Sheridan Smith saved Amy Winehouse's life after an overdose, reveals tragic star's best pal Tyler James
AMY Winehouse would have died years earlier if actress Sheridan Smith hadn’t saved her life after an overdose, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.
Next month marks a decade since the tragic singer died, at just 27, from alcohol poisoning.
And in an exclusive interview her best friend Tyler James has told how the Cilla actress found the star close to death and raised the alarm.
Despite being taken to hospital several times, it was the only occasion Amy had ever been rushed to an Accident and Emergency unit.
Fighting back tears, Tyler, 39, said: “Sheridan saved Amy’s life two years before she died. Sheridan was an angel who always did her best for Amy.
“She would have been dead years earlier if it hadn’t been for Sheridan. I will always be grateful to her because she gave me that extra time with Amy.
“Sheridan was an amazing friend to Amy. And Amy was to her. They both had demons and mental health issues to face and they helped each other through them. She was a true friend.”
Tyler — who met the singer when they were both at London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School as teens — has written a book, My Amy, describing the highs and lows of the troubled singer’s life in a bid to help other addicts.
In it, he opens up about how reality star Kelly Osbourne tried to help Amy with her eating disorders, the Rehab singer’s dangerous friendship with Pete Doherty, who shot up heroin in front of them, and the time she was forced to apologise to singer Prince after her then husband Blake Fielder-Civil stole money from his dressing room.
Recalling the night in 2009 when Amy first met Sheridan, 39, Tyler said: “We were in the queue for Proud Galleries in London, a live music place.
"Amy loved her and went up to her, saying, ‘You’re her off Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps’, and Sheridan replied, ‘And you are Amy Winehouse’.
“They instantly hit it off. We went to a house party afterwards and they did karaoke together. It was the Spice Girls, the song Wannabe. Amy was relaxed with her.
“They were strong on the outside but once that exterior dropped you could see they were vulnerable and insecure. They were therapy for each other and had fun. Sheridan saw her as Amy, not the celebrity.
“Amy and I lived in a house in North London that we rented from a Cypriot family. Sheridan would stay.
"They would chat for hours, order in food and Amy would make her watch Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. We’d have friends over.
"Amy would dress up in heels and a dress. Amy was the healthiest she’d been then, there was no crack, no heroin.”
Amy had battled drug addiction after her fame sky-rocketed following the release of multi-platinum album Back To Black in 2006. But when she became close pals with Sheridan she was in a better place.
In 2009, this solid friendship was to prove a lifesaver.
Tyler said: “I remember the morning Amy nearly died as though it was yesterday. We’d had a great evening. I had gone up to bed but, at about 6am, Sheridan came into my room, saying, ‘Come down, there’s something wrong with Amy’.”
Tyler found the petite star with a tea towel in her hand, drying plates.
He said: “I went over to her. She said, ‘F**k off T, I’m doing the washing up’.
"Her eyes looked as though she was asleep and I asked Sheridan what she’d had.”
It turned out Amy had drunk an entire bottle of Night Nurse to help her get to sleep but it contained enough paracetamol to kill her.
Reformed addict Tyler said: “I knew she was taking Night Nurse to get to sleep, like I did when I used to drink.
"I’d give her a shot sometimes because I didn’t want her to have the whole bottle as it is dangerous if you don’t use it properly. It’s full of paracetamol. Overdose and your liver will fail.
“Amy was in a state, Sheridan looked terrified. The ambulance arrived. This is the only time they took her to A&E. She was incoherent.
"They said she could die. If Sheridan hadn’t found her it would have been the end.
"It was the beginning of Amy feeling invincible. Because no matter what happened, she’d wake up either in her own bed or in hospital and she’d be all right.
"The seriousness never crossed her mind because there was always someone looking after her.”
Tyler is a former singer but is now retraining to help people with addictions.
Amy helped Tyler — who has been clean for 13 years — overcome his addiction to booze and he says he tried to do the same for her.
Even now he often refers to his “soul mate” in the present, admitting he still struggles to believe she has died.
He said: “Because we had such a connection, we had such a laugh, I would have died for her.”
One of the pair’s funnier moments came as result of Amy’s obsession with tanning.
Tyler said: “Amy was naturally very pale but she always looked brown as a berry. Every day she’d have a sunbed.
She’d tell me she’d split herself every single way so the UV light would hit, as she’d say, ‘every single part’. She’d spread her bum cheeks so it’d get in there.
“Sometimes she’d come out after hours in there and say, ‘I look like a Barbie gone wrong!’”
Tyler saw Amy become friends with a host of other stars, including The Libertines’ heroin-addict frontman Pete Doherty, 42, who openly used drugs in front of Amy.
Tyler worried about the effect the friendship might have on Amy.
He writes: “Pete was in the room injecting heroin in front of everyone, I’d never seen that before, I felt like I was in the film Trainspotting.
"Amy being around him disturbed me, I was scared she’d start injecting herself, which she never did. She always smoked.”
Tyler added: “Pete looked like the living dead but he was an utter genius who could create poetry.”
Amy also met Kelly Osbourne, 36, during a night out in London.
The reality star was recovering from addictions to alcohol and drugs.
Tyler said: “Kelly played an important role in Amy’s life. She had perspective and understanding that nobody else had. She always said that she thought Amy would overcome her addictions.
“I remember Kelly and I crying together, worried about Amy, but we did everything we could. Everyone who cared about her did. Her dad Mitch did.”
Retired taxi driver Mitch, 70, has been accused of not doing enough to save his daughter.
But Tyler, who still speaks to him, says: “Fame and addiction killed Amy. Nobody else. We all loved her, we all tried to save her.
“Those who loved her miss her every day because the Amy we knew was the most loveable person in the world.”
‘Crack smoke flight’
AMY smoked crack in the toilets of a commercial flight after smuggling the drug on board in a bag of hair extensions for her beehive.
Taylor said: “It was the winter of 2007, a flight from London City Airport to Scotland.
"I checked through my bags and found a bundle of hair extensions. I looked closer and wedged into the middle were rolled up rocks of crack.
“Amy was at the window, I was in the middle. She got up and went to the toilet. Two minutes later I smelt the smell and thought, ‘Oh no, you’re absolutely kidding me . . . Oh, Amy, only you, darlin’, would do this’.
“The smell of crack, sweet and fizzy, was seeping out from the toilet, under the door, you could see smoke inching down the aisle.
“Everybody was looking around, saying, ‘Is the plane on fire?’ The pilot came over the Tannoy, saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, can someone kindly tell our famous friend to stop smoking in the toilet?’
“He thought she was having a fag. Everyone laughed. I got up, went to the toilet, Amy opened the door and she was laughing too, stinking of crack.
“When we landed there were no repercussions, no smoking fine, no police. Amy was often above the law.”
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