Amy and Janis Winehouse

Amy Winehouse Had Tourette’s, Mom Says

Amy Jade “Hurricane Amy” Winehouse died on July 23, 2011 after falling victim to a terrible drug and alcohol addiction. Her mother and father, Janis and Mitchell Winehouse, still think about and miss her very much. Mrs. Winehouse wrote a memoir about her daughter, titled Loving Amy, A Mother’s Story, with the hopes of showing the world the real Amy Winehouse. In the book, Janis speculated on her late daughter’s mental health. Her biggest question thus far is whether Amy had undiagnosed Tourette’s syndrome, among other untreated mental issues.

For years, rumors spread that Winehouse’s death was suicide by intentional overdose because she wanted to die. However, her mother Janis does not agree. In her memoir, she talks about all the things that Amy loved in life, including Michael Jackson, the idea of having children, and sweets. She remembers a time when Amy was younger that Winehouse would steal cookies and treats from their synagogue during Shabbat celebrations.

“Nudge,” another nickname Winehouse earned from her family’s Jewish community, pushed boundaries from day one. Her mother says that Amy swallowed everything from plastic pieces to small toads, and just about anything else, which required her parents to rush her to have her stomach pumped. She says that telling Winehouse “no” was equal to giving a racecar driver the flag at the starting line. Janis believes that her daughter became invincible in her mind. True to her “Hurricane” nickname, she set about tearing it down in wild, sentimental ways.

By the age of nine, Amy had scars up and down her arms. Years later, she spoke out about her battle with depression. Janis, however, noticed very few signs that she was struggling with such illness, even while skimming through Amy’s old notebooks and various neatly kept lists. However, she did mention to People that she now thinks Amy had with Tourette’s syndrome because of the inability to control things she said. However, that is also an effect from the drugs and alcohol. We hope, for Janis’s sake, she can figure out what plagued her daughter and find a little peace of mind.

Winehouse turned her life into a one-woman drama, complete with her reckless lifestyle. To the world, Amy was “an over the top gangster’s moll.” To her loving parents, however, she was just their daughter.

“She was a singer, a superstar, an addict and a young woman who hurtled towards an untimely death. To me, though, she is simply Amy. She was my daughter and my friend, and she will be with me forever.

“Each month since that day has brought me more closure on Amy’s life, but even so, I can never say goodbye.”

The Winehouse family started a foundation in Amy’s name to prevent teens and young adults from meeting the same fate Amy herself met. Some of things the foundation accomplished in its first year include neonatal care for children born with life-threatening conditions, young homeless people receiving a hot meal every day for a year and teens receiving access to abstinence based treatments for substance abuse. Three kids even got a scholarship to the Sylvia Young Theatre School from the Amy Winehouse foundation. Moreover, pending sufficient funding, the family plans to continue expanding the numbers of people assisted by the various programs and grants the foundation offers.

Mitchell Winehouse also spoke affectionately about his daughter and her memory. He mentioned his pride at an award for which Amy was nominated after her passing, and the joy he has found seeing the foundation do such great things.

“The Winehouse family are delighted with this wonderful nomination for Amy. It proves that her music still has an enormous effect on the public now and for the generations to come. We are proud that her legacy will live on forever through her incredible songs and performances and the many, many young people that are being helped through the Amy Winehouse Foundation.”

We wish for many more years of wonderful things from the Amy Winehouse foundation, and for healing and closure for her family. Losing a child is never easy, but perhaps Janis can find an answer or two to her questions and find a small bit of peace.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

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