RuPaul opens up about addiction struggle, and ‘buying coke from the sleaziest dealer in New York’

RuPaul announces 'The House of Hidden Meaning' book tour dates and ticket details.

In a powerful new memoir, drag icon RuPaul Charles has revealed how he had to struggle with his own addiction while helping his now-husband Georges LeBar through the same ordeal.

In an excerpt from the drag superstar’s upcoming memoir, The House of Hidden Meanings, published by Time, RuPaul opens up about checking Georges into rehab for crystal meth addiction during Ru’s pre-Drag Race career.

Once Georges confessed to RuPaul that he was using, the now-host of various global spinoffs of the Drag Race franchise took his long-time partner out of his rehab facility for a day – to go to a recovery meeting. It was there that RuPaul says that he realised that he had demons of his own to face.

“A woman stood at the podium and began to speak,” Ru wrote. “She was 71 years old, she said. She talked about her cocaine use and her life in the club scene, how she felt invisible in her family and how she never felt quite right for this world.

“Booze, she said, had been a way for her to maintain her sanity in a life that felt intolerable. She was a middle child and her parents’ relationship had been tumultuous. Everything she said rang true to my own story. Is this some sort of hoax, I thought. Everything she is saying is mine.

“She was talking about her life, but she was telling my story. There was something under her words, a truth that she was allowing to be revealed, that resonated with me in a way I could not describe. She knew me. She was me, and I was her….

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“It felt like a fantastical trick had been played on me. Georges was the one in rehab, yet I was also hitting rock bottom.”

RuPaul supported his long-term partner through addiction. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP)

From there, Ru realised that in order to support Georges, he had to reckon with his own addiction and drug use, which included cocaine, as he explained in further passages of the book.

“There had been clues. There are always clues. I had been stoned every day I could [be] since I was 10 years old,” Ru continued. “After cleaning up my act in the early 90s, the partying had crept back in, little by little.

“I had started getting high again here and there. As I’d become famous, there was always a bottle of champagne backstage, and, as my workload increased, I had been smoking more and more weed, until I was smoking first thing in the morning.”

These clues included nearly being arrested after police found cocaine and weed in one of his bags while on the way to shoot a film in Canada. He was only allowed to go on his way because of his celebrity status, he said.

Ru had been “buying coke from the sleaziest dealer in New York, a guy who later sold footage of celebrities high on heroin to the tabloids, and snorting it all by [him]self,” he admitted.

“I was doing my nightclub act, promoting my products and shooting movies. I was exhausted all the time. And the only way I knew how to feel connected to the little part of me that was still left, was to get high. Hadn’t I always known that this day would come, that I would have to admit to myself that I was an addict, too?

“As soon as [Georges] told me the truth, I realised I had been in deep denial. I had allowed myself to miss every one of those clues. It forced me to ask: why? 

“It had to be because I was too afraid to face the fact that I wasn’t connected to myself, either, that I was never fully present in my life.”

The full excerpt from The House of Hidden Meanings is available to read here and the book, which is due to be published on 5 March, can be pre-ordered from AmazonWaterstones and Barnes & Noble.

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