding that Amy’s education was fragmented because she frequently insisted on changing schools.

Janis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said even punishment was ineffective on her stubborn daughter.

“It was just the life she led and I was no match for her,” she said. “Eventually I stopped lying awake at night worrying and accepted that I couldn’t do anything… She was too strong for me.”

Amy Winehouse adjusts her bubbies

Janis said that Amy began drinking when she was just 14, even with her mother around at family weddings or bar mitzvahs. Janis was also troubled by her daughter’s obsession with losing weight.

“She’d say, ‘I found a really good diet Mum, I chew the food and spit it out.’ So she’d get her favorite KFC every night and spit it out,” Janis said, supporting her son’s assertion that Amy had a life-threatening eating disorder.

Drugs, drinking and a weakened body eventually killed Amy in July 2011. Two years later, Janis still wonders if she could have prevented her daughter’s tragic death if only she had been stronger during her youth.

“I don’t know whether I would have been a different mother if I hadn’t had MS… I would certainly have had more energy and more fight against Amy.”

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  • Stephanie

    I’m slightly disturbed by the fact that she saw all these signs and didn’t get her daughter help at a younger age. My friends mother has MS so I know the severity of the desease but if she was drinking at 14 and not eating, than she should have been checked into a place that had people strong enough to help her and stand up to hee.

  • twelfthnight

    Lady you were THERE and your daughter was drinking. There’s this thing you can do in that situation, it’s called PARENTING. If you can’t handle it, find somebody who can. There is no excuse for watching your child start a downward spiral at 10-14 years old and let her keep going until she dies before she ever touches 30.

    One of my friends has MS. Her daughter is 14 and she finds a way to damn well manage her and keep her reigned in.

    Janis is just a crap mother, there is no excuse for it. Your child is abusing substances and has an eating disorder so you just let her keep screwing herself up until she finally dies what I’m sure was a slow death? What a coward blaming her MS for this. If you can’t do it alone you find help, you don’t let your kid die.

  • Kara

    Who are you to judge her? I’m sure she did the best she could as a parent.

  • Kara

    R.I.P. Amy Winehouse