Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Debbie Gibson Apologizes to Theatre Community for Steroid Comments

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, in a recent interview for Oprah's "Where Are They Now," Debbie Gibson recently revealed that during her years as a young performer, she didn't hew as close to squeaky clean as the image that she projected: "I remember being on the road at, like, 25, touring with theater and doing my own cocktail of Tylenol PM and Xanax," the actress confessed.

Gibson says she isn't the only one, however, and asserts that "half of Broadway is on prednisone." Gibson goes on to compare the use of prescription drugs within the theatre community to the practice within the professional athletic industry, claiming "It's as prevalent or more prevalent, maybe, than it is with athletes."

Now she's apologizing for her statements. She writes:

In watching back the OWN interview last night, I feel that certain statements I made generalized a community that I care for immensely. For that, I apologize to anyone in the Broadway community who felt disrespected. What many of you may not know is this interview came just days after Prince's passing and I was asked about my thoughts on his alleged accidental overdose. Through the magic of editing, the context was not included. I was extremely emotional about that tragic event and went off on tangents born of emotionalism that may have been more extreme and harsher than I intended. It made me reflect on my own journey and those I am close to and all of us who do not want to wake up to find out another legend has been lost. This is why I opened this dialogue.

I have nothing but respect and love for the Broadway community and a sincere compassion for the demands it places on performers, which is why I was extremely open about my own path with everything from Xanax to Zantac to Prednisone. A lot of these seemingly harmful meds mask deeper issues that show up later in life. I did not mean to imply that everyone on stage is reliant on substances to deliver the amazing performances I have witnessed first hand. This is not aimed at anyone in particular. It is not aimed at anyone at all. Anyone who chooses to hold a mirror up to themselves can, if they wish, and maybe make some positive changes. It is so easy to sit home and react on social media, but viewing life in sound bites, and in a restricted number of characters, does not always relay the full story, so I do hope this clarifies things, whether it changes your opinion or not. I respect all viewpoints and they are always welcome, and taken in, and I too learn from them, and deeply ponder my own words and actions.

Those who know me, and with whom I've shared the stage, will surely know these comments were not malicious. I was driving the point home there is a standard in sports and there is not in entertainment. It's a very gray area, as I am all for individual rights, as long as no one is hurting anyone else, but, I do care ultimately if people are hurting themselves in order to "deliver." I am finally at the point where I cannot sacrifice my health to do so. It's a personal choice.

This is an epidemic that deserves attention and I'm not use to being candid to the point of controversy, but something in me clearly felt the problem is very real for so many that it deserved to be talked about. I encourage an ongoing dialogue and for our community to take care of its own.



At age 16, Debbie Gibson became the youngest artist to write, produce and perform a number one hit, "Foolish Beat." She followed that hit with a sensational 16 million albums sold worldwide and completed three world tours that highlighted her huge hits that include "Electric Youth," "Lost in Your Eyes," "Shake Your Love" and "Only in My Dreams." Gibson then turned to theatre, starring in 17 musicals in 17 years, including the Broadway production of "LES MISERABLES." She broke box office records in the London West End production of "Grease" as Sandy, returning to the U.S. to perform in "Grease," this time as Rizzo, and as Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl." Other roles include Belle in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast, Gypsy Rose Lee in "Gypsy," the narrator in the national production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and leading roles in the national tours of "Cinderella," "Chicago," and the Broadway revival of "Cabaret" with Neil Patrick Harris."

Related Stories

More Hot Stories For You

August 13, 2022

The Muny is presenting Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! Tune into our Instagram Story as Becca Andrews takes you behind the scenes of today's performance.

SELENA MARIA SINGS Returns to the Herberger Theater, October 22
August 12, 2022

Childsplay Theatre, a pioneer in theatre for youth since 1977, brings Selena Maria Sings back to the theater in its 46th season.

Contemporary Circus World Premiere I HEAR YOU AND I'D LIKE TO RESPOND Comes To Cannonball Festival, September 8-18
August 12, 2022

“Fringe favorites” Almanac Dance Circus Theatre are back with their first full production since 2018, I Hear You and I'd Like to Respond.

Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus Presents LIFE IS A CABARET Concert, September 10
August 12, 2022

Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus (FTLGMC) will present “Life is a Cabaret” on Saturday, September 10, at 8 p.m. at United Church of Christ (2501 NE 30th Street in Fort Lauderdale).

AVENUE Q, THE PRODUCERS and More Announced for Music Theater Works 2023 Season
August 12, 2022

Music Theater Works, currently presenting the regional premiere of Zorro: The Musical through August 21, is proud to announce its 2023 season of productions at the North Shore Center For The Performing Arts In Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd.