Amy Winehouse's Best Friend Claims Her Being "Hounded" By Paparazzi Led to Her Death

Amy Winehouse's best friend and flatmate Tyler James recalls finding the singer after she died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011.

By Cydney Contreras Jun 11, 2021 11:11 PMTags
Watch: Celebrating Amy Winehouse's Birthday: E! News Rewind

Tyler James will never forget the day he came home to learn his best friend Amy Winehouse had died of alcohol poisoning.

As he tells The Sunday Times, just two days prior before she died of alcohol poisoning, he left the flat they shared in Camden Square as an act of tough love in the hopes she'd cease her drinking. James says, "I was running out of ideas."

It was just one of the many tactics James used to help his friend get back on the straight and narrow. He recalls, "Amy was my world. I never have had that connection with someone again and I never will. I loved her. I was on a mission. I had a task. I had a job [to make her well] and that's all I wanted to do."

And the 27-year-old singer tried to go sober, according to James. He describes "how hard she had worked to come off drugs," and she was close to "being healthy," but he also notes how difficult it was "to go through that in front of people."

He remembers the paparazzi were always stationed outside their home, saying, "It was like a film premiere out there."

Remembering Amy Winehouse

Comparing her to Britney Spears and Princess Diana, Jame says Winehouse was "hounded" by the media, which was "hard for her."

"People think they know Amy's story, and obviously she can't tell her story. But I wanted to tell what it was like for her, having to actually live in that world," he explains, nearly 10 years after her death. "With that level of fame, that level of intrusion, that lack of privacy. I don't think people really realize the effect that has on a person. She craved normality. The biggest thing that f--ked Amy up was being famous."

Tim Whitby/WireImage

This intense pressure caused Winehouse to detest her newfound fame, according to James, who wanted to be a celebrity, too.

When he'd talk about his yearning for fame and fortune, he says the Back to Black performer would tell him, "T, fame is like terminal cancer. I wouldn't wish it on anyone."

He describes how she eventually became reclusive and mistrustful of those around her, including him. James shares, "I was the only friend she had left by then, the only person around her all the time who wasn't paid to be around her."

James says since she's died, he struggles to go on with his life without the woman he calls "the love of my life." It was only a few years ago that he found comfort in writing about their experiences, which he has turned into the book My Amy: The Life We Shared, which was published on Thursday, June 10.

Gary Miller/FilmMagic

Though she's no longer around, he often thinks of her, sharing, "I hope Amy is proud of me. I'm pretty sure she would be. I hope that she thinks I have been brave."

July will mark 10 years since the Grammy-winning singer died. In her honor, Winehouse's mom, Janis, has partnered with documentarians to share who Winehouse really was. As she announced in March, "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to offer an understanding of her roots and a deeper insight into the real Amy."