Amy Winehouse's Father Opens Up About Singer's Drug, Alcohol Abuse

Mitch Winehouse blames his daughter's ex for her decline in new memoir.

ByABC News
June 22, 2012, 5:07 PM

June 26, 2012— -- Amy Winehouse's father blames his daughter's downward spiral on her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, the muse for the late British singer's breakthrough album, "Back to Black."

"I blame Blake for her drug addiction," Mitch Winehouse said in an interview with ABC News. "He stood up and said 'I switched Amy onto Class A drugs.' But not for her death. He loved Amy. He would never, ever in a million years have wanted this for Amy."

Amy Winehouse, whose "Back to Black" album earned her five Grammys in 2008, died of alcohol poisoning last July -- an accidental end to a brutal road of heroin and alcohol addiction. She was 27.

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Mitch Winehouse, a singer whose music has a similar smoky jazz style, was preparing for a gig in New York when his daughter was found dead in her London home.

"How we got home, I don't know. How we got back, I couldn't tell you," he said through tears. "We got to the house in Camden Square and those people, I can't tell you what it was like, my family and friends were there and hundreds of people. It was just beautiful. I knew I was going to make it because of all these people."

In the wake of her death, Mitch Winehouse wrote a memoir, "Amy, My Daughter," which he said was a way to "set the record straight from my point of view" about his daughter's substance abuse. He insists Amy had been clean of drugs for three years and was well on the way to controlling her alcoholism. She was a sweet, funny daughter, he said, with a wild side.

"But of course there is no smoke without fire and I reflect on those stories that were true too," Mitch said. "I'm not trying to re-invent Amy. Amy was what Amy was."

With a handful of songs and a whole lot of attitude, Amy Winehouse became a star at just 20 years old, singing about her bruised love life with Fielder-Civil on "Back to Black," and singing about refusing to go to "Rehab" on her smash hit single.

"At the time she didn't need to go into rehab," her father said. "Latterly, she did need to go to rehab. I don't know why, but she had this thing that rehab wasn't for her."

Amy Winehouse first cut her teeth at Jazz After Dark in London's Soho neighborhood, performing impromptu with the house band. It's also where her father held her wake. Paintings of the late singer cover the walls.

"The problems that Amy had started with my mother passing away," Mitch said. "My mother and Amy were like sisters."

That was 2006, the same year that Winehouse first released "Back in Black" and her ex, Blake Fielder-Civil, reemerged. Amy had his name tattooed on her left breast. The couple were divorced in 2009, but through the years, Amy couldn't escape Fielder-Civil's black thrall.

"She didn't have a massive catalogue of songs," Mitch Winehouse said. "So when she goes on tour everyone wants to hear her sing 'Some Unholy War,' certainly everyone wants her to sing 'Tears Dry on Their Own.' Well all those songs were about Blake, well Blake is in the past, but here she is having to relive those songs again, and to sing them properly she's got to feel them emotionally."

"A lot of girls are attracted to the bad boy," he added. "It would have been great if Amy had married a Jewish accountant, or a doctor or something like that… but it wasn't going happen, was it?"