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Days before her hospitalization, Fantasia Barrino vowed to get 'back to herself'

Fantasia_Bittersweet Last week, while performing a handful of songs for AOL Sessions in Beverly Hills, singer Fantasia Barrino stood in a form-fitting black mini dress and dangerously high spiked heels.

The 2004 "American Idol" winner was reserved both vocally and onstage. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes before launching into the chorus of "Even Angels,” a track from her forthcoming new album, “Back to Me.”

“First step take a deep breath you don’t need a reason why, you can take time, you can walk, run, dive,” she sang -- her church-bred vocals echoing in the control booth close by. “Close call you think you might fall but all you have to do is try, even angels learn to fly."

Less than a week after delivering those pitch-perfect notes, Barrino was in a North Carolina hospital in what police are reporting as a suicide attempt.

The singer has been hospitalized since Monday night following an overdose of aspirin and a sleeping aid, according to her manager, Brian Dickens.

It had been a difficult few days for the 26-year-old. Hours before the incident, Barrino's name made the tabloid news when, after months of speculation and denial, a North Carolina woman filed for divorce from her husband and accused him of having an affair with the singer; the filing also included allegations of the two recording sex tapes.

According to the statement Dickens released Tuesday, Barrino had an off and on relationship with the man for more than 11 months; she believed he had been separated from his wife since the summer of 2009.

"Fantasia read the [the complaint] for the first time" Monday, the statement said. "She knows some of the allegations ... are totally false. There are others she strongly doubts. There is plenty she does not know."

After she read the complaint, Barrino was "overwhelmed by the lawsuit and the allegations," the statement said.

Dickens said Barrino took the overdose because she was "dehydrated and exhausted" and "felt heartbroken and is sorry for any pain she may have caused."

The incidents came at a time when Barrino seemed poised for a comeback. She is prepping for the release of her third album, "Back to Me," set for Aug. 24. The making of the album, her first in nearly four years after touring with “The Color Purple,” was chronicled on her hit VH1 reality show, “Fantasia for Real.”

Barrino has never held her tongue, and a sit-down interview last week after the taping was no different.

“For awhile I thought it was almost over,” she bluntly said of her recording career. Her second album had lackluster sales, compared to her post-“Idol” debut. “I thought maybe people didn’t want to hear what I’ve had to say or hear my music. To have an album out now … I know how long we fought for it. This album I went through a lot of things. I’m happy that it took so long,  because I feel like I can’t do anything without a testimony. Without it being real.”

FANTASIA The “testimony” she attributes to her constant growth has never been easy. Since claiming the “Idol” crown, Barrino has never hid her past from the public: she was raped at age 14; never graduated high school (she recently received an honorary degree after reportedly earning her GED – the process was documented in Season 1 of the
VH1 show); struggled as a young teenage mother; and battled with functional illiteracy. She is also the breadwinner for her family of six.

Through it all, Barrino maintained that she was back to herself, hence the album title, which was coined by comedian Steve Harvey when he told her she reminded him of the Fantasia he fell in love with when she won “Idol.”

“He said, 'You’re back to where you should have stayed,' ” she recalled. “I don’t think it’s that I changed. I think it’s that I went through so much stuff. Sometimes as artists we lose ourselves because we want to go with whatever [people] think is hot. That’s why I love the Erykah Badus, the Jill Scotts and the Angie Stones, because they are who they are and they stick to it. I said, 'You know what, I’m a flat-footed soul singer. This is who I am. I’m not going to pop, lock and drop it.' ”

Barrino hopes the album shows a more confident side of herself -- and she fought for her vision, something her fans saw in tear-jerking detail on the docu-series.

“On those two albums, I really let the record company do what they had to … of course you have to put in work and you have to put in your time. But for this album, I felt I had put in enough time,” she said. “I wanted them to know what I had to say, so I fought for all the songs on this record. I fought for the sound and how I wanted everything. Thank God they let me do me.”

While speculation continues as to what happened in Barrino's home Monday night, VH1 executives and producers of her show are wrangling to figure out how it will affect production.

The second season is currently in production -- cameras were accompanying the singer everywhere, although it has not been confirmed whether they were in her house Monday night. The show's premiere was scheduled for Sept. 19, although it’s uncertain whether the events of Monday night will delay it. 

Executive producer Randy Barbato said he had no doubt in his mind that Barrino would overcome this latest roadblock.

“As a television show, we’re capturing someone who was struggling through so many real life personal crises that we watch her navigate, struggle and evolve. It’s continuing on a larger scale [for Season 2],” Barbato said. “The reason she is so captivating to follow is she is committed to persevering and solving. I’m really hoping that’s the trajectory here. Right now, obviously, it’s a waiting game.”

Barrino seemed to hint that the show would tackle the drama surrounding her personal life, though in light of recent events, the question lingers as to what, if any, will be addressed on the show.

“With this season, I’m not holding back," Barrino said last week. "It’s a lot of questions that everybody wants to know, and I always let them hear it from my mouth. I don’t ever fight back with the press, and I’m not gonna go up to the radio stations and say I’m gonna clear up what they said. I let it smooth out, and let the people hear it from me."

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

With additional reporting by Maria Elena Fernandez

Photos: (Above) Courtesy of J Records.

(Below) Barrino rehearsing at the Orpheum downtown, with her mother, Diane, for an event in 2009. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.
Comments () | Archives (13)

i love her and her music that man works at t mobile no man is worth ur life she said in her movie that she needs to b here for zion ,well she need to let that piece of man go i no ive been there but didnt try to kill my self

Fantasia get better soon we love you .

dear fantasia i hope that u recover from your situation.i no how things can b overwhelming hang n there i am one of your fans when u were here in cleveland i won the looked alike contst i have pictures with u backstage u remind me of me the backbone of the family an dealing wit all the others situation life may bring hang in there girl 'what dont kill u make u stonger' an i no u strong cause i am loveu one of your number one fan micky of cleveland,ohio.

Fantasia should not have attempted to commit suicide in the first place but I understand the depression she must have felt that time. Now that she's back on track, I hope she stays there and move on. That man is not worth dying for.

So let me TRY to understand this. Berrino breaks the 14th & 17th Commandments and commits adultry with a married man (man at fault as well). She gets outed and "purposely overdoses" on ASPIRIN and gets her pathetic self admitted to a hospital and people feel sorry for her and an "outpouring of love and support"??!!
I HAVE GOT TO LAUGH at those knuckleheads (barrino home-wrecker supporters). Loosers.

"Barrino denied that she was a home-wrecker but confirmed that she had an 11-month relationship with Cook. In a statement, her manager Brian Dickens said the singer is "certain that she is not responsible for the deterioration of the Cooks' marriage."

LOL. Of course not. Why would an 11-month "relationship" (candy coated for AFFAIR) with a looser dude not have a direct affect on a marriage? You reap what you sow.

Do I smell a publicity stunt?

It's truly sad when you realize just how many women have attempted to end their lives over a man...and many of 'em in the public eye. You have Halle Berry and her attempt a few years back. There's Shelley Long. I also read someplace that Joni Mitchell tried to kill herself after Jackson Browne left her. All beautiful and talented ladies with a lot going for them. Yet I truly can't judge. I even contemplated suicide after my divorce 21 years ago when my then-husband left me for younger woman....but fortunately I realized that I still had my sweet daughter in my life, and I got bullheaded and decided to stay alive! I figured well maybe the other woman got my husband but I wasn't letting that beeyoch have my child, too! Fantasia needs to get herself a copy of the song "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor and listen to it over and over until the message sinks in...and NEVER AGAIN listen to the lies of a married man. Even if they say they're separated...they are STILL MARRIED and off limits! As Bette Midler sang, the world is full of 'em...and they're all full of it and don't care whose heart they break while on their endless quest to get sex without a committment!

Fantasia, I do not want to see anyone lose their life for a temporary situation. As long as there is life, there is hope. That said, do you now understand that Married is Married? That Separated is Married? It does not matter that his "wife doesn't understand [him]" or his "heart is no longer in the relationship", blah, blah, blah! Here's a new flash: PEOPLE LIE WHEN THEY WANT TO CHEAT ON THEIR SPOUSES! I cannot believe how naive women pretend to be when their illicit affair is exposed. You walk open-eyed into an affair with a married man - because you know that SEPARATED IS STILL MARRIED - and when the affair is exposed, you want to play the victim.
'He told me his marriage was over'; 'he said they are in the process of a divorce'; ' he said his wife doesn't understand him'. Just out of curiosity, exactly how loyal did you imagine he would be to you? After all, the chances are good that you would be the next wife who 'didn't understand [him]' when the next Lottie or Dottie came along. I do not buy the often quoted excuse "we just couldn't help ourselves". CRAP. You can ALWAYS help yourself; you simply choose not to help yourself. That's called LUST. You didn't stop once to think about the family whose lives you may be impacting with your bahavior. You didn't care about that. In fact, you may have even thought (secretly of course!?!) "I can take him away from her." I hope you do get hit up for some cheddar. That may be the best way to teach you the rudimentary lesson that MARRIED IS MARRIED!!

Whatloosers, I agree with you. Sounds like a PR moment. But, I have to say I've never read a 14th or 17 commandment!

Fantasia Is Guilty And Not Guilty At The Same Time. Yes, She Had An Affair With A Married Man, But She's Only Human And Nobody's Perfect. There's Obviously Something The Married Man's Wife Was Not Doing In Order To Make Him Go Out And Have An Affair. Im Not An Expert On Relationship's But I Kno A Lil' Something. You Cant Blame Fantasia For Being Basically " A Home-Wrecker ". The Man Lead Her On And Had Her Thinking That He Was Seperated From His Wife. And Sorry To Bust Your Bulbble But Seperated And Married Are Two Totally Different Thing's. Seperated You Have The Right To Date Other Women/Men But When Married You Must Stay Faithful To Your Spouse. No Matter How Hard Thing's Get Fantasia Just Know You Have TOO MUCH To Live For. When Time's Get That Hard To Make You Want To Commit Suicide, Just Think Of Your Beautiful Daughter And How Much She Need's You Or Think About How Far Along You Have Come. Being Where You Are Meant Everything To You Six Year's Ago (2004), So Why Let It Go Just That Easy. -Stay Strong

Yes, separated is the same as being married , theirs no legal papers involved when you're separated and you separate to give yourself space to figure out what's right for you , its not to mess around while you're working on it . I myself am a victim of adultery and I thought I was doing everything right but he still cheated. Fantasia you need to go back to your roots who is Jesus and pour your heart and soul into him and your daughter. Forget about taking care of all those grown people who need to get a job and take care of themselves. I personally believed the man lied to her to get what he could get and when you're starving for affection and the snake looks good and sounds good you'll latch on to anything.Don't you ever let a man or no one cause you to take your life you didn't give it to yourself so you can't take it away. Time heals all wounds and keep praying day in and day out and spend some time with your mother . I pray that God keeps you and strengthen your mind and your heart.

Dear Fantasia,
Love yourself enough to do what is best for the human being, Fantasia Barrino. Look within yourself: If there are mistakes, look to G-d, and try to step by step, get on back to your true self. Day by day. We all make mistakes... learn from them, and go on.With a smile on your face. You are to lovely, to do harm to yourself... G-D made you, He loves you, and is there for you always. Talk with Him... He's listening.
Bless you, Sharan

You know what ? So many people live their lives downing other people they don't even know. But then you say you love the Lord? Who you have never met. Makes me wonder about ..... First He is to blame just as well as her. She didn't make him do anything he didn't want to. In church Sunday the Pastor said that we shouldn't judge. People get up in the moring ready to do that job! Ha Ha but then say what they want do. You don't know what you will do. So until the Lord bring that situation in your life shut up. I have to been with a man not married but with another woman. When you are in love you believe. And when I say you believe you do just that and more. So Fantasio don't let this folks who don't know you. Worried you. You are a child of GOD that will sin just like everyone that post a comment and the world. God has forgiven you and thats all that matters. Love yourself and that child.

I am not going to judge Fantasia-that is not my (or anyone else's) place. I am, however; going to pray for peace in her life. I have always liked her music and the woman herself. So, I just want good things to happen in her life, regardless of her faults, because we all have them. But it is HOW we deal with them, that makes the difference. So Fantasia, you keep on keeping on and may you be blessed in the process. Only God knows your heart and only He can judge you (His judgement is the only One that matters)...............


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