Diana Ross and Her Blues of Depression


Diana Ross Succumbs to the Blues of Depression

The blues of depression do not spare you even if you are the legendary singer Diana Ross, who is a household name in entertainment. From being part of The Supremes to her solo career that kicked off in 1969, she has been nothing short of a sensation. But, the criticism she faced about her acting, her unsuccessful marriages, and death in the family, etc all played a part in her succumbing to depression and substance abuse, only to later overcome them with her grit and determination.

diana ross depression

Diana’s solo career took off in 1970 with the songs “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Also, she took to acting, with her first movie being “Lady Sings the Blues”, a biopic on Billie Holiday. Yet, despite these successes, she faced enough challenges in real life to go from singing the blues to feeling the “blues” of depression herself.

Diana Ross Gets Treated for Her Blues of Depression

Ross liked to lace her coffee with cognac before she appeared on stage, and also enjoyed wine after the show was over. Her children began to get concerned about her drinking wine day and night. And, soon she got hooked on to painkillers that were prescribed to her for some injury. Slowly, she became depressed and started to rely on substances just to make it through the day.

It turns out she took to alcohol and drugs after the end of her 14-year marriage to Arne Ness, Norwegian shipping tycoon, in 1999. And she started to experience pronounced mood swings on account of her substance abuse.

In May 2002, the then 58-year-old Ross was admitted to rehab for alcohol and drug abuse. Ten days earlier she had checked into a rehab center in Malibu to “clear up some personal issues”, as per her spokesman. The issues revolved around substance abuse, although some reports stated that she could have been abusing prescription painkillers also.

Diana Ross’ Magical Career

Despite the setback of her blues of depression, Diana Ross was resilient enough as a performer as her career spanned more than 40 years. She won many major awards, including a Tony Award, Golden Globe, and quite a few American Music Awards. To add to that, in 1988, Ross was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of her group The Supremes.

Billboard magazine even named Ross the “Female Entertainer of the Century”. Given that she had as many as 70 hit singles, the most by any female artist, in 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history. Ross was bestowed with the American Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. In 2019, the Recording Academy honored Ross and celebrated her musical accomplishments at the Grammy Awards.

Ross on Her Personal Life

Diana Ross described to The Guardian in 2005 her average day. “I rise early. Because I’m an early riser I go to bed early. Though when I’m working, my shows don’t even start until nine o’clock. Nine thirty. Or sometimes 9:45. But I get up early and I go to bed early, [because] I really like to get my rest. And I turn the TV off and I lay there till I go to sleep. I’m always reading something, even if it’s just a newspaper or articles. I’m always reading something that has to do with family. Always something that’s going to make me better, or something I’m going to learn something from.

“I cook! Pretty basic cooking. I can do pastas and I like to cook chicken. My food is very tasty. I think it’s tasty because I like good food. And I make salads, and you know, I can cook almost anything. I like clean food – in other words, it’s basically broiled chicken.”

About being an icon, she said, “I’m an icon, or a diva, or a soul sister, or a queen. Labels. I have never gotten into the label thing.” And on the question of what it takes to be considered for the candidate of Icon, she opined, “Icon. I guess it means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Icon. What is an icon? When someone is iconic it means they have established a certain kind of legacy possibly, and I think it does come with time. It’s something in the arts, I feel. Maybe not, maybe it doesn’t have to be in the arts exactly. I’m not really sure. But I don’t think you are born an icon.”

Ross’ Humility Makes Her Come Out Triumphant

And when she was asked what she is least proud of, she had this to say: “I don’t ever think that way. I won’t even entertain the thought! [she laughs] See, there’s nothing that you can do that doesn’t lead to something positive. I think it’s all a part of life’s journey. No matter what it is, it’s good, it’s part of the work you do here, it’s part of the lessons learned. So it’s all good. It’s not bad. I don’t think I even know that word. I try [she says softly] to be a good example. To be an example. To be the example. The best I know how to be. And I am a real person, I make mistakes. You know, I’m not Santa Claus.”

Diana Ross no longer feels her blues of depression. So, we can say that the only “blues” she glimpses now is that of the skies overhead on a bright morning in what is now the evening of her life.


Diana Ross and Her Blues of Depression
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Diana Ross and Her Blues of Depression
The criticism about her acting, her unsuccessful marriages, death in the family, etc all played a part in Diana Ross succumbing to her blues of depression.
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