Fantasia Barrino's Overdose: The 911 Call

Singer's manager calls for help after she swallows bottle of aspirin.

August 10, 2010, 10:47 PM

Aug. 11, 2010— -- After singer Fantasia Barrino swallowed a bottle of aspirin, her manager had someone put her in the shower to keep her from losing consciousness, according to the 911 tape released by Charlotte, N.C., police today.

Barrino's manager, Brian Dickens, called 911 at 8:53 p.m. Monday, after finding the 2004 "American Idol" winner almost unconscious in her Charlotte mansion.

When the 911 operator asked him what happened, Dickens said, "An individual took a bottle of aspirin and she's slowly losing consciousness."

"Are you with the patient now?" the operator asked.

Dickens, on his cell phone, responded, "I'm outside, but someone else is with her inside."

"Is she awake?"

"Slowly losing consciousness," Dickens said, adding that Barrino was "halfway" awake.

"Is she breathing?"

"Yes," Dickens replied.

The operator asked if Barrino was violent or had a weapon, to which Dickens said no.

Asked where she was now, Dickens said he had her put in the shower to "keep her awake."

The operator told him to take Barrino out of the shower immediately and had an ambulance sent to the singer's home.

Barrino was taken to Mercy South Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center in Pineville, N.C., where she was hospitalized Monday night. The hospital had no record of her today.

Dickens could not be reached immediately to comment on the singer's current condition, but her father, Joseph Barrino told, "She's doing fine."

On Tuesday, Dickens said in a statement that Barrino was "stable."

"She will be released from the hospital soon," he said. "Fantasia will be fine. This is not the hardest thing Fantasia has endured."

Dickens said the overdose was accidental. He said she took too much aspirin and sleeping medication while exhausted and dehydrated.

But the timing of the overdose came just as news broke of a lawsuit that accuses Barrino of breaking up a couple's marriage.

A North Carolina woman filed court documents last week that claim her husband, Antwaun Cook, and Barrino engaged in a "covert adulterous affair" in August 2009 and that the two made a sex tape, which led to the couple's divorce.

Dickens confirmed in the statement that Barrino and Cook had had a relationship, but claimed it was Barrino who was betrayed.

"Fantasia and Mr. Cook dated on and off for about eleven months," Dickens said.

"Fantasia believed Mr. Cook when he told her he was in a bad marriage and his heart was not in it. She believed him when he told her he and Mrs. Cook separated in the late summer of 2009. She believed Mr. Cook when he told her he lived elsewhere. He even took her there," Dickens said. "One of Mr. Cook's most redeeming qualities was his complete devotion to his children. Fantasia loved Mr. Cook and thought he loved her."

Fantasia Barrino: 911 Tape of 'American Idol' Alum Released After Overdose

The overdose occurred late Monday evening. Authorities were called to Barrino's home in Charlotte by Dickens himself after he reported that something was wrong with the singer.

Police sources told that the officers who arrived on the scene found the former Broadway star in a closet.

While stressing that the overdose was accidental, Dickens did note that the former "Idol" champion's mental and emotional state had become frayed because of the stress of the affair.

"Fantasia does not know what to believe now," Dickens said of the lawsuit. "She knows some of the allegations in Mrs. Cook's complaint are totally false. There are others she strongly doubts. There is plenty she does not know. Fantasia is heartbroken. She feels betrayed. She is also sorry for the pain she has caused."

A brief recap of some of the more notable "Idol" flare-ups:

Scandals have erupted nearly every season since "American Idol" premiered in 2002 -- and have not made a dent in the popularity of the top-rated reality show.

Part of it is baked into the show's very DNA.

"'Idol' is all about cast and controversy," Mike Darnell, the Fox president of alternative entertainment, told Reuters in a 2008 interview. "So as soon as you get the right ingredients, the ratings go up again."

The seventh season of "Idol" ended in a storm of controversy with the apparent suicide of Paula Goodspeed, who had auditioned for the show in 2005 but had not made the cut.

After Goodspeed was found dead in a parked car a few doors away from Abdul's home in November of 2008, Abdul lashed out at producers and Cowell for allowing the young woman to audition.

Abdul told ABC's "The View" that Goodspeed had been stalking her for 17 years and later told co-host Barbara Walters on Walters' radio show that she pleaded with Cowell and the producers not to let Goodspeed audition.

Fantasia Barrino: 911 Tape of 'American Idol' Alum Released After Overdose

They did, she said, for the "entertainment value. It's fun for them to cause me stress. This was something that would make good television."

When Walters asked why Abdul remains on a show that would put her in peril, Abdul said: "I'm under contract."

Goodspeed's death also reignited the debate over whether the judges' comments go too far. The show's executive producer Ken Warwick defended the judges' commentary in a recent interview with USA Today. "Sometimes it is mean," he said. "So is life."

Season 4 finalist Jessica Sierra had several brushes with the law after her time in the spotlight. First Sierra was given a year's probation in November 2007 after pleading no contest to felony battery and cocaine possession charges. Less than a month later, she was arrested again at a Tampa, Fla., bar and charged with disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest and violating conditions of her parole.

A judge sentenced her to a year of rehab at a California facility run by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Sierra got another shot at reality television, appearing in the first season of Pinsky's VH-1 show "Celebrity Rehab."

Corey Clark, one of 12 finalists during the show's second season, told ABC's "Primetime Live" that as a 22-year-old he had an off-camera relationship with Abdul, then 40, that was at first platonic but later sexual.

Clark was abruptly booted from the show in April 2003 when producers learned he had been arrested for a domestic dispute with his sister the previous year.

After Clark's allegations, Abdul's rep issued a statement at the time saying she "will not dignify the false statements made by Corey Clark with a response. He is communicating lies about Paula Abdul in order to generate interest in a book deal."

The "Idol" producers at the time said they were never contacted by Clark concerning his claims.

Clark became an "Idol" footnote and Abdul continued to be a judge.

In the seventh season it became clear that some "Idol" wannabes were not as green as they appeared to be. When it was discovered that Hennessy, the Irish singer with the big voice, had once been signed to a million-dollar record deal, some fans cried foul.

Hennessy only sold a few hundred CDs and was not under contract at the time she auditioned for "American Idol," which is in line with the show's rules. Nonetheless, when New York magazine broke the story about Hennessy and another contestant's previous record deals, a mini-scandal followed.

Another controversy from season seven of "American Idol" involved some scantily clad photos that emerged of a male contestant who had apparently worked as a stripper in Phoenix.

The show's producers were unfazed by Hernandez's past. Warwick told TV Guide's Web site: "We've had strippers on the show before. We're never judgmental about people who do things like that. If it were some sort of heavy porn, then maybe we'd have to take action. But certainly not on this."

"Idol" did dismiss Frenchie Davis during Season 2 in 2003, after it was discovered that she had once appeared on an adult Web site.

The show left it to the fans to decide Hernadez's fate -- and they did pretty quickly: he was the first of 12 finalists to be eliminated.

The year before, another set of racy photos made headlines. After topless photos of New York semifinalist Barba were leaked on the Internet, "Idol" took the unprecedented step of allowing her to stay.

Barba explained at the time that these "were photos of my personal life that got exploited without my consent."

Cowell defended her, telling USA Today, "These people haven't done anything illegal; that's their private life."

Vasquez's abrupt departure from Season 4 of "Idol" left fans speculating. When he dropped out of the finals in March 2005, he cited "personal reasons."

Two years later, it became apparent why. That's when a male "Idol" employee filed a lawsuit alleging that Vasquez had sexually harassed him while he was a contestant on the show. In the suit, former employee Magdaleno Olmos alleged that Vasquez followed him into a bathroom stall, touched him inappropriately and made advances toward him.

As for Fantasia, her manager says she'll survive her current struggle, just as she has survived so much before. She was raped by a classmate at Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina, and ultimately dropped out. She became pregnant at age 16, and on Aug. 8, 2001, gave birth to her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino.

"Fantasia will be stronger, smarter, and better for it," Dickens said. "The lyrics to 'I'm Here' from her upcoming album 'Back To Me' to be released on August 24th say it best: 'I believe I have inside of me/ everything that I need to live a bountiful life/ with all the love inside of me I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree.'"

Brian Braiker contributed reporting to this story.

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